Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Art that did Good


I want to tell you all about an exhibit that I'm working to develop with the Sonoma County Museum.  My inspiration for it came from a longing to recognize the contribution that a group of teenagers and their mentors at Evolution Art Institute made many years ago when a summer of energy resulted in dozens of struggling nonprofits receiving silk-screened t-shirts which promoted their causes.  It was a small part of a public employment program called CETA, and quite a few of the students pursued careers as artists.  For years, I wore the t-shirt that was made for the agency I ran in Cotati (KAIROS), and I would often see the t-shirts made for the other agencies.  In the history of social activism in Sonoma County, I thought this artistic effort deserved recognition.

But there is no history of the contributions by Sonoma County artists to social activism.  Earlier this year, I mentioned to a fellow board member my interest in getting old colleagues to see if we could dig those t-shirts out of the bottom of their dressers.  I imagined a clothes line full of organizational t-shirts promoting social activism.    My friend mentioned it to the Museum Director, and he contacted me.  It seems that he was also thinking of an exhibit celebrating the history of art in social activism.

Let's set some ground rules.  Artists in Sonoma County have long supported social activism by donating their work to raise operating money at fundraisers.  There's too many of those to include in the exhibit.  How about we narrow the entries to "artistry which motivated us to engage in works of social good"?  I want all of you to think back over Sonoma County's recent history (let's say 50 years), and come up with examples for the exhibit.  Contact me at or call t 546-5771 if you have ideas for me to pursue.

Gregory Fearon

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