With the desire to inspire optimism for Americans coping with pandemic fatigue and political polarization, renowned artist Charlie Hewitt has rented a billboard in downtown Newark, New Jersey, to display and share his artwork. “Hopeful,” a digital image created by Hewitt, will reside on a 14-foot x 48-foot billboard on the southbound McCarter Highway for the next year. “Hopeful” is expected to engage almost 11 million views over the next 52 weeks.
Hewitt’s Hopeful Project was originally conceived and created as sculpture, a public art project in the artist’s home state of Maine. Large sculptural signs in radiant colors, some weighing up to 600 pounds and measuring 60-feet across, began appearing on buildings in Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, and Brunswick. Then more in Greenwich, CT; New York City, and Easton, Maryland.
Hopeful’s design incorporates a retro style with its colorfast radiance, reminiscent of a post-WWII time of hopefulness and progress in the country. The simple but powerful message has inspired citizens to share their feelings upon experiencing Hopeful.
In the early winter of 2021, Hewitt realized that his message could spread further on billboards; he partnered with OUTFRONT Media, an outdoor advertising company, to render his sculpture into a digital billboard. Hewitt then chose two of OUTFRONT’s billboard locations in New Jersey – one just past the exit of the tunnel and the other in Newark.
“I realized that I could spread my message much more quickly on billboards. The initial billboard campaign, which ran over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, was so successful that I decided that Hopeful should live in Newark for the next twelve months and rented a billboard along with my art dealer, Jim Kempner,” said Hewitt. “My wish is for more people to experience the art from their cars, in their walks, and in a social media campaign… and I am “hopeful” that I will find more collaborators who will help me spread the word “Hopeful” across the country.”
If you are interested in bringing The Hopeful Project to your community, publicly or privately, please reach out to Charlie Hewitt Studio for more information. Hewitt is represented by Jim Kempner Fine Art in New York City. Instagram @_hopefulproject.