From now through November 13, the library’s new “For Freedoms” installation can be viewed on the Robbins lawn at the corner of Mass Ave and Peg Spengler Way. Created in partnership with the Ottoson Middle School eighth grade civics class to promote civic engagement among young people, the signs offer students’ views inspired by four prompts: Freedom for, Freedom of, Freedom to, and Freedom from. Teens were asked to finish the prompt with the one hope that they have as Election Day approaches. The project gives teens the opportunity to let voters and candidates know what issues are most important to them.
In a world where most political decisions are made by adults, the signs represent the hopes of Arlington’s teens for their lives, their communities, their country, and their world. Katy Kania, Head of Teen Services at the library, says “We hope you will take time to reflect on these teens’ thoughts and feelings, to consider the world they will inherit, and to familiarize yourself with the world they intend to create.”
For Freedoms is an artist-led organization that models and increases creative civic engagement and discourse within communities through installations like the one at Robbins Library. Founded by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms was inspired by Norman Rockwell’s paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (1941)—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The For Freedoms Federation encourages new forms of critical discourse, inviting communities to use art as a vehicle to build greater participation in American Democracy.
Visitors are invited to stop by the library’s front lawn to view this installation, but please respect physical space and maintain social distance.
This project was made possible by Waltham Public Library, the Friends of the Robbins Library, Ottoson Middle School, and For Freedoms. You can learn more about For Freedoms at https://forfreedoms.org/