In the days and weeks after the 2016 presidential election, Matthew Chavez showed up in the subway with stacks of brightly colored sticky notes. “Express yourself” he told passersby. The response was electric. Calling himself “Levee”– one who supports the city’s emotional tide– Chavez turned an underground maze into a communal art space known as Subway Therapy.
News and social media feeds around the world filled with images of this ever-changing, ever-growing wall of remembrances, messages of love, and fierce calls to action. And its spirit was catching. Thousands picked up the mantle to create Subway Therapy walls in cities across the country– San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C.– and internationally as well.
Signs of Hope is Chavez’s tribute to Subway Therapy, showcasing the most inspired and most inspiring of the thousands of 3 x 3 inch notes. Individually these brave and funny and emotional “posts” bring the personal and momentary into the open. Together, they show us a vision of inclusivity and hope.
A portion of the author’s proceeds will go to the ACLU (aclu.org), supporters of free speech in all its forms, and Win (winnyc.org), the largest provider of shelter and services to New York’s homeless families.
Matthew “Levee” Chavez is the creator of Subway Therapy, an ongoing immersive project in the subway stations of New York City that received the 2017 Brendan Gill Prize and earned Chavez the Demos Transforming America Award. He goes by the artist name Levee, as in one who supports the city’s emotional tide. A believer in the therapeutic power of communication, Chavez has worked in the field of education in a variety of different roles, including at a magnet school for students with autism. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. Follow Levee at www.subwaytherapy.com, on Facebook and Instagram @subwaytherapy, and on Twitter @asklevee.