Last weekend was an amazing time for the recognition of art activism. Starting with the inauguration on Friday, posters were distributed and accessible to download from activist artists like Shepard Fairey, spilling over to the women march around the world on saturday. The Amplifier Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of grassroots movements through art and community engagement, had two separate campaigns for that weekend. One was the We The People campaign, which was directly intended for the inauguration on Friday, while their Women’s March campaign was for the march on Saturday.
We The People was planned before, according to Cleo Barnett, the foundation’s program director, as Shepard Fairey along with artists Ernesto Yerena and Jessica Sabogal created in total 5 posters. The foundation raised money through a kickstarter and bought ads in The Washington Post and appeared “in the back of the main news section in the Friday edition of The Washington Post, while the foundation will also distribute placards bearing the images at Metro stops and from moving trucks and distribution points around the city. They will also make the images available for download for free on January 19th”, according to The Verge. What I think is fascinating about the campaign is each artist obviously has their own art style but they all gathered together for one movement. Each poster was intended “to give voice to the most vulnerable called out during the presidential election,” said Barnett.
On Saturday these same posters were recycled and re-represented at the Women’s March along with the 5 other posters available directly intended for the march, through the Women’s March campaign, created by the foundation in partnership with the Women’s March. They created an open call for art and received “5,000 submissions from women identified and non binary individuals across the nation in eight days,” said Barnett, who was one of the six judges with the responsibility to choose which posters would end up as the symbols for the Women’s March.
The artwork was available to download in high resolution from their website in order to arm those gathered and unite under one movement and in total 212,540 free graphics were downloaded, according to their website, but Barnett says that the campaigns are not over.
“There were a lot of people who weren’t represented in that series due to our time frame and budget,” Barnett said. “We will be having an exhibition on Thursday in Seattle, which we hope will become a national tour, called ‘Hear Our Voice‘ and will showcase a much larger array of the art submitted that we weren’t able to use.”