Now more than ever we need to support and learn from artists

Yesterday was a full stop for many of us who are actively fighting for a more just and equitable society. Fear, exclusion, and hate won big. Our country will change a lot in ways our community is actively fighting against.

Our work has never felt more urgent.

Now more than ever we need to support and learn from artists like our Fellows who are actively and directly engaging with communities to enact social change.

ABOG Fellowship artists are actively engaging in the creative use of power, asking questions about the world we live in with other people, shifting our perspective, and reframing our reality. They are doing so in a way that increases our capacity for wonder, hope, possibility, and love. They are proposing novel solutions, increasing sensitivity and cultural literacy, raising and expanding consciousness.

The ABOG Fellows for Socially Engaged Art are, as playwright Augusto Boal would say, enabling thousands of people to rehearse for the revolution. This is vital work because the revolution is happening. The problem with a Trump presidency is not that the people are powerless. The problem is what we, the electorate, did with our power.

Trump was soundly elected because he wasn’t an establishment candidate, and because he represented a necessary and radical change to many people. We learned in this election that social change does not have to be incremental or realistic, that the electorate can vote for a radical change, and that the will of the electorate will be respected by the establishment. Democracy worked.

The problem is that this radical change isn’t a change at all. It doubles down on an existing politics of exclusion and systemic oppression that hurts most of us, and that will keep us divided from one another.

Our culture failed.

Today both the opportunities and the responsibility we have as cultural workers are incredibly clear. Even as the electorate doubles down on racism, sexism, and xenophobia, we must double down on love, equity, interconnectedness, transparency, bravery, generosity, accountability, rigor, and beauty.

Join us. Together we can keep changing the cultural conversation and make real cultural change. We can keep supporting and learning from art that connects us with people who are very different from us, from all over the country and the world. Together we can keep listening, and loving.

Deborah Fisher
Executive Director

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