Art as Activism
When I presented the Stonewalled in Jerusalem installation for the first time, I saw how potent art can be in catalyzing discourse. How it can touch the viewer deeply and elicit heartfelt response. After four years with that project, I embarked on another issue, closer to home - immigration. And by the time I finished the American Women: Birds of im/migration series, I was staring at a Trump presidency. I felt myself returning to my youth, when protesting the Vietnam War and my deep concerns with issues of social justice were again my main focus. By the time of the Women’s March in 2017, I had been living in Santa Cruz for 45 years and had already transitioned from being a psychotherapist to becoming an exhibiting artist about 15 years earlier. I knew many local artists and understood what a great resource we as artists could be to the movement that was emerging.
Initially, I thought that we could support those who were mobilizing to protect and create sanctuary for the large and vulnerable Latinx community in our county. Myra Eastman, Betsy Anderson and I gathered 25 artists for an initial meeting and soon formed ARRT (Artists Respond and Resist Together), which has now grown to over 160 members. Over the course of the last four years we have indeed responded and resisted often and I have come to see myself as an arts activist. It would be inspiring to connect with others, as we learn together Art’s power to inform and to elicit change.