Next Stop: Democracy! (NSD) aimed to improve the voting experience and increase civic engagement in Philadelphia using public art. Working with the Knight Foundation, Mural Arts, Committee of Seventy, and other key nonprofit partners, the NSD team created a completely new way to look at, and impact, voter turnout and experience in Philadelphia.
Over the course of our 24-week voter engagement campaign, NSD hired 60 artists to create 60 “Vote Here/Vote Aqui” signs. The artists came from more than 20 different Philadelphia neighborhoods. The signs were placed at key polling locations around the city on Election Day: November 3rd, 2015. Through the support of Larry Krain and Krain Outdoor Advertising, we were able to post 10 billboards throughout the city with our hashtag #VoteNov3rd. By using creative way finding and place-making, the project brought back a sense of warmth and vibrancy into Philly’s civic spaces, and encouraged citizens to robustly exercise their civil rights.
When we surveyed the 60 artists involved in creating signs for NSD, we received the following results: as a result of creating a sign for NSD, 60% of artists sought out more information about this year’s municipal election in Philadelphia on November 3, 2015. A whopping 93% of artists also indicated that by creating a sign for NSD, they talked more to other people in their life about the November 3rd election. Sixty-one percent of the artists were more likely to vote because of their participation in the project, and 72% actually turned out and voted on November 3rd. This is staggering when compared to their previous records: only 40% of the artists voted in the municipal primary back in May 2015, and 11% had never voted at all. One-third of all the artists said that because of their involvement with NSD, they would definitely participate in another art and elections project.
In 2017, three of our artists created posters that were included in the Election Day box that is distributed to every polling place in Philadelphia.
Download Our Printable Posters:
We also made these cute coloring pages for kids (and adults who still love coloring!):