June 2017
Art Activism via Sculpture

Every year, the Vilcek Prize honors U.S. immigrants who have made lasting contributions to American society through their art and research. This year's prize in fine art goes to an artist born in Jamaica, Nari Ward. All of his work addresses the experiences of immigrants and issues relevant to communities of color. Listen to or read his story here.
Artivism Videos

In this TED Talk playlist, " Powerful Art Activism," nine different speakers discuss how their art is more than just visually appealing -- it makes a statement. Also watch SisterSong's Monica Simpson talk about her art activism at TEDxUNC here.
The Center for Artistic Activism is a place to explore, analyze, and strengthen connections between social activism and artistic practice. Creative activism  is more than just an innovative tactic, it is an entire approach: a perspective, a practice, a philosophy. Their goal is to make more creative activists and more effective artists. 

Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in place, community, tradition, or spirit. Based in the South, this organization calls for social and economic justice and is working to dismantle all forms of oppression -- everywhere.

The National Performance Network and Visual Artists Network (NPN/ VAN) seeks to provide risk-taking performing and visual artists with the resources needed to develop and tour new work, to ensure arts leaders have the skills and opportunities to be change-makers, and to influence cultural policy for more just and artist-centered practices.

Project Row Houses (PRH) is a community-based non-profit organization in Houston's northern Third Ward, one of the city's oldest African American neighborhoods. Its mission is to be the catalyst for community transformation through the celebration of art and African-American history and culture. The social role of art is central to its overall vision.
Since the U.S.'s most recent election, many of our lives have been a bit different, to say the least. Some people have been saddened, others angered, but a number of us have been empowered to become activists for social change. In this month of June we talk about a creative form of activism known as "artivism" -- or the use of art to make powerful social statements. 

Because other organizations can and have explained this topic in the most eloquent way, we borrow their words and invite you to visit their websites to learn more. The following is a brief explanation of what artistic activism is by The Center for Artistic Activism.

Artistic Activism Mobilizes Affect & Effect
"Artistic Activism is a dynamic practice combining the creative power of the arts to move us emotionally with the strategic planning of activism necessary to bring about social change.

"Art and activism do different work in the world. Activism, as the name implies, is the activity of challenging and changing power relations. There are many ways of doing activism and being an activist, but the common element is an activity targeted toward a discernible end. Simply put, the goal of activism is action to create an Effect.

"Art, on the other hand, tends not to have such a clear target. It's hard to say what art is for or against; its value often lies in providing us perspective and new ways to envision our world. Its effect is often subtle and hard to measure, and confusing or contradictory messages can be layered into the work. Good art always contains a surplus of meaning: something we can't quite describe or put our finger on, but moves us nonetheless. Its goal, if we can even use that word, is to stimulate a feeling, move us emotionally, or alter our perception. Art, equally simply stated, is an expression that generates Affect.

"At first glance these aims seem at odds with one another. Activism moves the material world, while Art moves the heart, body and soul. In fact, however, they are complimentary. Social change doesn't just happen, it happens because people decide to make change. As any seasoned activist can tell you, people just don't decide to change their mind and act accordingly, they are personally moved to do so by emotionally powerful stimuli. We're 
moved by affective experiences to do physical actions that result in concrete effects: Affect leads to Effect. We might think of this as Affective Effect, or perhaps, Effective Affect.
Or, combined in a new word, Æffect (pronounced Aye-fect).

" Artistic Activism is a practice aimed at generating Æffect: emotionally resonant experiences that lead to measurable shifts in power. "

Get Involved!
If you or someone you know is interested in making a statement using art, there are a number of resources available to help you get started or to expand your work. See the resources to the left to find local and national organizations that meet your creative needs.
New Blog Post!

In this blog, " Artists as Activists: Pursuing Social Justice," Amy Pleasant -- a figurative and abstract painter and writer from Seattle -- discusses some of the powerful works displayed in the 'Social Change: It Happens to One, It Happens to All' art exhibition. Each piece highlights the world's current challenges and is used to provoke, to voice, and to enlighten complex issues.

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