Who: Decoy, rvltn, Favianna Rodriguez, Owel, Whys, Strike, Civil51 What: Unique activist art opening When: Friday, June 11, 5 PM - 7 PM, "Art in Crisis" opening reception (Note that original opening event was postponed due to electricity outage.) Where: Busboys & Poets, 5th & K St NW, Washington DC
Washington DC - Every revolution has its art. In DC, the local artists who create the city’s signs, banners, graffiti, and other radical art are being showcased at a unique art show organized by the Rivera Project, an organization working to bridge the gaps between art and activism.
If you've been to a protest in DC, you've likely seen the edgy images of Cesar Maxit of rvltn Design or Favianna Rodriquez of Oakland, California. If you've sauntered down U Street lately, you've walked past the graffiti of Decoy, whose art supports DC statehood and immigrant rights. These are the type of artists whose work will appear at the show at Busboys & Poets on 5th & K St NW. All of the artists will be present at the opening, except for Cesar Maxit and Favianna Rodriquez, who are in Arizona to voice opposition to the state's new unjust immigration law.
"Revolutionary art is central to social transformation," said David Thurston, Founder of the Rivera Project. "This show will bring the energy and politics of street art into a critical social justice venue. The Rivera project is a new non-profit dedicated to the fusion of art and social justice."
"Over the past several years I've come to feel that collaborating with artists keeps me alive," said Thurston, who has planned dozens of immigrant rights rallies and has been a card-carrying social justice activist for years. "Integrating art into protest often communicates messages that words themselves can't."
“Street art has a strong tradition of political engagement and social advocacy. It’s such a democratized form of communication,” said Cesar Maxit of rvltn Design, an artist in the show whose work often appears on posters pasted up all over the streets of DC. Maxit gave a talk with noted political artist Favianna Rodriguez this past Sunday at the show to discuss how art and activism impact their lives.
“My art was really just an extension of my activism,” said Maxit, discussing how he made the transition from a nonviolence trainer at the Ruckus Society to a popular political artist in DC. “I just realized that my art can be as powerful as organizing a big protest.”
A portion of the proceeds from art sales will benefit the Washington Peace Center, the National Day Labor Organizing Network, the Wayside Center for Popular Education, Center for Economic Research and Social Change, and CASA de Maryland.
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The Rivera Project helps fuse art and activism. It is an innovative organization with two priorities: Providing institutional support for socially-conscious artists; and providing resources to social justice organizations interested in integrating art into actions and campaigns.