Artist-Designed Billboards Responding to the Mass Incarceration Crisis to Debut in Houston this Month

by Jessica Fuentes November 2, 2023

Art at a Time Like This (ATLT), a nonprofit supporting the presentation of art in response to current events, will debut a series of artist-designed billboards responding to the mass incarceration crisis on Saturday, November 4 in Houston. 

Earlier this fall, ATLT, in partnership with SaveArtSpace, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that brings art to nontraditional spaces using billboards, launched an open call for Houston-area artists to design these billboards. The Houston-based project is an expansion of 8X5, an initiative initially launched in Miami last summer, curated by ATLT co-founders Barbara Pollack and Anne Verhallen, and featuring works by Faylita Hicks, the Guerrilla Girls, Shephard Fairey, Sam Durant, Sherrill Roland, and Trenton Doyle Hancock.

A billboard design by Mel Chin illustrating the small size of prison cells.

“8×5 Houston” billboard design by Mel Chin, 2023.

The Houston edition of the project was curated by Ms. Pollack and Ms. Verhallen; Christopher Blay, Chief Curator at the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC); Bridget Bray, an independent Houston-based curator; and Ashley DeHoyos Sauder, Curator at Diverseworks. 8×5 Houston will feature works by Chandrika Metivier, Faylita Hicks, Jared Owens, Jenny Polak with The Fortune Society Artists, Kill Joy, Mel Chin, Monti Hill, McKenna Gessner, Rebo, and Trenton Doyle Hancock.

A billboard design by Kill Joy featuring a crowd of incarcerated people and text indicating that many people within Harris County Jail are legally innocent and awaiting trial.

Kill Joy, “Criminal Justice System,” 2023.

This Saturday, November 4, HMAAC will host a panel discussion with artists and activists in celebration of the project’s debut. The panel will be moderated by Mr. Blay and features Ms. Hicks, a participating 8×5 Houston artist; Kendrick Sampson, actor and co-founder of BLD PWR; Ronald Llewellyn Jones, a Houston-based artist; and Jay Jenkins, the Harris County Project Attorney at the Texas Center for Justice and Equity.

The artworks created for 8×5 Houston will be displayed on ten billboards and ten mobile billboard trucks throughout the city from November 4 – 30, 2023. Learn more about the artists and the project at the SaveArtSpace website.

0 comment

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Funding generously provided by: