FIT Alumni and Faculty Murals Promote Voting

The 2020 election has been called the most important in American history. Two mural projects from the FIT community are helping get the word out about voting.

Victor Saint-Hilaire ’13. Photo by Mitchell Wojcik.

To promote the first Vote Early Day, MTV created art installations and digital events in more than 20 U.S. cities. Illustration faculty member Dan Shefelman partnered with MTV to chalk a barge on the East River, and he hired two Illustration alumni from the class of 2013, Victor Saint-Hilaire and Angel Garcia, to help.

According to Shefelman, the art highlights the importance of civic engagement, the opportunity to vote early, and the core issues that drive people to the polls.

“Our mural design seeks to honor a reality where womxn, trans womxn, and members of the LGBTQ community are celebrated and protected,” Saint-Hilaire told AM New York.

Watch this short video of the barge being painted and launched:

“From the fight for suffrage to today, chalk art has long been used as a tool for communication in times of social movement and change,” read a statement from the artists. “Chalk is a way to claim ownership of our streets with a visual presence and engage with our community and meet new people. We are proud to carry on this legacy and use chalk to turn people out for this year’s election.”

The barge set sail Oct. 24, the first day of early voting. More than 230 million Americans are eligible to vote early.

Colorful illustration that reads "vote early"
Saint-Hilaire ’13 designed the mural for the barge.

Separately, on Dyckman Street in Upper Manhattan, Daniel Bonilla, Computer Animation and Interactive Media ’09, painted a mural encouraging residents to vote. “Go Vote. Your Vote Matters,” measuring 11 by 20 feet, depicts the hands of people of color placing ballots into ballot boxes, a USPS van delivering mail-in ballots, and the phrase “Your vote matters,” with “Vote” styled after the Robert Indiana “Love” sculpture. The mural also includes websites for further information.

At FIT, Bonilla was in the SUNY Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which supports students from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

Bonilla and his collaborator Robin Alcantara raised almost $5,000 for the mural, using a GoFundMe campaign.

In an Instagram post about the mural, Bonilla wrote, “YOUR VOTE MATTERS! Feels amazing being able to paint with my friends in our community.”

Two painters posing in front of voting mural
Artists Robin Alcantara and Danny Bonilla in front of the Dyckman Street mural.

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