Inspiring Our Community: How we engaged our neighbors using art and activism
Artisan’s Asylum hosts poster-making session to call the community to action
With elections just a few weeks away, Artisan’s Asylum is calling our community to action to get out and vote. On September 26, a sold-out group of more than 40 participants attended an outdoor poster-making session in our loading dock in Somerville. The guest artists, aged 6 months to 60 years, arrived in family groups every 15 minutes to produce custom screen prints with messages that Black Lives Matter and to vote in the November elections.
“Over and over, I keep looking at my neighbors and am completely surprised at how much people want to be more engaged and helpful,” explained Artisan’s member and screen printer Sarah Dudek. “Times are hard for everyone, with spouses out of work and others struggling with issues even more impactful. I wanted to come up with an event that would be affordable for everyone and give them some tools to get involved with social justice.”
Sarah gave a brief printmaking demonstration to each group and assisted participants in printing their final art. She said that participants overall “had a cheery attitude, since screen prints don’t always come out exactly as you might expect.”
Participants were able to print up to 5 copies of 3 custom illustrations Sarah created. Several visitors also brought blank t-shirts, and volunteers helped them silk-screen the same messages directly on the shirts. Sarah said participants planned to display their posters “in windows, in their cars, on telephone poles, or anywhere else they could to get the message out.” Others planned to give copies to friends as a way to safely encourage others to vote this election season.
Artisan’s Asylum also welcomed representatives from our newest business member, Uhuru Planet, to attend the event. Several members of Uhuru Planet are also members of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, an organization of white people created by and under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party with the task to organize in the white community for reparations to African people. Visitors stopped by their table to learn more about the movement, pick up a screen-printed t-shirt or donate to the cause.
The afternoon session was planned with COVID-19 safety in mind. Artisan’s Asylum is closely following guidelines set by the CDC and the State regarding COVID-19, so visitors were required to wear masks at all times and adhere to social distancing rules. Participants signed up for 15-minute slots throughout the day, which allowed each family or couple ample time in the printmaking stations to pull and dry their posters before the station was cleared and sanitized for the next group.
“A lot of people who came out had no experience with Artisan’s Asylum,” Sarah remarked. “I hope we can do more events like this to reach into a wider community.”
Artisan’s Asylum is committed to creating a more inclusive and just society and has taken actionable steps toward that goal within our organization. We encourage you to support us in this effort and hope you will join us in future activities that create a space of refuge for all. We invite our neighbors, friends, members, students and others to use your voice this November to advance causes that seek to uphold justice, equality and liberty for all.