While people across the country marched last Saturday to support women’s rights and social justice issues, Atlanta’s own arts community had already rallied to fight the hateful rhetoric associated with President Trump.
On Thursday, Jan. 19, banners with themes of unity, love and empowerment were hung on buildings across the city. Messages such as “No matter how dim, continue to shine,” “Google: ‘The Golden Rule,’ thanks” and “Si se puede” were designed by artists.
Signs of Solidarity ATL was a collaboration of more than 30 artists and organizations. The effort was inspired by Signs of Solidarity Philadelphia, “an inauguration day public art protest in opposition to hate,” according to their website. While this idea originally involved displaying a couple of banners at private homes, it rapidly grew to be a city-wide project. The Atlanta arm produced their project in about three weeks.
Organizer Kristen Consuegra explained that “the goal of our project is to bring the community together and build the overall moral of the city. In light of recent events, we wanted to show Atlanta that we as a city do not put up with divisiveness and hate. We also wanted to encourage others to use their art and talents for proactive activism. We can all be a part of this fight against hate.”
The signs were scattered across various neighborhoods, including Edgewood, Inman Park, Castleburry Hill, South Downtown, Grant Park, Cabbagetown and East Atlanta Village. Despite the rainy weather over the weekend, signs remained on display through Sunday, Jan. 22.
Each sign had “#signsofsolidarityatl” on it, and the project was well documented on Instagram by many Atlantans, who were overwhelmingly supportive.
“It is a role for artists to give these glimpses of hope when the world right now is justifying so much hate,” Conseguera added. “Without that passion for activism and a cause, we would have never been able to produce what we did. …
“Some of the best art is political. Art is activism, and I feel we as artists have [an] obligation to forward messages of substance, … issues we as a community find ourselves dealing with.”
About half of the artists and arts organizations involved in the project were Forward Warrior, Peter Ferrari, Grant Henry, Fabian Williams, Mammal Gallery, Brian Egan, Murmur, William Mitchell, Dashboard US, Nikita Gale Karen Tauches, Arbitrary Living, Faatimah Stevens, Quianah Upton, Wussy Mag, Shannon Palumbo, Broad Street Visitor Center, Jared Pepper, Yoyo Ferro, Brooke Sprickman, Brandon English, Jessica Colvin, Hi-Lo Press, Dianna Settles, Yoon Nam, Priscilla Smith, Catherine Rush, Estela Semeco, Brutal Studio, Allie Bashuk, Danielle Brutto, Sara Santamaria, Barry Lee, Lynne Tanzer, Miya Bailey and Susannah Leigh Caviness.
Businesses supporting the cause by displaying the signs included 7 Stages Theater, Bon Ton, Vesta Movement, Elliot Street Pub, Mary’s EAV, Ria’s Bluebird, Octane Grant Park, City of Ink, Hi-Lo Press, Joe’s Coffee EAV, Mindzai Creative, Sister Louisa’s Church, Mother, Lotta Futta, The Soundtable and Joystick.
“Moreover, on the production side of things, none of this would have been possible without the help of Grant Henry, [owner of Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping-Pong Emporium,] who provided materials, and Notch 8 Gallery who opened their space to us to create and prep the banners,” Consuegra said.
When asked about future plans, Consuegra said that they “are planning to forward this project and hopefully continue to partner with our friends in Philadelphia, so you can definitely expect to see us again soon!”