Free Culture 2010

Award 2010

Shepard Fairey & Brandon Edens


AS220 inaugurated its biannual Free Culture Award in 2010, as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the organization.

In 2010, contemporary artist and graffiti pioneer, Shepard Fairey, was chosen as the international recipient of the AS220 Free Culture Award. A large mural designed by Fairey was executed on the northwest side of the Pell Chafee Performance Center in downtown Providence. AS220 also released a limited edition print of the design in two colorways, red and gold.  Free Culture T-Shirt with Shepard Fairey’s design are available for purchase as fundraising for our programs.

Shepard Fairey is an American contemporary artist, graphic designer, and illustrator and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, 1992. He first became known for his “André the Giant Has a Posse” and “Obey Giant” sticker campaign, in which he appropriated images from the comedic super market tabloid Weekly World News. His work became more widely known recently in the 2008 U.S. presidential election for his Barack Obama “HOPE” poster. His work is included in the collections at The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He was prominently featured in the new Banksy film, ‘Exit at the Gift Shop.’ Fairey was arrested on February 7, 2009, on his way to the premiere of his show at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Massachusetts, on two outstanding warrants related to graffiti.

That same year, Brandon Edens, former AS220 Labs and IT staff was the local artist recipient of the Free Culture Award for creating the copyright-free local music Jukebox installed at AS220’s 115 Empire St complex.  Edens began his work at AS220 as a volunteer in 2001 and has served as AS220′s system administrator for the last three years. In 2005, Edens obtained degrees in both Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Rhode Island. Edens training in embedded systems landed him a position as an embedded firmware engineer with Zeo Inc., creators of the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach. He continues to develop his interests in 3D graphics, graphics processor units and game programming with Fluxamalabs, an indie game group. Edens ascribes to the four freedoms attached to the Free Software movement – to run, study, redistribute, and improve software. One of Brandon’s more recent projects, the AS220 Jukebox, allows local artists to upload their music via a web interface to Music is made available for AS220 Foo(d) and bar patrons to play via a coin-fed physical interface and participating artists are directly compensated for all paid plays. The jukebox is licensed as free software and publicly available. Designing and building all the components himself, Brandon created an elegant solution to AS220′s boycott of music licensing agencies. As a resident of Rhode Island for the last fifteen years, Edens was awarded the 2010 Biennial Free Culture Award designated for an outstanding local artist.

AS220’s Free Culture Award 2010: Shepard Fairey’s Providence Mural. Photo credit: Miguel Rosario

Brandon Edens and AS220 Jukebox. AS220 Free culture Award 2010. Photo credit pending.


Action Speaks Special: “Free Culture” Forum with Shepard Fairey & Lawrence Lessig

Artist Shepard Fairey, Political Activist & Author Lawrence Lessig, Computer Scientist & Engineer Brandon Edens and AS220 Artistic Director Umberto Crenca came together for a discussion on”Free Culture.” Moderated by Action Speaks Host Marc Levitt.

Action Speaks: Free Culture. Laurence Lessig, Shepard Fairey, Umberto Crenca, and Brandon Edens. 2010.

Action Speaks: Free Culture. Laurence Lessig, Shepard Fairey, Umberto Crenca, and Brandon Edens. 2010.



Action Speaks Special – A Free Live Forum on “Free Culture”

Friday, August 13th 2010 at AS220, 115 Empire St., Providence, RI

As part of Providence’s nationally known Action Speak radio show, the inaugural honorees of the AS220 Free Culture Award, Shepard Fairey and Brandon Edens, Harvard law professor, political activist, and “Free Culture” author Lawrence Lessig, and AS220 Artistic Director, Umberto Crenca took part in a public conversation moderated by Marc Levitt, Host and Creative Director of Action Speaks. The conversation included Fairey’s work as a public artist and his influences and ideas on the creative process, Lessig’s notion of the Public Commons and his thoughts on copywrite legislation and free software. Crenca will spopke to the challenges of engaging with notions of Free Culture as the Director of AS220, an unjuried and uncensored arts non-profit, and Edens illuminated the complexities of free culture in the realm of technology from the perspective of a computer engineer active in hardware and software development. In keeping with the theme of Action Speaks’ “Underappreciated Dates that Changed America,” the panelists were asked to comment on significant moments in their personal, artistic, professional and political evolution as well as dates in the world of public art and cyberspace that changed how we viewed and participated with the world. The public was invited to join the discussion with comments and questions.

Lawrence Lessig is an academic, author and political activist. He is best known for his work to reduce the legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications. He is the author of the book ‘Free Culture’. Currently, Mr. Lessig is a director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a professor of law at Harvard Law School. Prior to rejoining Harvard, he was a professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of its Center for Internet and Society. Lessig is a founding board member of Creative Commons, a board member of the Software Freedom Law Center and a former board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.