Democratic Values

In 2016, the Department of the Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman was going to be added to the $20 bill in 2020. And that got us thinking: If banknotes are public art—and they most definitely are—what kind of stories could they tell? What would our money look like if artists got their hands on it?

An invitation to artists
to reimagine money as public art

Unlike many countries’ money, U.S. banknotes don’t feature depictions of natural treasures, achievements in the arts and sciences, or accomplished citizens who weren’t statesmen.

But what if our money was public art?

What if the designs memorialized a dazzling array of places, events and people? What if our money reflected a vision of America’s heritage that helped build a democratic, pluralist future?

We’re looking for artists to create handmade and digital prints that radically, boldly reimagine what money could be — and to spark a conversation about our country’s history, our political values, and the role of art and artists in civic life.

September 2017 show at Hamilton Ink Spot

American Civic Forum / Hamilton Ink Spot

In September 2017, we’re holding a poster show at Hamilton Ink Spot in downtown Saint Paul to answer those questions. We’re inviting graphic designers and visual artists to reimagine what U.S. banknotes could be and how they tell stories from our history and represent our ideals.

In conjunction with the gallery show, we’ll create a special edition of A Great and Happy People that gathers texts from the people featured on our new, artist-created banknotes.

Individual posters will be for sale along with an exhibition catalog and postcard set.

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