The 50 States Project

This campaign ends on December 31 at 11:59PM EST

In times of national uncertainty and distress, artists seek out the freedom of the open road, taking visual stock of the state of the nation. It is a distinctly American reaction, undertaken by artists and writers again and again over the past century. With the deep ideological chasms in our nation suddenly laid bare in the current turbulent atmosphere of America, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop has decided to provide a platform for artists to engage with the cultural legacy of the American road trip.

Research

As they travel to all 50 states in a small camper van, the artists will conduct their own individual research. They will produce works of visual art while on the road, each engaging with a particular theme or research question of their choosing. At the end of their travels, the artists will return to DC and begin reflecting on the work. They will spend three months organizing, curating, processing, and analyzing their research before presenting it in a gallery setting. During the run of their exhibition, the artists will present their work to the public in community workshops and artist talks. Meanwhile, the artists will also craft a book through which to showcase their research and share it with the many communities they will have visited.

Education

Alongside the residency, CHAW will launch a Social Justice track to its Youth Arts Program. The program will strive to raise critical consciousness, build community, and motivate students to promote social change through artistic means. Participants will explore how art has been used as a means to record history, shape culture, cultivate imagination, and harness individual and social transformation. The artists will correspond regularly with the students, sharing their experiences from the field. The first session will focus on photojournalism, and the second will explore public art. The program will be the first of its kind at CHAW, helping to establish the organization as a champion for social justice and encouraging children in our nation’s capital to consider America beyond the beltway.

Community Engagement

The artists will anchor their trip with stops at arts organizations across the country, engaging with at least one formal arts community in each state. The artists may choose to formally present their research or informally meet with the community as participants in classes or events. These communities will then be linked together through the 50 States Project, creating a nationwide network of arts organizations.

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