Exhibit to Feature Art on Dollar Bills

Local artist Diane Hause’s favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor is Cherry Garcia, but not because she’s a Grateful Dead fan.

“I am not even a cherry fan,” Hause said. “It was one of the last ones on the shelf one time, years ago, and I bought it and got addicted to it.”

On Oct. 18, Hause can personally thank Ben Cohen — the Ben of Ben & Jerry’s — for all those empty cartons when she drives him to 2TEN HAUSTUDIO in Ivanhoe for the opening reception of “The Dollar $how,” a group exhibition in which the public is invited to create artworks on the front side of a single one-dollar bill. Deadline for submissions is Aug. 15.

So, why in the world would Cohen visit Ivanhoe, which is in Bladen County near the Pender County border, and what does decorating dollar bills have to do with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? In 2012, in the wake of the 2010 Citizens United court decision, Cohen had the idea to stamp dollar bills with phrases like, “Not to be used for bribing politicians,” and then spend them, sending the dollars out to spread his message. The idea became a nonprofit called the Stamp Stampede, which according to has grown into a movement of “tens of thousands of people” trying to amend the constitution and get money out of politics.

About a year ago, Hause contacted Stamp Stampede regarding her own idea to host an art exhibition around the concept. Word got around to Cohen, who Hause said plans to fly down for the opening in October. In a video on, Cohen describes the act of stamping dollars as both subversive and cathartic.

“It’s like a little act of being grassroots radical,” Hause said. “A lot of us feel hopeless and despondent watching what’s going on in politics right now.”

Stamp Stampede and its lawyers say it’s legal to stamp and otherwise decorate dollar bills, and that illegal defacement only occurs when paper currency is no longer recognizable and has to be taken out of circulation. And while some of the submissions in “The Dollar $how” might not be recognizable from the front, they’re supposed to be unscathed on the back.

Are they still spendable? Hause isn’t sure. Once the show comes down, she plans on giving away some of her dollar artworks as tips.

So keep an eye out. This autumn, you might just be paid with an artistically enhanced dollar bill.

Facts – Got a dollar? Decorate a the front side of a single dollar bill to be displayed in “The Dollar $how,” a group exhibition organized by Ivanhoe-based artist Diane Hause. The not-so-strict deadline for submissions is Aug. 15. The show opens with a public reception Oct. 18. Mail to 2TEN HAUSTUDIO, 15930 N.C. 210 E in Ivanhoe. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of your dollar.

— Justin Lacy for
August 5, 2015

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