|Greetings from the Arts & Democracy Project!
On our recent conference call highlighting arts and culture as part of the Occupy and 99% movements, Gan Golan described how: "Art provides a concrete vision for the future that we are fighting for, a bold form of action that no one thought was possible. We can make the possible seem possible and not just possible, but inevitable." He also illustrated how arts and culture create new identities of solidarity, make complex issues easier to understand, and facilitate broad participation. (Click on the link to hear more.) In this newsletter we are pleased to feature creative work that brings this power of arts and culture to life.
CREATIVE ACTIONS & ORGANIZING
Occupy Wall Street Arts & Culture Working Group
OWS Arts & Culture Working Group organized Occupy Halloween, a day of events that looked at how popular culture can be a gateway for mass public engagement in economic justice issues. Superheroes vs. Wall St. Showdown featured a team of working class heroes facing off against economic supervillains at Liberty Park and the New York Stock Exchange. Click here for the video. A second event called upon OWS as a whole to occupy the largest halloween parade in the country, which brought together over 500 participants with costumes, puppets, and banners in front of an audience of tens of thousands and the national media. Click here for the video.
Beyond May 12/Strong Economy for All
Beyond May 12 & Strong Economy for All worked with a coalition of labor, community groups, OWS protesters to organize the
November 17 National Day of Action for Jobs and Economic Justice. They continue to organize for public and private policies to benefit working, middle-class and low-income New Yorkers, and that make sure millionaires pay their fair share.
Not an Alternative
Not an Alternative is coordinating an "art build" and launching a series of projects and actions in collaboration with OWS members and local and national community groups on the front lines of the economic crisis. The mission of this hybrid arts collective is to affect popular understandings of events, symbols, and history.
Hip Hop Occupies
Hip Hop Occupies is a growing network of artists, activists, and cultural advocates from the Hip Hop grassroots who are educating, organizing, and agitating from Occupy actions all over the world. On November 18th Hip Hop Occupies and the POC Caucus of Occupy Seattle collaborated with over a dozen other local Hip Hop organizations, collectives, and businesses to organize Rise & Decolonize! Let's Get Free!, an urban arts-infused event that redefined protest and self-determination.
Roving Cabaret/Puppet Underground
On November 19th, Puppet Underground organized a roving cabaret that took audiences on a tour of Occupy K Street's encampment and the sites of other significant grassroots organizing history where various performances occured. The final show made connections to local organizing efforts around housing.
Auctioneer: Stop All The Sales Right Now!
Calling for an immediate moratorium on all foreclosures pending a real investigation into lending practices, a group of New York City housing justice activists disrupted the auction of several foreclosed Brooklyn properties with music and song. The video was produced by Housing is a Human Right with Organizing for Occupation.
PERFORMANCE & INSTALLATION PROJECTS
Remake THE LINE
At 8:13 am on Sept 1, 2004, thousands gathered along three miles of Broadway. Standing silently for eighteen minutes, they held in their hands pink slips representing the millions of unemployed who were being left behind. Artist Kristen Marting and collaborators are planning to remake The Line in mid-December 2011. This will be a long moving single file unemployment line of people holding pink slips over their heads - with powerful statistics on the slips, which will be handed out at the conclusion of the event. To get involved email: email@example.com.
The Civilians/Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy Wall Street
This cabaret performance of monologues and songs was crafted from interviews in The Civilians' unique style. The Civilians' artists talked to the 99% about the current demonstrations, our government, the economy, and the future. The research and interviews reveal the thought-provoking and unexpected, the infuriating and hilarious, the communal and the personal stories of the large and ongoing display of discontent that is Occupy Wall Street.
Music 4 Democracy and Climate Monologues Music 4 Democracy highlights music that is happening at Occupy sites including Sharon Abreu's selections from the Climate Monologues, featuring the stories of people affected by climate change.
SingPeace! is a network of singers and songweavers who are moved to use their talents to help create and spread a culture of peace.
MEDIA, WEBSITES & OTHER ON-LINE RESOURCE
Resources for Small Town Occupations
The Rural Organizing Project heard the call from human dignity groups and small town occupiers from across Oregon: people want tools and resources to make the most of this exciting moment. That's why they created Resources for Small Town Occupations, including tools developed for rural and small town communities to keep the Occupy movement vibrant.
CODEPINK has been participating at over 20 of the Occupy communities. They created Women Occupy in response to the need identified by women for both tools and connection. The website seeks to provide women across occupations with resources for creating safer spaces and feminist organizing.
Occupy Sound is presented by PopWork USA and Rebuild the Dream as an offering to the 99% who need a beat when they march or lyric to speak to their struggle or hopes. Compiled by PopWork USA Blog Editor Wyatt Closs, Occupy Sound Volume 1 includes a custom mash-up featuring Noam Chomsky and Pharrell. Volume 2 includes suggestions by online listeners and participants on the Rebuild the Dream website. The playlist ranges from Steve Earle to the Temptations, Black Flag to Phil Ochs, M.IA. to N.E.R.D. The third volume will be comprised of original music from new, emerging artists inspired by the Occupy movement. For those of you with original songs or recent songs inspired by OWS, send MP3s to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cartoonists have been on the scene sketching, reporting, and participating in the Occupy movement. Cartoon Movement has launched this series of sketchbooks featuring their work. The three installments thus far include sketches from Oakland, Chicago, New York, Miami, Boston and LA, with more installments to come.
Occupy Filmmakers is a collective and media hub for film and television professionals who support the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Occupy Design is a grassroots project connecting designers with on-the-ground demonstrators in the Occupy movement. Its goal is to create freely available visual tools around a common graphic language to unite the 99%. The project places an emphasis on producing infographics and icons to improve the communication of the movement's messages and the data surrounding them across the world.
Occupy Together has compiled posters graciously donated by graphic designers that are free to
download, print, and hang up to promote local efforts and build solidarity around the country.
"We, the undersigned writers and all who will join us, support Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement around the world." All signatories are invited to contribute responses to the Occupy Movement.
A community of musicians that agree with the statement "We, the undersigned musicians and all who will join us, support Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement around the world."
Occupy Art offers a space to view and share the visual side of the Occupy movement and open a general dialogue about the role art plays in social movements.
The San Francisco Bay Area has seen a surge of queer creative direct action involving reworked pop songs, dance, costumes and props to create an eye-catching, accessible, funny and relevant queer perspective on economic injustice. On Halloween the March of the Economic Undead to Billionaire's Row featured a giant pink pumpkin-on-wheels and coordinated song and dance.
As always, we're proud to highlight the great work in this field to support and cross-pollinate an extraordinary network of artists, cultural workers, policymakers, educators, and activists. Please be in touch, and let us know what you think!
All our best,
Amalia, Caron, Kathie, Javiera, and Yolanda
Arts & Democracy Project
OCCUPY CONFERENCE CALL RECORDINGS
Listen to Arts & Democracy's Project's recent conference call: OWS Arts, Culture, Media & Creative Action here.
Listen to MAG-Net's Digital Dialogue: Winning the Arts and Minds of the 99 Percent here (starting 12/5)
Fri,12/2 - Sat,12/3
Starting on 12/2 at 6PM at Duffy Square
OWS is organizing this 24-hour performance marathon at an undisclosed public /private plaza on Broadway. The event will be kicked off with a march on Friday 12/2 at 6PM starting at Duffy Square (near TKTS).
Occupy The Food System
Sunday 12/4 2-7PM
La Plaza Cultural Center & Zuccotti Park
Farmers, gardeners, food workers, food justice activists, and occupiers are coming together to resist corporate control of the food system and speak on ideas of local resilience and urban-rural solidarity.
Occupy Our Homes
Tuesday, 12/6 at 1 PM
The fight to reclaim democracy from the banks is growing from Wall Street to Main Street. OWS will join in solidarity with a Brooklyn community to liberate a foreclosed home. Foreclosure tour and march will end at undisclosed location for a house warming and block party for the family and their neighbors. Bring housewarming gifts and food to share. More information here.
OPEN CALLS & OPPORTUNITIES
Art Is My Occupation
This new project of the Culture Group will provide financial and other support to artists working with the occupations or as part of community organizing around economic justice in communities of color. Web site launches soon.
Wall Street Occupennial
The Wall Street Occupennial seeks creative activists to work with artists producing projects, performances, and actions within the Occupy movement. This call is also for artists who already have a project in mind, but need participants or help.
Hosting Occupy Wall Street
Hosting OWS aims to turn private New Yorkers into hosts for OWS activists during the upcoming winter and beyond. More than just a practical solution to shelter, it intends to assist OWS in broadening it's outreach towards the 99%, while empowering members of the public to become active participants in the movement. To get involved email: email@example.com
Occupy LA Arts:
Call to All Creatives flyer
Occupy LA Arts has put out an open call to all creatives to make flyers about what the Occupy Movement represents to you.
Can you draw? Occupy Portraits uses artists' skills to support the Occupy movement by making portraits of the occupants, documenting the range of participants and recording their messages. Send your art from your occupation: 72 dpi jpegs or a link to your web album to Sharon Rosenzweig at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHO WE ARE
The Arts & Democracy Project builds the momentum of a cultural movement that draws on a rich history of arts activism, social justice organizing, and grassroots engagement. Arts & Democracy is a sponsored project of State Voices.
Thank you to our funders, Nathan Cummings Foundation and Open Society Foundations.
The Arts & Democracy Project is nonpartisan. Views expressed in the work included in this newsletter are the opinions of the groups and individuals featured and not necessarily those of the Arts & Democracy Project.