MTV teams up with FIT to design barge that encourages early voting in New York City

MTV art
Vote Early Day art created by former FIT student Victor Saint Hillaire.
Courtesy of MTV

MTV is working with artists from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to help encourage New Yorkers to vote.

The artists will be creating a huge mural on a barge that will float down the East River on Oct. 24, which is the first day of early voting in New York. This will be designed time to Vote Early Day, the new national holiday to promote early voting.

Dan Shefelman, a professor at FIT who created the ChalkFIT program, some of his former students, Victor A. Saint Hilaire, Angel Garcia, Charles Jones, Dakotah West, and Demetrius Felder, will design the barge this week.

“Our mural design seeks to honor a reality where womxn, trans womxn, and members of the LGBTQ community are celebrated and protected. A future where we have the time to collectively take in and contemplate our world so that we may vote mindfully without our lives constantly being threatened,” said Saint Hilaire. “It invites us to be creative and engage in our imagination, like brave adventurous children, of what the future can be by acknowledging and making space for our current reality and finding creative ways to transform it in order to help our communities thrive. Whether small or large, your vote matters so vote how you feel!”

Vote Early Day is a movement made up of over 2,500 nonprofits, businesses, election administrators and creatives who are working to help voters make sure they know how to vote early and make a plan to do so before Oct. 24. As of Oct. 20, over 34 million Americans have voted early. With early voting rules for in-person and by-mail options varying widely all over the country, the Vote Early Day movement is stepping in to minimize the confusion that prevents voters from casting their ballots entirely.  

“Voting isn’t only enacted when it comes to electing government officials, or at presidential elections; it also happens during our day to day engagements,” said Saint Hilaire. “We Vote by choosing who and what to support with our money, how we interact with one another, and where we continue to put our time and effort. When we say Vote How You Feel, we are asking you to sit with yourself and choose how you want to take an active role in your life, your relationships and your communities to transform our world into one we know can exist.”

In addition to NYC, MTV is partnering with artists from across the country to bring life to Vote Early Day with chalk art displays in over 25 cities in one of the largest ever coordinated displays of “art as activism.”  This effort aims to highlight the importance of civic engagement, the opportunity to vote early, and the core issues that drive people to the polls.