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Sable Elyse Smith: For Freedoms – 50 State Initiative

  • West Jackson Street and Chamberlayne Avenue Richmond, VA (map)

1708 Gallery, in partnership with For Freedoms – 50 State Initiative, presents a billboard by Sable Elyse Smith. This multi-site project with Smith is part of an imperative that elaborates on Richmond’s relevance in discourses between art and politics. The billboard is located in the historic neighborhood of Jackson Ward, at the intersection of W. Jackson St. and Chamberlayne Avenue. This prominent location calls attention to the profound history of the resident community and neighborhood as well as the continued, catastrophic racial inequality, abuse, and erasure both locally and nationally. At the turn of the 20th century Jackson Ward was the most financially successful black neighborhood in the country. Smith’s work stands directly in front of the home of W. W. Browne, the founder of the first ever chartered black owned and operated bank in the United Sates. The Savings Bank of the True Reformers was also originally located in Browne’s home.