Meet Stuart Sheldon, Voyage MIA Magazine


Today we’d like to introduce you to Stuart Sheldon.

Stuart, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.

I was born and raised here in Miami. Straight out of college, I joined a Wall Street firm and by 25, had become its youngest VP… but that was not the “success” I dreamt of. So, at 27, I pivoted to the MFA in Film Production at University of Miami. I left for L.A. the following year where I worked as a production assistant for Michael Jackson, an extra in The Bodyguard and a chauffeur for Donald Sutherland before escaping to the mountains of Boulder, Colorado. I spent 7 years in the Rockies as a magazine publisher and made a TV documentary on pro cycling. At the height of the Dotcom boom, I co-founded Streaming Media Magazine in San Francisco. In the midst of all this, I began painting to heal a broken heart and never looked back. I returned to Miami 10 years ago and was amazed at what the creative landscape had become – youthful, fearless, with just the right amount of lawlessness. It turbo-charged my inspiration and career. My work the past few years has been about social justice. At this very moment, I’m gearing up for an artist talk at PAMM on Nov 7th, where I’ll be discussing the evolution of my activist art practice and moderating a town hall discussion around the question, “How is success measured in activist art?”

Read more …

The People Who Defined Visual Culture in 2018, Artsy


If we were to bury a time capsule filled with vestiges of visual culture in 2018, we would include the work of the following photographers, designers, artists, directors, tech leaders, activists, and influencers. This list goes beyond the art world and into pop culture, internet vernacular, and the wider news cycle. It’s about who is contributing to a more diverse set of voices in art, film, fashion, and beyond. It’s about milestones: the first black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover; the youngest architect to design the Serpentine Pavilion; the first artist to have his work self-destruct mid-auction. And it’s about recognizing visionaries of the past, whose work is imbued with new meaning in our current social landscape, from an underrepresented Baroque painter to the designers of the European Union flag. Here, we highlight the 25 individuals and collaborators who shaped what our culture looks like in 2018.

Full Article Here



ArtCenter/South Florida in Miami Beach announced the inaugural recipients of the Ellies. Established earlier this year, the visual art awards aim to elevate and celebrate the careers of Miami-based artists. Selected from a pool of more than five hundred submissions, forty-four artists and art educators were honored at a ceremony that took place at the Bass on Wednesday night. The honorees will each receive a grant in support of an unrealized project. A total of $491,000 will be split between them.

Among the recipients of the Ellies is Edouard Duval-Carrie, who was named the inaugural winner of the $75,000 Michael Richards Award, which was created in honor of artist Michael Richards. The ArtCenter alum, who was known for addressing racial inequity and social injustice in his work, died in the World Trade Center in New York during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The award will support Duval-Carrie’s practice over a two-year period and will include a commission to create a new work to be exhibited at the Bass.

Named after ArtCenter founder Ellie Schneiderman, the Ellies are bestowed in three categories: the Creator Award, which offers project grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 in support of the production of new work; Teacher Travel Grants, which provide art teachers with $5,000 so that they can travel to another city or country to study art and use their experience to enrich their classes; and the Michael Richards Award, which honors a Miami artist creating high-quality work.

“Miami’s artists shine brightly tonight,” Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of ArtCenter, said at the award ceremony. “Each of these winners demonstrates how far our visual arts community has come—and seeds the possibilities for the exciting growth we can see in the future.”

The complete list of recipients is as follows: 

The Ellies Creator Award Winners

Kevin Arrow
Jenna Balfe
Marcus Blake
Joe Cardona
Leo Castaneda
Thom Wheeler Castillo
Lou Anne Colodny
Franky Cruz
Woosler Delisfort
Cara Despain
April Dobbins
Bo Droga
Ray Elman
Asif Farooq
Guadalupe Figueras
Julie Fliegenspan
Dara Friedman
Gonzalo Fuenmayor
Rosa Naday Garmendia
GeoVanna Gonzalez
Adler Guerrier
Nicolas Lobo
Pepe Mar
Jillian Mayer
Ricardo Mor
Michelle Lisa Polissaint
Johanne Rahaman
Alina Rodriguez
Silvia Ros
Lydia Rubio
Onajide Shabaka
Stuart Sheldon
Troy Simmons
Ayesha Singh
Symone Titania
Fereshteh Toosi
Juana Valdes
Tom Virgin

Teacher Travel Grants

Susan Feliciano, Robert Morgan Education Center High School
Lourdes Fuller, Shenandoah Middle School
Justin Long, New World School of the Arts
Juana Meneses, New World School of the Arts
Mirena Suarez, Ada Merritt K-8



Miami Artist Crowdfunds Gun Reform Billboard Along I-95, Miami New Times


Stuart Sheldon’s oldest son was in elementary school the day 20 children were gunned down in their classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary. The idea of someone aiming an AR-15 at first-graders was the worst thing Sheldon could imagine, and when nothing changed in the massacre’s aftermath, he responded the best way he knew how: through art.

Before the 2016 election, the Miami artist created a haunting video installation showing 20 colorful elementary- school chairs being shot up by a man with an AR-15. Now, with this year’s election approaching, Sheldon has added another piece — one you might have already seen without realizing it.

On a 50-by-15-foot billboard Sheldon crowdfunded along I-95, the all-caps words “HOW WAS SCHOOL TODAY?” stand out against a black background. The O in “TODAY” is a target, and the question mark bears a drop of blood, juxtaposing gun violence against an everyday ritual of parenthood and turning a common question into something horrific.

“I wanted to take the rage and the emotion that I had earlier and just sort of try to crystallize it into something that wasn’t quite as crazy as a classroom of bullet-ridden chairs,” Sheldon says. “It’s just part of the same conversation that’s been ongoing for a few years and that, quite frankly, I hope I get to stop having soon.” 

The sign is part of the 50 State Initiative, one of the biggest collaborative public art projects in history. In the runup to November 6, artists across the nation have created and displayed unique billboards, each carrying a message. The initiative was organized by For Freedoms, a nonprofit that uses art to stimulate political discourse.

The message was left up to the artist. Billboards now in place across the country call attention to issues such as immigration, racial inequality, and police violence. When Sheldon was invited to participate, he knew which topic he’d tackle.

“My kids have shooter drills at school,” he says. “They’re 8 and 10. What the fuck, man? I just want a country where we don’t have shooter drills in third grade.”

Sheldon took to Kickstarter to cover the cost of leasing the billboard, writing about his sons — “smart, silly, inquisitive beings that I consider my greatest creations” — in the description. His fundraiser hit its $4,000 goal weeks ahead of its deadline, and the donations kept coming.

As of today, with three days remaining until the deadline, he’s raised nearly $5,500. The sign will stay up through the month of October, just short of Election Day. His hope is that it grabs peoples’ attention and motivates them as they head to the polls.

“I don’t know how many people will be driving by my billboard over the two months on I-95 in a sort of rush hour traffic zone,” Sheldon says. “But I would like to hope that hundreds or maybe even thousands of them feel compelled to vote and use this issue as one of the things they think about when they pull the lever.” 





Local artist Stuart Sheldon has always produced art that pushed the envelope, even if that meant partying in a dilapidated gold house.

But after the 2016 election, Stuart’s work became much more political. He joined For Freedoms, an artist-run political action committee, during Art Basel in 2016. Stuart says, “the pain of America’s troubles became unbearable for me.”

You’ve probably already seen his latest project, even if you didn’t realize it.

Back in September, he purchased billboard space on I-95. He marked it with the message: “How Was School Today?” with a gun target and a drop of blood in the question mark.

The message is meant to be a wake up call about gun violence and the need for stronger gun reform. And that’s not just because of this year’s Parkland shooting, but also because of the Sandy Hook school shooting and everything that’s happened since then.

We talked to him about his billboards, his message, and how the project came together:

THE INSPIRATION: Stuart says it goes back to thinking of his two young sons after Sandy Hook in 2012. He thought that the tragic event would lead to more gun reforms but, “Not only did the needle not move, it moved in the wrong direction,” he says. Now he wants his work to spark conversation that could lead to solutions. “I want this to actually help solve the problem and not just be some ego-driven art installation,” he says.

HOW THE PARTNERSHIP CAME TOGETHER: The billboard project is a continuation of a partnership Stuart struck with For Freedoms back in 2016. The organization has been running billboards across the country to promote political discourse, and this is one of them.

SO, WHY BILLBOARDS? His hope is that the big display of the billboards (and their placement on the often traffic-jammed interstate) will spark more action than social media messaging and other mediums. “I think billboards are an interesting way to jam things down people’s throat,” Stuart says. “Maybe this can be that extra push of action… so we can get a few hundred people to get off their asses and vote.”

HOW PEOPLE CAN GET INVOLVED: Stuart purchased the billboard space for the month of September and started a Kickstarter to help fund the installation. You can find info on the campaign here. It’s still live, but the billboards are set to come down by Oct. 21, even if Stuart raises more funds.



Here Are the 150 Artists Making Billboards, artnet

For Freedoms, the political action committee co-founded by artist Hank Willis Thomas, unveiled today the artists in its landmark “50 State Initiative.” More than 300 artists, including J.R., Marilyn Minter, Rashid Johnson, Tania Bruguera, and Theaster Gates have designed billboards that encourage political participation, and which will be erected in each of America’s 50 states ahead of the November midterm congressional elections.

“The ‘50 State Initiative’ can change the political landscape by inspiring more people to participate in civic life and broadening the concept of what democratic participation looks like,” the project’s producer, Miriam Fogelson, told artnet News. 

Artists were free to depict whatever they wanted on their billboards, according to For Freedoms co-founder Eric Gottesman. “We built For Freedoms as a platform for these artists’ voices,” he said. “There were no guidelines as the basis of this project is embracing artists’ creativity as a means of inspiring civic dialogue and participation—it’s about what they had to say.”

To realize the hugely ambitious project, For Freedoms partnered with more than 200 American art organizations, from grassroots art centers to major museums, and even international groups. The organization tried “to match the artist’s vision and message to location and issue,” said For Freedoms political advisor Mark Skidmore in an email. For example, Muslim artist Jamila El Sahili’s billboard, Human Being, is going up in Lansing, Michigan, where the first Muslim woman could be elected to congress.

Skidmore says that the organization isn’t affiliated with either political party, and in fact describes itself as “anti-partisan.” But although the current political landscape remains one of the most partisan eras in American political history, Fogelson hopes the initiative succeeds by taking an less common approach. “For Freedoms aims to make civic engagement more inclusive of people who have felt excluded from, or disinterested in, traditional political processes,” she said.

See the full list of artist billboards by state below:….


Stuart Sheldon, The Best Words
Student Union / Bookstore, Florida International University, Miami

Full list here: