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Oct 30, 2010

"We rely upon artists to articulate what most of us can only feel in joy and sorrow. Whenever I feel my courage wavering I rush to them. They will give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on." --Helen Hayes

Giving Slums a Human Face

It's not common for important philanthropic prizes to go to people whose work involves criminal trespass and who make statements like the following: "You never know who's part of the police and who's not." But the TED conference plans to give its annual $100,000 prize to the Parisian street artist known as J R, a shadowy figure who made a name for himself by plastering colossal photographs in downtrodden neighborhoods around the world. The images usually extol local residents, to whom he has become a Robin Hood-like hero. Prize director Amy Novogratz said picking an artist like JR, who is 27 and fiercely protective of his anonymity, was an unusual choice- past recipients include figures like Bill Clinton and Bono- but the prize committee felt his work could "catalyze the TED community" to support an art-centered philanthropic project.


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