Art+Action is coalition for civic participation across art, creative, community, business, technology, philanthropy, and government sectors. We believe art has the capacity to move people to action, deepen public discussions around civic agency, and serve as a vehicle to civic participation.
In 2019, Amy Kisch was commissioned by San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA) to develop an arts-driven campaign to mobilize communities around the 2020 Census. Understanding that the Census determines the distribution of federal money and political power across the U.S., Kisch, together with Amy Schoening and Brittany Ficken, formed Art+Action. Harnessing the power of over 40 artists—including Emory Douglas, Hung Liu, Lava Thomas, Stephanie Syjuco, Clare Rojas, George McCalman, Masako Miki, Joel Daniel Philips, Angela Hennessy, Innosanto Nagara, Miguel Arzabe, Anna Sergeeva, Leah Nichols, Andrew Li + Antionio Benajmin of Creativity Explored, For Freedoms, Sanctuary City Project, The Butterfly Effect, Ana Teresa Fernández, and Arleene Correa Valencia—a curatorial committee comprised of Candace Huey of re.riddle; curator Ashara Ekundayo; Micki Meng, Founder of Art & and Friends Indeed Gallery; Dorothy Santos, writer, curator, and artist; Christo Oropeza, Founder of Incline Gallery; Rozz Nash, Founder of The People’s Conservatory; Brittany Ficken, Art+Action Executive Producer + Project Director; Martin Strickland, YBCA’s Associate Director of Public Life; Sarah Cathers, YBCA’s Director of Public Life; Meklit Hadero, YBCA’s Chief of Program; and Isabel Yrigoyen, YBCA’s Curator of Performing Arts; 90 trusted community partners—including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) Art+Action's headquarters and a Lead Partner—and a host of creative collaborators, Art+Action launched COME TO YOUR CENSUS, a large-scale multilingual public media and programming campaign to galvanize communities, particularly those that are vulnerable and hardest to count, to claim their fair share of resources and political representation by participating in the 2020 Census.
Click HERE to download our plan. Although the movement started locally, the goal is to set off a national spark.
Public Media Campaign
Our COME TO YOUR CENSUS arts-driven public media campaign is a creative call to action that speaks to, and motivates, all communities to claim what’s theirs. Harnessing the power of both internationally-renowned and as-yet-unknown and youth artists who represent a myriad of communities, the campaign connects people to the Census on a human level, as an urgent act that benefits each of us, our families, communities, and cities as a whole. With a public presence on kiosks, transit shelters, billboards, and banners in different neighborhoods—and presented in the four official languages of San Francisco: English, Chinese, Spanish, and Tagalog—the campaign offers information about the impact of the 2020 Census on all our lives for the next ten years. Our online open-source toolkit offers elements of the campaign to be downloaded for print or utilized on social media—to support regional and national communities to galvanize their neighborhoods to take action.
WHAT ART+ACTION IS DOING ABOUT THE 2020 CENSUS
City-Wide Arts Takeover
Throughout 2020, our city-wide arts takeover—produced in collaboration with Art+Action’s Coalition Partners—activates local and international artists across disciplines to remove the barriers to Census participation in their communities by making the intangible tangible and speaking directly to the hearts and minds of all residents—through visual art, music, dance, film, and performance. Art+Action is providing these artists as many resources, and as much access and exposure as possible, so their work can be highly-visible and community-specific—while inviting all our communities to co-create with them. Artists participating in these events—which since the start of COVID-19, have gone online until it is once again safe to gather in community—are Sergio de La Torre + Chris Treggiari of Sanctuary City Project, Ana Teresa Fernández + Arleene Correa Valencia, Anna Sergeeva, Graffiti Camp for Girls, Jesus “Txutxo” Perez, Innosanto Nagara, Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, James Hosking, San Francisco drag queens Donna Personna and Olivia Hart, Angela Hennessy and Tahirah Rasheed of the See Black Women Collective, SF Urban Film Fest, Maria Paz, and The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful, among others.
Bring the Census to the People
Our Bring-the-Census-to-the-People initiative is our most future-forward tactic in ensuring that everyone has online access to participate. 2020 is the first year in Census history when everyone will be asked to complete the form online. Through collaboration with Art+Action’s Coalition Partners, we will establish Census Hubs throughout our city—offering laptops, tablets, and wifi access (and where possible, staffed with multilingual volunteers), so that we engage populations who are hardest to reach, and hard to count. Following COVID-19, Art+Action is working with it’s Coalition Partners to determine the safest ways to bring this technology into communities.
Open-to-All Digital + Physical Headquarters
Online at www.ComeToYourCensus.us, Art+Action invites local and national communities to learn, be inspired, contribute, act, convene, add their voice, promote, engage, volunteer, download from our Census Toolkit and yes, actually complete the 2020 Census through October 31. Currently, assets are available by participating artists including: Marcela Pardo Ariza, Miguel Arzabe, Andrew Li and Antonio Benjamin + Andrew Li of Creativity Explored, Emory Douglas, Angela Hennessy, Hung Liu, George McCalman, Masako Miki, Innosanto Nagara, Joel Daniel Philips, Clare Rojas, Stephanie Syjuco, Lava Thomas, See Black Women Collective (Angela Hennessy + Tahirah Rasheed), For Freedoms’ Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur (in collaboration with Eric Gottesman and Wyatt Gallery),
Sergio de La Torre + Chris Treggiari of Sanctuary City Project, Ana Teresa Fernández, Anna Sergeeva, Graffiti Camp for Girls, Innosanto Nagara, and Robert Saywitz, among others.
What was planned as an in-person art & civic experience, Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America? at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), is now online, and examines the issues around the 2020 Census and its direct impact on each individual living in America.
Reach out at hello(at)artandaction.us to learn more about being a part of the Art+Action Coalition as a Partner, Member, or Volunteer.