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Join us as we use our creative powers to fight for racial justice! Below we’ve collected a few ideas inspired by contemporary artists and activists on how you can use art to spread messages of resistance, unity, and hope.

Step 1:

Choose your message. How will you support and affirm that Black Lives Matter? How can you support racial justice in your community? How will you stand for love, compassion, and equity? Craft a message that will inspire and move others to action.

Step 2:

Decide how you will express it.

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Chalk it.

Boston-based social justice organization Wee the People recently partnered with MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships and the Philly Children’s Movement to host Wee Chalk the Walk: A Family Day of Action for Black Lives. They invited kids and grownups to use chalk and create bold, beautiful messages on sidewalks to share with all who would walk by.

Head outside and chalk your message. What do you want to say to help make the world a better place for all?


 

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From Wee The People’s Wee Chalk the Walk: A Family Day of Action for Black Lives event on May 31, 2020.

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Wear it.

Nick Cave’s Soundsuit (2009) is a sculptural garment meant to be worn and activated with sound and movement. Responding to the ways Black people are often judged by the color of their skin, Cave created Soundsuits to act like protective armour. Incredibly detailed and decorated, they show us how wearing your art can be a powerful action.

Wear your message for all to see. Recycle old fabrics and clothes to create a patch. Draw or write your message with fabric markers. Create a stencil to help apply your message.

*Kids! Be sure to get permission from an adult before using any clothes for art making!*
 

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Zine it.

We recently highlighted a zine making activity inspired by Ellen Gallagher’s Deluxe (2004-05). Using paper, text, and images, zines are essentially small paper pamphlets that are easy to copy and share.

Turn your message into a zine by collaging different 2D materials and text. Share your zine to spread your message.
 

Ellen Gallagher, DeLuxe, 2004-2005

Ellen Gallagher, DeLuxe, 2004-2005. Photogravure, etching, aquatint, and drypoints with lithography, screenprint, embossing, tattoo-machine engraving, laser cutting, and chine collé; and additions of Plasticine, paper collage, enamel, varnish, gouache, pencil, oil, polymer, watercolor, pomade, velvet, glitter, crystals, foil paper, gold leaf, toy eyeballs, and imitation ice cubes, Sixty parts, each: 13 ½ × 10 ½ in. (34.3 × 26.7 cm), Overall: 84 × 176 in. (213.4 × 447 cm). Gift of Barbara Lee, The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth and Gagosian. © Ellen Gallagher and Two Palms Press

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Display it.

Kerry James Marshall’s work shows just how powerful words can be. Create a sign using paper and drawing tools that shows off your message. Will you decorate your sign? Will it be colorful? How will you make your sign stand out?

Display your sign in your window to help spread encouragement and hope in your neighborhood!
 

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled, 1998

Kerry James Marshall, Untitled, 1998. Ceramic, Five parts, each (diameter): 12 ¼ inches (31.1 cm). Gift of The Dale A. Roberts Collection. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York/London/Hong Kong. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. © Kerry James Marshall

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Write it.

Write a poem that expresses your message. Write from your experiences. Write about the change you want to see in the world. Write about how you will help bring that change.

Looking for inspiration? Check out this recent poem by Boston Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla inspired by her quarantine experience. Inspiration can be found even while staying at home. 

 

 

 

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Talk about it.

Find creative ways to think and talk about race with your family and friends through art. We especially like Nina Chanel Abney’s Art Wall installation. Abney often creates large, colorful murals that explore race and identity. Her artwork has been described as “easy to swallow, hard to digest.” Look at her work together. Share what you see. What feels familiar? What stories feel new? What can you learn from this artist and their art?

*Whether you’re looking at art, watching TV, or reading a book, make sure that the information you are consuming and sharing is accurate and helps to create a productive conversation.*
 

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Nina Chanel Abney, installation view (detail), the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2019. Courtesy of Nina Chanel Abney Studio. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. © Nina Chanel Abney

Step 3:

Continue creating for justice! The fight for justice doesn’t stop here. Make and share your art. Talk to your friends and family. There are many ways to support the cause.