Among the more positive things to emerge from the 2016 election was the very visible outpour of love and solidarity by New Yorkers, who not only took to the streets together to stand up for what they believe in, but without inhibition expressed their anger, fears, hopes and words of comfort for one another on colorful Post-Its stretched along the 14th Street-6th/7th Avenue subway corridor. Recognizing the historic nature of this spontaneous art movement, Governor Cuomo announced this morning that the New-York Historical Society will partner with the MTA to preserve some of the thousands of “Subway Therapy” sticky notes that have materialized over the last weeks.
“Over the last six weeks, New Yorkers have proved that we will not let fear and division define us. Today, we preserve a powerful symbol that shows how New Yorkers of all ages, races and religions came together to say we are one family, one community and we will not be torn apart,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “New York will always hold the torch high and our partnership with the Historical Society ensures that generations to come will see the moment when New Yorkers united in such a moving way.”
New-York Historical Society President and CEO Dr. Louise Mirrer added, “We are ever-mindful of preserving the memory of today’s events for future generations. Ephemeral items in particular, created with spontaneity and emotion, can become vivid historical documents. ‘Subway Therapy’ perfectly evokes this historic moment. We are thrilled to collaborate with Mr. Chavez and the MTA to ensure future generations can understand the historical impact of present events.”
Today I am partnering with the New-York Historical Society (@nyhistory) to archive the sticky notes at Union Square. The MTA has been very understanding of the need for people to express how they feel, but as we move forward, we want to make sure that the voices of the people are preserved. The New-York Historical Society will be providing a space for people to continue to express themselves. Check out www.subwaytherapy.com and www.nyhistory.org for more details. If you want to help with the preservation of the Wall today, please come to Union Square and find me or one of the employees of the New-York Historical Society. If you contributed to this amazing project, thank you very much for helping make this an international symbol of unity and peaceful expression. I will be continuing to do Subway Therapy — keep following for updates of my whereabouts! #subwaytherapy #love #newyork
As we wrote previously, artist Matthew “Levee” Chavez initiated the temporary installation with little more than a few Post-It note pads and pens. “I started the project so people could have a channel to express their thoughts, feel less alone, and also become exposed to opinions different than their own,” he said today. “‘Subway Therapy’ is about inclusion, stress relief and peaceful expression.”
Indeed, the project over the weeks has taken on a life of its own, expanding to the Union Square station and even inspiring Westbeth Artists Housing to start their own exhibit.
Cuomo, too, made his own contribution to the wall at Union Square. As seen above, the note read: “New York State holds the torch high! … ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free … I lift my lamp beside the golden door’ Emma Lazarus …STATUE OF LIBERTY”– Andrew C.”
The New-York Historical Society began removing the notes this morning and will archive them as part of its History Responds Program. Starting next Tuesday through Inauguration Day, the public is invited to continue the project on the glass wall inside New-York Historical’s front entrance on Central Park West at 77th Street.
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