ARRT! works with progressive groups and organizations throughout Maine, providing images that can help to distill and clarify their important messages about issues that matter to people in Maine and the world beyond our borders.
ARRTists have been working hard and joyfully in 2023! Our community of activists continues to grow with new painters and organizations all the time. We treasure the connections, energy and creativity each new addition brings, while acknowledging the depth of experience we share with all the returning artists and dedicated groups who entrust us with their messages.
In January we completed a banner for the Maine Labor Climate Council which is is a growing coalition of public and private sector labor unions working together to address the twin crises of climate change and broader inequality in our state and beyond.
Below are the banners we have recently created for them and the Maine AFL-CIO, and some examples of how they have put them to use in meetings at the organizational level.
The banner we created in the Fall, Workers Rising, is also shown at their annual kickoff celebration dinner in March for the new A. Philip Randolph Institute chapter (the constituency group within the Maine AFL-CIO for members of color). They used the occasion to officially unveil the new banner.
Biddeford Community Gardens was looking for a colorful banner to be used at various community events. Their hope is that this banner will encourage people to get involved in one of their four community gardens where they collectively plant and grow vegetables and herbs, maintain the garden spaces, and harvest the bounty. They just celebrated their 5th anniversary! They are focused on fighting both food insecurity and social isolation along with community building and teaching about pollination and climate change.
LumenARRT! and ARRT! often team up on designing work for future projection events. This month the goal was to create interactive props and “selfie” frames for people on the street, which can also be projected on buildings, allowing them to share and promote the messages to friends and family.
In February ARRT! hosted a large lively group from the Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights, GRR! and ROE (Reproductive Options Exist) which is a campaign to get the truth out about anti-abortion centers more commonly known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
In March we had a full house at the lovely Historical Society in Bowdoinham, our generous hosts.
The organization Third Act is organizing a National Day of Action to stop dirty banks and the money pipeline to fossil fuels. Together we designed and painted two very large backdrops to be used for street theater performances portraying the different future options: the utopian image of what could be and the dystopian image of the horrific consequences of an unchecked system that puts profit over people and life. The group also created hand held placards depicting dollar signs that will be flipped over during the performance to show the possible positive outcome of flourishing birds, bees, butterflies, and flowers.
A banner was begun for and with the dedicated and passionate group working to Protect Ancient Forests. It will initially be displayed this spring during a concert to help educate people about the issue and encourage support for their mission.
Finally, ARRT! made a banner for the Wabanaki Alliance to graphically demonstrate the economic losses for Maine tribes and surrounding communities versus other tribes and their neighboring communities. It was painted to be displayed at the State of the Tribes address on 16 March in the House Chambers. The message states that there is “nowhere to go but up for Maine and Wabanaki Nations.”
We will be working on many projects and collaborations this spring starting on 2 April (the Sunrise Movement and Climate Action’s Earth Day Climate Strike in Portland, ERAMaine and Maine Women’s Lobby, and Vets for Peace at the April ARRT! session). The Artists’ Rapid Response Team (ARRT!) is a project of the Union of Maine Visual Artists. ARRT! is grateful for the support of the UMVA and a donor-advised fund of the Maine Community Foundation. UMVA members and others are always welcome to join in, and ARRT! is always on the lookout for organizations in need of our services. Check out our website.
Image at top: Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights banner.