Whoa, lucky me! I recently interviewed printmaker and activist, Melanie Cervantes of Dignidad Rebelde. I see Melanie’s prints everywhere: at each protest or demonstration I attend, in the office of the grassroots organizations I volunteer with, in the collective households I visit. Melanie’s work is prolific and grounded in a belief that art belongs to the people and is a powerful tool for organizing the masses into action. She is wise and humble and reminds me why I do what I do. You can read the interview at SFMOMA’s blog, Open Space.
Join Artists of the 99% for a panel & workshop: STRATEGIES FOR ARTISTS IN SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENTS
Join Artists of the 99% for a conversation and workshop about strategies for artists participating in social justice movements, including the international Occupy movement at Southern Exposure gallery. We will kick-start the discussion with a panel featuring: David Solnit (artist and activist, formerly of Art and Revolution), Jeff Chang (author of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation), Favianna Rodriguez (artist who, along with Jeff Chang, organized Culture Strike against Arizona’s SB1070 Immigration Law) and Zeph Fishlyn (of the Beehive Design Collective, making giant collaborative graphics for education and organizing).
After the panel, we will hold small-group discussions to workshop our own ideas and experiences with the goal of connecting artists to each other and strengthening our movements for social and economic justice. Please bring your own ideas and experiences. Let’s compare notes and share resources!
For more information or questions contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This venue is wheelchair accessible.
I’ve begun a series of interviews with artists and cultural workers whose practices are engaged with movements for social justice, including the recent Occupy Wall Street movement. These articles will be published every 2 weeks or so on SFMOMA’s Open Space blog.
Many of the artists I will interview are people whose practices I deeply admire. They challenge the false divisions between art and resistance and use their practice to address oppression with the potential to initiate dialogue around issues of race, class, sexism, feminist and queer issues, and more. The first interview is with Sara Powell of Kaleidoscope Free Speech Zone and was written in effort to make visible her current struggle against eviction in the Mission District. You can read it here.
Kaleidoscope Art and Free Speech Zone was started in 2009 by Sara Powell, an artist and activist. It is a community space that opens its doors to all artists and art forms – from poetry readings to punk shows to visual art exhibitions. For the past 6 months, Sara has been facing illegal eviction of Kaleidoscope (which is also her living space) by an awful landlord who refuses to make basic repairs on the building and is trying to force her out through the Ellis Act.
This is an awesome opportunity for us to show our support of Sara and Kaleidoscope Arts and speak out against unjust housing policies and a climate in San Francisco that makes it nearly impossible to survive as a low-income person and community-based artist.
We will be “occupying” Kaleidoscope and the sidewalk in front, complete with signs and banners, teaching folks how to crochet and knit and passing out our zine, raising awareness and visibility about Sara’s impending eviction and these issues. Feel free to bring other mobile art projects, food, free give aways and whatever else feels fitting. And tell your friends!
The Artist Bloc No. 1 zine is in circulation! This publication takes up the question of whether or not art is labor and considers the contribution of artists to the current Occupy Movement and social justice movements, in general. It features contributions from Christian L. Frock, Joseph del Pesco, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Mary Christmas, Elizabeth Sims, Adrienne Skye Roberts, The Beehive Collective, Welly Fletcher, Morgan R. Levy, Hannah Gustavvson, Paulina M. Nowicka, Zeph Fishlyn, Leslie Dryer and the Art Worker’s Coalition. Design and layout by Paulina M. Nowicka.
You can check it out online here. Read, print, copy, and re-distribute!
Over the past month I have witnessed and participated in the local contingent of now-global movement known as Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Together. The goal of this nonviolent movement, fueled by people in 1,497 cities throughout the world, is to challenge capitalism by protesting major banks, corporations, and the top 1% of people who benefit from our country’s current economic system. Through taking over public space, consensus-based general assemblies, demonstrations, direct actions, workshops, teach-ins, defense against police brutality and collaborations local with grassroots organizations and various unions, this movement is full of energy, complications, and has the potential to get people talking about systemic oppression and building together to create some real change.
As an artist and one of the 99%, I keep coming back to the questions: what is the place of artists in this movement and what can we learn here?
Consider this a call to action! Let’s talk about our role in this movement. How we are already making our voices heard and how can we put our creative efforts towards this movement? As the inequities of capitalism are exposed, how might we, as artists, reconsider our reliance upon this economic system? How is the financial sustainability and livelihood of artists in the Bay Area connected to larger movements for economic justice that have been fought here for years?
If you are a visual or other artist interested in engaging in conversation, action, and/or education around these issues and putting efforts towards building an artist contingent of the 99%, let’s talk! You can use the comment box below or email email@example.com