Portrait of America
The Portrait of America series initiates monumental, interactive public art exhibitions to engage communities in a constructive dialogue that triggers positive change. The exhibitions hold a mirror up to a community to reveal what is already there – the inherent dignity and promise of its people. Portrait of America partners with established community organizations to ensure a broad community outreach, meet the needs of the city, and establish relationships and programs with a lasting presence and impact. In 2004, artist Joe Standart began Portrait of America in New London, Connecticut. By mounting an exhibition of monumental portraits of the city’s residents throughout public spaces in the downtown area, Standart turned the entire downtown into an outside gallery in which fine art was accessible to all. Seen by over 700,000 people, the exhibition drew extensive positive press, helping to establish the reputation of New London as an up and coming center for the arts. It also generated significant revenue for the city’s merchants by boosting tourism. Due the exhibition’s success, the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism requested that Standart produce a similar exhibition in Hartford. Portrait of America’s Hartford Project (April 29 – August 1, 2010) is a celebration of the dignity and diversity of Connecticut’s capital city. The exhibition has invigorated the city’s downtown district, transforming it into a vibrant interactive photo exhibition that comes to life in the streets, cultural institutions, local businesses, and other public spaces. The Project uses the power of the arts to bring people into dialogue, and promote compassion and understanding. Joe Standart intends to initiate projects in cities throughout the United States with themes such as home, work, play, and land.