If you’ve spotted billboards in Jersey City, Newark, and/or Fairfield that simply say “Hopeful”, you may have wondered what they were all about.

Here’s the backstory: the billboards are part of a multi-city, multi-format art project by artist Charlie Hewitt.

The project includes not only billboards but art installations all centered around the word “hopeful.” The project is intended to inspire optimism and create compassion for Americans coping with pandemic fatigue and political polarization.

"Hopeful is not a passive project; it requires work and responsibility. My hope with this project is to continue to spread the message of true compassion throughout our country. Being hopeful means being committed and compassionate to what surrounds us as a society. I want a resurgence of this in my life and the lives of others, which is why I'm committed to continuing to expand this project across the United States," said Hewitt.

According to a press release: Hopeful's design incorporates a retro style with their colorfast radiance and round electric lightbulbs, reminiscent of a post-WWII time of hopefulness and progress in the country. The simple but powerful message has inspired citizens to share their feelings upon experiencing Hopeful. Hewitt's wish is for more people to experience the art, both in person and via a social media campaign.

Hewitt, who is based in Maine, created Hopeful installations in four Maine cities before expanding his project to billboards, bumper stickers, pins, and a social media campaign. There are also billboards in Connecticut, Maine, and Maryland, with more planned.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.

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