Art can be its own form of protest, according to the organizers and participants of the INTO ACTION! arts and music festival in downtown L.A. This nine-day festival is described as a celebration of community power and cultural resistance.
“Programming and activations throughout the week will bring together artist and activists alike to build a creative community invested in justice; engage potent and talented culture creators; inspire hope into action; educate through panels, dialogues, and installations; define our shared values; and mobilize communities nationwide,” Yosi Sergant, Executive Producer of INTO ACTION! said in a press release.
The art gallery and daily programming are free and open to the public. Many installations are site-specific or, like the charcoal drawing by Lawrence Gipe, painstakingly recreated by hand. Gipe’s 24-hour drawing is done entirely in charcoal and features a hoodie-wearing figure from the 2015 Baltimore protests juxtaposed with a SAC bomber plane. He describes his work as a David and Goliath parallel.
Artist, Michele Pred created a glowing line of vintage handbags embroidered with electroluminescent wire bearing statements, such as Me Too, Pro Choice and Wonder Woman.
“I just felt that I needed to respond to everything that’s happening now with Trump,” Pred said. “There’s an immediacy about them.”
Program highlights include Bryan Stevenson & John Legend // Mass Incarceration + Unlocked Futures, the Church of the Resistance community music project as well as lectures by rapper and activist Chuck D. and co-chair of The Women’s March Carmen Perez.
Artists also host interactive art experiences. Ann Lewis created “Shattering” to help people cope with feelings of hopelessness associated with the current political climate. Participants are invited to write phrases on plates and then shatter them in a small, empty black room.
“It’s very rare that we get to be present with these emotions,” Lewis said. “‘Shattering’ can help them free up space to think more clearly.”
The festival includes visual art, workshops and panels on topics, such as Justice is a Human Right, Together We Rise, No Human is Illegal and No Human Should Feel Unsafe, This Moment – In History, Manifesting Solutions, and Love, Peace, and Empathy. The site also includes an empathy museum focusing on the immigrant experience, a pop-up merchandise shop and a low-impact cafe. The entire experience will be guided by a downloadable app that gives users immediate access to information about the topics explored in the exhibits.
INTO ACTION is the fifth iteration of “artivist” popup shows which started in 2008 with the Manifest Hope popup show. It will take place from Saturday, Jan.13-21 at 1726 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles. Visit www.into-action.us for an events calendar more information.