“The billboard is a prime site for public art because it is designed to be visible to scores of people, without their having to go an inch out of their way to see it”
Three Billboards Outside is an initiative which will host a series of “open-air exhibitions” on advertising billboards. We hope to curate a selection of images from artists both established and emerging. The images of these artworks will then be printed at scale and papered up, becoming visible to thousands of pedestrians, commuters, holiday makers, and animals every single day.
- To stage a contemporary art exhibition which is OPEN, SAFE, AND FREE.
- To increase the audience for art.
- To attract an appreciative SAFE audience for artworks from all walks of life.
- To showcase the talent of Irish artists, in particular, underrepresented contemporary artists.
- To document the process and assess the impact on the community.
“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” (Stella Adler)
Due to Covid restrictions art galleries are no longer accessible to the public. Aware that art is vital to society and dissatisfied with the lack of personal engagement experienced through online gallery tours we have formed into a collective group to bring visual art out into the open in a larger than life series of Billboard presentations.
We propose through an open call to visual artists on the theme of “Our Dreams Matter” to select 8 artworks. The first exhibition will be in Gorey. Three Billboards have been selected in suitable locations, each for a period of two weeks, over an six-week period. This is a collaborative project between an organising group and artists to provide a platform for visual art, extending it to a wide and varied public. Site specific, on rural and urban billboards, the works will become touchstones – for those who pass by or stop and look and look again and once again until looking at art becomes a habit, a part of life.
Billboard art has been used in the USA by many artists. Cuban born Felix Gonzales-Torres’ 1989 Billboard Project during the AIDS crisis created haunting images evoking the tension and emotions of the time. “ I need the public to complete the work” he stated. And so do artists today. “Art is to console those who are broken by life.” (Van Gogh).
The advantages of Billboard art are: it is always visible, always working; it builds awareness of art and artists in our society and is available to everyone. Billboard art becomes a form of visual rhetoric, a medium with a completely different message with potency and strength and art lineage back into the cave paintings of Lascaux. These billboards can nurture an interest, however superficial, initiating a dialogue with art.
Bringing art outside into the fresh air will be restorative, life enhancing, enriching. Instead of the small screens of smartphones and computers, the selected artworks will be larger than life, to be viewed at great distances or close up. A fleeting glimpse from a car or bus or a mere glance as one walks by, will revive the imagination, stimulate the senses and now, more needed than ever, enrich the mindset. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” (Pablo Picasso).
The project group consists of five individuals with varying backgrounds, all united in their commitment to art and culture in society. Their experience ranges from visual art, community theatre directing, music and the performing arts to entrepreneurial, financial and administrative skills. With their combined expertise and shared purpose they are well suited to bring this project to fruition.
The Nuts and Bolts
The first show will be led by guest curator, James Merrigan and employ a blind submission model. Work from well-known guest artist Genieve Figgis will be hung in the show along with that of the artists chosen through curation to help shine a brighter light on the less-established artists. Genieve Figgis “loves the idea of seeing her work hanging outside of the traditional gallery in a natural environment”.
The chosen artworks will be printed to scale and papered up by professional advertising companies in 14 day cycles.
Three Billboards Outside intend to make a financial award to the artists whose work is chosen. Each artist should receive a fee and have their work featured on the Three Billboards website.
Each strategically chosen billboard will display details of the Three Billboards Outside Website. It is the intention of the group to use this one-time art show as a vehicle for change. We envisage progress and as such, the team have organised for potential growth. The name Three Billboards Outside has been chosen because it can be assumed for use in any county, town, city or place. The future functionality is secure in the event of success.
The group have sought to affiliate with supporting institutions, town and county councils, galleries and distinguished artists. We have negotiated a partnership with Gorey School of Art, Peripheries Art Space, and secured funding from Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District and the Arts office of Wexford County Council. All efforts will be made to widely publicise this innovative and creative endeavour.
Threebillboardsoutside.ie seeks to collaborate with a documentary film maker and team member Sally Stevens is negotiating with interested parties.
Three Billboards Outside (Gorey) is supported by The Small Arts Festivals and Experimental Events Grant Scheme 2021,Wexford County Council, Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council and Gorey School of Art.