CMCA has joined with For Freedoms, a nationwide project that uses art to build greater participation in American democracy. Starting last Thursday and continuing through Sunday, October 14, CMCA will present a full-scale, temporary billboard installation by Christopher Myers in CMCA’s public courtyard, at 21 Winter Street in Rockland. Entitled “Every Refugee Boat Is a Mayflower,” Myers’s installation speaks to current issues on migration and the international refugee crisis. Based in New York City, Myers is a writer and illustrator of young-adult literature whose artistic practice is equally rooted in storytelling and his interest in global affairs. On Saturday, October 13, Myers’ installation will be coupled with an immersive pop-up virtual reality installation, “Making Migration Visible | A Shared Space” by Camden-based artist and filmmaker Daniel Quintanilla, which goes inside the homes and shared spaces of recent Maine immigrants Shuab Ahmed Mahat and Hilowle Aden, who grew up in Dabaab, Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world, and who now live in Lewiston.

Since 2016, For Freedoms has produced exhibitions, town hall meetings, billboards and public art across the United States, all intended to spur greater participation in civic life. The For Freedoms initiative was inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings based on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech (1941) — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear — and uses art to encourage and deepen public explorations of freedom in the 21st century.

This year, For Freedoms launched The 50 State Initiative, with exhibitions and projects related to how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place and patriotism. CMCA Director Suzette McAvoy says, “We are honored to partner with For Freedoms in this timely and important nationwide initiative. Our mission at CMCA is to further conversations about art’s role in contemporary society and its ability to speak across cultures, politics, and generations. The For Freedoms project connects our audience in Maine with this larger cultural dialogue.”