Most mornings after I wake, I spend some time scrolling through my social feeds and often come across news stories from around the globe. Sometimes it can be overwhelming with the number of negative things happening in the world, especially this year. Spending more time at home and socially distancing from others adds an obstacle when it comes to activism and advocating for a better world. It’s not exactly easy to become a volunteer or set up a fundraising event with COVID-19 measures in place. Combining activism and art can be a great way to heal, improve mental health, and have your voice heard. Here are 6 ways you can actively and creatively make positive change on issues you feel passionately about.
Arts and crafts can be a great way to become an at-home activist. From needlework to cross-stitch, craftivism combines domestic arts and social empowerment. Campaigning on issues you care about doesn’t have to be tiring and aggressive, it can also be calming, reflective, and therapeutic. Craftivism is perfect for any level of skill and allows artists to engage with issues in a meaningful way.
Craftivist Collective is an inclusive group of people committed to being the change they want to see in the world. They offer project ideas, starter kits, and many tools to help get your craftivism out into the world.
Sticker Art and Buttons
Activist stickers, buttons and pins are a great way to raise awareness of current affairs, organizations and political movements. Creating stickers and making them accessible to the public is an effective and low-cost method allowing important messaging to spread far and wide. Stickers have a long history within street culture and often catch people by surprise. Creating buttons and pins can be a great form of self-expression when it comes to fighting for what you believe in.
Combining art and social justice, murals are incredible forms of work that are often eye-catching, thought-provoking and impactful. Creative artwork on a wall that is clearly visible to high levels of passers-by can be an opportunity to highlight an urgent need for dialogue, reflection and change on many issues. Reaching out to local companies and businesses in your area who have spare wall space, indoor or outdoor, can be a great starting point for creating your first mural.
Murals that Matter is a partnership between the P.A.I.N.T.S Institute and BID. The exhibition features murals that reflect on civil unrest and social justice protests. The artworks are on display until late November.
Street Art and Graffiti
Although illegal in some places, street art and graffiti often offer an outlet for many people who want to express themselves whilst joining a movement. Street art is seen by most as a powerful tool, especially for those feeling oppressed by society. If you’re looking for a less risky way to have your art activism seen, murals and wall art may be a safer option.
Banksy is an anonymous street artist and political activist. His street art is distinctive and often combines dark humour with graffiti. His work has been featured on street walls all around the world.
The combination of activism designs and clothing, t-shirts can make a bold statement when it comes to expressing your views. Designing T-shirts and selling them can also be a great way to not only spread important messaging but raise money for a charity or non-profit. Why not turn heads your way and encourage your friends and family to support your mission by designing and wearing activism shirts?
Prints, Wall Art and Postcards
Creating works of art that can be printed as a poster, framed on the wall or passed around as postcards can be a cost-effective way to convey messages of demonstration, desire and reform. Working towards a greater-good by promoting change through artwork will allow you to use your creativity and culture whilst powerfully bringing about social change.
The Center for Artistic Activism (C4aa) offers training, advising and resources for artistic activists. C4aa supports people who use their art to make effective change through current crises.
One piece of art, no matter how big or small, can start a conversation, bring a community together or be an outlet for healing and combating mental health. Even from your home, art doesn’t have to be an isolating solo project, you can become a part of a group or movement and seek social justice as a team.
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Photo: (I Dream of a Healthy Planet) Craftivism; (all rest) Anna Ashbarry