by D. Hadja Barry (ARTE volunteer)
The Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC) held its inaugural Arts in Action Festival at the Manhattan School of Music. The consolidated, community-organized event focused on art education and various justice issues in our communities.
The festival took place on July 24, 2022, and Art Resistance through Education (ARTE) accepted an invitation to participate in the many exhibitions the day had to offer. ARTE commenced the day with a successful tabling that shared valuable tips on how to incorporate art within the realms of activism. Among the materials ARTE shared were zines about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), ARTE stickers, ARTE pins, one-pagers focusing on the groundworks of ARTE, and one-pagers sharing information on Pride Month. A sheet was also available for people to sign up for ARTE’s mailing list.
ARTE additionally created an activity named “Five Words For Artivism,” in which festival spectators engaged in a taboo-like game. Players had ten seconds to write five words that conveyed what artivism meant to them without using words such as justice, love, or peace. The activity's objective was to provide a place of empowerment for communities to express their ideal relationship between arts and activism. Participants were able to share several words, creating a fruitful outcome for this portion of ARTE’s tabling.
Members of ARTE additionally spoke on the Youth Visions Panel, having a prominent discussion with other young artivists on the current realm of youth activism. Elizabeth Asemota and Sarah Rim represented ARTE as youth panelists, sharing their outlooks on youth civic engagement. The youth panelists’ accounts of creating art, building community, and fighting for injustices during the COVID-19 pandemic displayed the bright, resilient, and creative vision that the youth continue to embody. The moderator and audience could empathize with the youth's experiences, creating a champion demonstration of community through stimulating conversation.
The Arts in Action Festival authenticated a safe space for ARTE and other art, justice, and education-based organizations to identify with each other’s values while battling together against ongoing injustices.