Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right This artist is making free signs for Black-owned businesses in NYC
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Photograph: Courtesy of Dennin Winser

This artist is making free signs for Black-owned businesses in NYC

Beautiful signs have the power to communicate the spirit of a neighborhood.

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Dennin Winser has worked in the food service industry for almost his entire professional life in both front and back of house roles. Most recently, he was a line cook at Hunky Dory and Tørst in Brooklyn, but like many other restaurant workers, he was laid off in April during the current crisis. Even while working in restaurants, Winser was an artist who created signs for businesses all over the city; he knew first hand the power signs can have on a customer's interest in entering a restaurant—a marketing tool that perhaps has never been so important during this fraught time for the industry. 

Inspired by the signs seen at the protests over the past few weeks, Winser was looking for a way to contribute and begun offering his signmaking-services to Black-owned businesses free of charge. “A hand-painted sign says something about the business it belongs to. It says that the people inside care about craft and quality. It humanizes the space, especially in a giant metropolis like New York that's drenched in mass produced vinyl letters,” he shares with Time Out New York

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FREE HAND-PAINTED SIGNS!Listen. Learn. Act. As an artist and a craftsperson, I believe it is my obligation to challenge and/or perpetuate the cultural framework in which I practice my art/craft. As a currently unemployed worker in the food service industry, I believe it is my obligation to support the community in which I have found more love than I ever expected. As a transplant in Bed-Stuy, I believe it is my obligation support my neighborhood. Right now, that means supporting small, local, black-owned, businesses. If that describes yours or a friend's business, and you or they would be interested in a free hand-painted sign, shoot me a DM, I got you. This is one way that I have come up with to not only make use my new found free time, resources, and anger, but also to use my own personal narrative to amplify the larger narrative of POC in this country. This also has the added benefit of keeping my hands and my mind occupied during these times. Thanks for reading and please spread love, it is the Brooklyn way after all. ❤ #spreadlove #brooklyn #artisaweapon #blacklivesmatter #shoplocal #smallbusiness #blackowned #alwayshandpaint #nyc #signpainting #handmadefont #art #typography #lettering #bethechange #directaction #useyourbodyasaballotandyoucanvoteeveryday

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But for Black-run small businesses, there are already so many barriers to entry that spending money on signage isn't always a top priority. Winser wanted to provide a useful service and encourages anyone in need of the pro-bono signmaking services to get in contact with him, whether they need a sign that says “we’re open!” or something to help amplify a message at the next protest.

"As a transplant in Bed-Stuy, I believe it is my obligation to support my neighborhood. Right now, that means supporting small, local, Black-owned, businesses. If that describes yours or a friend's business, and you or they would be interested in a free hand-painted sign, shoot me a DM, I got you," he wrote on Instagram.

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