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Billboards bring art to the streets
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The Imagine Peace billboard was designed by Yoko Ono, artist and peace activist, at the invitation of the Walker Art Center. (MPR Photo/Chris Roberts)
The Walker Art Center recently invited several internationally known artists to use a downtown Minneapolis billboard as their canvas. The Walker's yearlong Billboard Project kicked off this week with a sign designed by experimental artist and peace activist Yoko Ono. Ono's message is simple. Imagine Peace.

Minneapolis, Minn. — Yoko Ono's billboard happens to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq.

Imagine the words, Imagine Peace, high atop a windswept corner in downtown Minneapolis. There's nothing artsy or even artful about the way the message is conveyed. Just bold, black capital letters on a snow white background. Yoko Ono might say the art of the billboard is in the act of imagining.

There's not a lot of foot traffic at the intersection of Hennepin Ave. and 12th St. The people you see are usually in a hurry to get some place else, and not interested in discussing war or world affairs or imagining peace with a stranger on the street. This is Minnesota, after all.

Minnesota Public Radio's Chris Roberts did manage to talk to some of the folks who passed by the billboard about what they thought of it. Some of them had to have the billboard pointed out to them first.

Listen to their comments by choosing the audio link in the right column.

The Imagine Peace billboard is part of the Walker Museum's "Walker Without Walls" series. Ono's design will be on display through May 14. Billboards designed by four other artists will follow.

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