Greetings, supporters of the Center for Artistic Activism!

As we approach summertime, we’re reflecting on all that’s been made possible this year thanks to the generosity of our community. Whether you’re a long-time artistic activist or a passionate newcomer, explore the meaningful projects, partnerships, and research initiatives that have shaped our path this year. We’re very excited to share what we’ve been up to the last six months and what’s coming up on the horizon.

Our Art of Activism Learning Labs have been a tremendous success, with dozens of artists, educators, technologists, researchers, and activists worldwide learning new creative advocacy skills to address pressing social issues, from climate justice to LGBTQIA+ rights and more. These six-week online courses empower participants to develop their artistic activism processes, create local advocacy campaigns incorporating creative strategies, activate their communities, and build leadership skills.

We are helping Open Society Foundations train their staff to develop innovative and effective campaigns. These advocates work globally, from Tunisia to Indonesia, combating corruption, money laundering, and human rights abuses. Our facilitation experts have crafted custom trainings to help keep innovation, collaboration, and creativity at the forefront of these challenging campaigns, helping leaders involve local grantees and partners in ongoing, transformative change.

Opioid Justice Campaign: We’re mentoring groups that are making sure that Opioid settlement money gets distributed so that it helps the most in need in the drug epidemic in the U.S. Our team led online trainings with over 50 harm reduction advocates across the country, and is now guiding some of them to realize full-blown creative projects this summer.

LGBTQia+ rights in Uzbekistan: We’re training and mentoring activists fighting the draconian homophobic laws in Uzbekistan. These tireless folks are creating fantastic and funny interventions aimed at pressuring government and business interests, and protecting citizens and visitors,

Unstoppable Voters

We’ve been on a roll, supporting over 150 voting champions in their vital work. From nonprofit leaders to funders, policy entrepreneurs to educators, and even middle and high school students, we’ve helped them infuse creativity and innovation into a wide range of civic engagement campaigns. We’ve also been busy collaborating with organizations such as the Cypress Fund, Fandom Forward, the Center for Cultural Power, Cleveland VOTES, Avow: Unapologetic Abortion Advocacy, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Together, we’re amplifying the power of creative civic engagement!

The 2023 Unstoppable Voters Fellows and team learning from popular culture in Virginia Beach, VA.

Our 2023 Unstoppable Voters Fellowship has been a major highlight. We selected six exceptional leaders from a competitive open call, and they’ve been diving deep, starting with a comprehensive training retreat and continuing into realizing ambitious, impactful, pro-voter artistic activism projects.

Supporting New and Future Voters: Protecting the youth vote is one of our top priorities. We’ve joined the national Students Learn Students Vote Coalition and are working closely with partners on campuses in states including Wisconsin and Arizona to transform them into creative civic engagement hubs. Additionally, we held a training with middle and high school students in New York and it was a blast! We’re expanding our reach to inspire and empower more future voters. Together, we’ll create a better world for generations to come.

Making the Impossible Possible Convening: This month, from June 27th to the 29th,  we’ll be in Atlanta, bringing together over 40 exceptional leaders in civic engagement. In collaboration with Fair Count, The Bakery, Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition, Democrasexy, Arena, PA Youth Vote, and Just Act, we’re creating a vibrant space for learning from each other, inspiring each other, and brainstorming creative strategies to tackle the immense electoral challenges we face this year and in the years ahead.

Sharing Research and Resources: We’ve analyzed our work with hundreds of voting champions from the 2022 election season and distilled six key takeaways. Check out our valuable resources here and watch the event where we discussed our findings with inspiring civic engagement leaders here. We’re also working on a comprehensive step-by-step guide incorporating all we’ve learned through our pro-voter artistic activism work. Get ready to unlock your creativity and develop impactful campaigns like never before!

What’s in Store for the Rest of 2023?

Center for Artistic Activism Unstoppable Voters Logo

🌟Expanding Unstoppable Voters: We’re expanding the reach of our Unstoppable Voters program to campuses nationwide with Campus Engagement and Faculty Fellowships. Through our upcoming faculty fellows program, we’ll empower educators with resources to transform their campuses into vibrant centers of creative civic engagement. We’ll also be doing more to reach wider audiences through Creative Civic Engagement Public Events, where we’ll share inspiring stories, host engaging discussions, and ignite the passion within every changemaker. Finally, we will be getting ready to release our brand new Creative Campaigning Toolkits for advocacy organizations, full of the lessons we’ve learned over the past 14 years and resources like copies of our award-winning book, The Art of Activism: Your All-Purpose Guide to Making the Impossible Possible.

Teens parade to Philadelphia’s City Hall to cast their ballots at the March on the Ballot Box event, where they were cheered on by their peers. (Just Act & C4AA 2022)

🌟 Inspiring Students to Shape the Future: From the Civil Rights Movement to Parkland High, students have been at the forefront of social justice issues.  Recognizing the need for culturally relevant and creative education, over the years students and teachers have expressed to us a desire for accessible resources that can inspire and engage them to make positive changes in their communities. To meet this demand, we will be working on releasing Artistic Activism High School and College Curricula, helping students channel their drive to build a better world through the intersections of art, culture, and advocacy. 

Co-Lab Listening Session in New Orleans at Catapult (April 2023)

🌟Advancing Knowledge and Impact: Our new Artistic Activism Research Co-Lab is taking off with global researchers examining how activism works best and how lessons from art and culture can lead to long-term impact. In the next six months, we’ll be working on a range of projects, including the restructuring of A Blade of Grass based on their social practice principles. We’re also embarking on Mapping Artistic Activism Project (MAAP), a digital archive of individuals, collectives, and organizations engaged in the emerging field of artistic activism in different regions worldwide. 

🌟Mobilizing for the Planet: We’re collaborating with Greenpeace International to develop a massive global training program. Together, we’ll tackle critical issues surrounding fossil fuels and biodiversity. Get ready for innovative interventions that drive real change!

🌟 Empowering Diverse Artists: Our partnership with Public Assistants and Eureka! has given birth to the Divine Project. This initiative supports Black and POC LGBTQi+ artists from New York City, fostering social practice art forms that strengthen disenfranchised communities. Brace yourself for the extraordinary work of our first cohort of artists-in-residence this summer!

We can’t do what we do without YOU!

If you’d like to help support these exciting projects and further our mission, please consider making a donation to our Summer Fundraiser.

As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, we rely on the generosity of our community to keep us going. Make a fully tax-deductible donation today and together, we’ll create a world where art and activism collide to bring about lasting change.

With hope, joy, and gratitude, 

All of us here at C4AA