“Action Comes From the Backbone, Not the Wishbone.” That’s one of the messages that will be on view in Times Square in the coming months, as its many billboards and advertisements are joined by protest signs from women artists and writers. The word-art initiative is part of “Word on the Street,” a project of Times Square Arts and artist collective House of Trees, founded by Jennifer Khoshbin and Amy Khoshbin.
“We’ve asked poets and artists to respond to the politics of the day with a landscape of poetry; using phrases, art, and made-by-hand signage to inspire, and at times resist,” said House of Trees of the project in a statement. “At a time when language is being societally devalued, how can we as artists and writers use words creatively to rouse political action?”
To be fair, it is not clear what kind of political action House of Trees is hoping to provoke with the slogans, which, on the whole, are not overtly confrontational or specific. Passersby could be forgiven for thinking that slogans like “Imagination Births Courage Births Change Births Freedom,” “I Was Born For Love, Not Hatred,” and “If You’re Not Creating, You’re Simply Consuming; Create With Courage” are from an average ad for Levi’s.