Friends of the Orphan Signs
Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
Collaborate, Create, Revitalize
Friends of the Orphan Signs (FOS) is a collaborative public art organization of artist-educators that creatively revitalizes abandoned or unused road signs with artwork, with a particular focus along historic Route 66 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. FOS facilitates innovative collaborations and educational workshops with local communities with the aim of designing new imagery to install in the signs as public art pieces. We work to revitalize the visual landscape of disinvested neighborhoods while centering the voices of its residents. Our signs are public, accessible on foot and in car, and are on major thoroughfares throughout Albuquerque.
Since 2010, FOS has worked to preserve relics of past roadside culture, as many orphan signs (signs currently on empty lots or unused by the current occupants) are deemed unworthy of restoration. These signs are called "orphans" by the historic preservation community. We recognize the historic value of orphans and we develop dynamic, community-oriented, public art projects that utilize these structures as sites for temporary and permanent public artwork.
Our projects also encompass gallery exhibitions and outdoor video screenings meant to inspire broad public participation in the reimagining of signs and empty lots as sites for artworks.