Art as Activism!

By Cheryn Vigil, Aesthetic Activist

 Receiving an opportunity to use art as activism on MLK day, was the perfect time to demonstrate who the Aesthetic Activists are at the Environmental Center. After hearing word about an opening to talk about how art is used to bring change, I felt the sudden urge to sign up. To honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fort Lewis College holds many activities throughout the day to educate the people on making a difference. It is a time to come together to support the need for change.

Where do I start? Well, it could start with gaining a little background knowledge on artists who used their art as activism during the Civil Rights Movement. Artists such as Barbara Jones Hogu, left me inspired. Will was my co-worker, who was more than happy to help with running a workshop. As we threw down some ideas, the main challenge was, “what kind of art project could we do to engage the people?” Sitting in the office, I looked around for some ideas and there it was. The Environmental Center has a mural on the windows that say, “What Do You Stand For?” That was the question we had been searching for. The activity would be to use one word on what it is that you stand for, write it down, and then draw it. Participants were given, markers, colored pencils, and paper.  For some, the word came easily, but for others, they struggled in finding the perfect word.

We spent the next two hours, walking around, asking questions, laughing, and enjoying what people created. Some pieces included words such as, love, integrity, depth, stories, experience, and oneness. The most interesting part was hearing why they chose that word. Some people told a personal story and others gave a little lesson about the importance of their word. Everybody struggles from time to time, but too often we forget that there still is so much hope and love on this planet.

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