Spotlight: Department of Public Words

An installation we did with the NFL to commemorate the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

We recently spoke with Dave Combs of Peel Magazine about his other venture The Department of Public Words.

Who is behind the Department of Public Words?

It was founded by husband and wife team Dave and Holly Combs, but there are many people behind the Department of Public Words. Numerous people who have given their time, talents, and resources to help us spread public positivity are a huge part of it. None of what we do is possible without these people. We’re thankful for their support.
What is The Department of Public Words? 

Put simply, it’s “positive words empowering people”. Through both public art and public speaking we spread positive messages of hope, encouragement, and inspiration. We truly believe that we can change the world, and we’re completely serious about that. But if we change one person’s world it’s worth every bit of effort we put in.

Why did you create the Department of Public Words?

We do it because we love people. We started the Department of Public Words in order to be organized about showing this love for people through positive messages we believe the world needs to hear. It was originally sparked by working with Matthew Hoffman’s You Are Beautiful campaign back in 2007 to do the first YAB installation in our city. After that we were hooked on spreading public positivity and have been about it ever since.
How has the community reacted to your efforts so far?

The community is incredibly supportive as a whole. One quick story is that when we were out painting a positive message on a traffic signal box on a chilly day, a random person we’d never met brought us some hot chocolate to say thank you for what we were doing. It’s a small thing, but it’s really huge. Things like that make all the difference.
Where can people see more and get involved?

We have more information on our website at: and on Facebook at: If people want to sign up to volunteer we have a simple form they can fill out here: and people can sign up for our email list to get positivity in their inbox here:

Author: C. Priority

Painter / Curator / Slap Tagger GSWW Principal @ ladderandkey

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