Handwriting the Constitution: A short film by Bill Antonucci

WHAT WE DO – From Handwritingtheconstitution.com 

Handwriting the Constitution is a social art project begun in 2017 by artist Morgan O’Hara. It invites people from all walks of life to meet in public spaces to handwrite the US Constitution or other documents written to protect human rights and freedoms. This art practice was created so that people will know their rights, deepen their understanding of laws created to protect these rights, and helps resist negative thinking. To date approximately 2000 people have participated, both nationally and internationally.

The goal of this art practice is to encourage people to hold their own Handwriting sessions on a recurring basis; to create a physical and psychological space that explores the practice of concentrated writing as an art form, and a process designed to bring people together in a quiet and calming way, all by focusing on human rights. It has been identified as a powerful and transformative form of “activism for introverts.”

Morgan O’Hara has been a conceptual artist for over 60 years. Her works are in the permanent collections of many institutions including: the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC among others. O’Hara has committed her life to making art which observes and renders visible aspects of the human experience of living in both 20th and 21st centuries. – www.MorganOHara.com – Handwriting the Constitution is a natural evolution from O’Hara’s drawing practice into a realm that explores the meaning of concentrated writing as an art form and a way to bring people together regardless of their political leanings.

Still from documentary by Bill Antonucci (2019) Duke Street Films - Morgan O'Hara - Anita Rogers Gallery

Still from documentary by Bill Antonucci (2019) Duke Street Films

To date, 104 sessions have been held. Over 1500 people from various fields have participated: education, art, construction, music, geology, gardening, design, history, medicine, education, architecture, politics, to name a few. Sessions have been led by individuals in public spaces: libraries and universities in New York, California, Washington, Kansas, Texas, New Hampshire, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong. Since its inception, this social art project has worked with the US Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and various international Constitutions, each in its own language. Documents are selected because of their focus on human rights and freedoms. The people who attend the sessions choose whichever documents they wish to copy. Writers keep their handwritten pages to share with others and for future reference.

This social art project does not exist as a political tool nor is it meant to create a political group. There is no requirement for any individual to state a political affiliation. In fact, little extended dialogue occurs between O’Hara and participants other than a welcome and help in getting started. The fact that the art project is not overtly political has attracted many as it transcends political affiliation. Anyone can set up a session to handwrite documents created to protect human rights, in any language, anywhere in the world.