People have been asking me a lot over the last few months if I will be making a book, and now I can say yes, I will be! There will be an adult book and a kids book that talk about the ongoing immersive project, and provide people with an ideological toolkit they can use to benefit others. I’m very excited to be working with Bloomsbury to bring Subway Therapy to life in print. I started this project to help people feel less stress and connect with their community, and it is my hope that these books will inspire people to explore new pathways of expression and understanding.
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Check out the story on USA Today
BLOOMSBURY ACQUIRES SUBWAY THERAPY
Bloomsbury acquires North American rights to Subway Therapy, a deeply moving and inspiring collection of sticky note messages and images from the most expressive subway wall in the world, by the artist Matthew “Levee” Chavez
December 22, 2017 NEW YORK, NY—Nancy Miller, Editorial Director at Bloomsbury, has acquired at auction North American rights to Subway Therapy by artist Matthew “Levee” Chavez. The two-book deal grew out of Chavez’s ongoing immersive Subway Therapy project in the subway stations of New York City. Yfat Reiss Gendell at Foundry Literary + Media negotiated the deal.
Any given day New Yorkers are never short on opinions, and Matthew Chavez observed nine months ago that they wanted to write and they wanted to talk. Recognizing this, Chavez, a practiced listener, started “Subway Therapy”. Dressed in a brown suit, he brought a table and chairs on to the subway platform, and spoke with any person who was interested in conversation. After the 2016 presidential election, Chavez thought that people needed an outlet to communicate non-verbally. He showed up in the tunnel between the 14th Street 1/2/3 trains and the 6th Avenue L train with stacks of brightly colored sticky notes, pens, and his table and chairs. Chavez’s invitation to passersby to “express yourself” resulted in tens of thousands of New York subway commuters penning messages and sticking the colorful squares to the tiled walls in the underground walkway. A vast, vibrant, morphing mosaic of personal notes began to take shape—beautiful to behold, rich with personality and narrative subtext, cathartic and consoling—touching the lives of countless New Yorkers and inspiring people around the world.
Calling himself “Levee”—one who supports the city’s emotional tide—Chavez turned a communal underground maze into an ever-changing, ever-growing art space and with his encouragement, thousands have picked up the mantle to create spontaneous Subway Therapy walls in other stations, and now in other cities, including San Francisco, Oakland, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Says Chavez, “I’m very excited to be working with Bloomsbury to bring Subway Therapy to life in print. I started this project to help people feel less stress and connect with their community. It is my hope that these books will inspire people to explore new pathways of expression and understanding.” Chavez’s project has already inspired New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to partner with the New-York Historical Society to preserve a large section of the installation.
Capturing this experience of using art to promote peaceful expression and sharing the funny, moving, fierce missives leaping from the sticky notes, Subway Therapy, the first book in the deal, will be published in color in hardcover and eBook across North America in October 2017.
Matthew "Levee" Chavez is the creator of Subway Therapy, an ongoing immersive project in the subway stations of New York City. A believer in the therapeutic power of communication and providing people with an opportunity to engage, he has worked in the field of education in a variety of different roles, including at a magnet school for students with autism. Chavez is a natural-born listener—strangers have always talked to him on buses, trains, subways, planes and sidewalks. He lives in Brooklyn.