Artivism: Arts for a Cause

Wikipedia writes that “Artivism” is a blended word combining art and activism. It takes roots, or branches, off of a 1997 gathering between Chicano artists from East Los Angeles and the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. ARTivism is also a diverse group of 2020 artists committed to sustained social advocacy through digital activism. They use virtual performances to raise money for charitable causes, such as this evening’s livestream performance on environmental justice. Part performing arts, part philanthropy, and part culture commentator and curator, the broadcast on the evening of the Biden/Harris Presidential win announcement supports the California Environmental Justice Alliance.

The Alliance builds the power of communities across California to create policies to alleviate poverty and pollution. Many wonderful artists donate their time, energy, and dedication to the cause and concert events. Tonight’s free access program included animated watercolor artistry, a haunting live violin solo, a poetry reading from Maya Angelou, a free-association commentary on the meaning of environmental justice linked to social justice, and a group discussion by seven youth in the under 30ish crowd. A violin duet performance of Silent Moon‘s dissonant chords was flawlessly rendered. Original poetry from a Californian temporarily taking refuge in Arizona was a refreshing reminder to spend more time outdoors. The program closed with an accomplished trombone and piano duet, seemingly surreal in the absence of a grand symphonic hall.

The young Artivism team spoke about the importance of the word “meaningful” in terms of targeting policy and people that will benefit the most by environmental change. An awareness of more population diversity will help those making changes to be more aware of impacts. A cry for more empathy among regulators and legislators, as well as within big corporations, is seen as a critical component for fighting against destructive policies. The group also spoke of greenwashing, the trend to adopt low-impact and popular environmental changes, without true eco-centric systemic changes (such as found within fast fashion).

Being environmentally conscious can exclude certain economies, especially in clothing where eco-fabrics can be more expensive than ready-wear or disposable items. Researching who companies are and what they stand for is seen as an important piece to understanding the environment puzzle, where consciousness can change with empowered knowledge. Eating less meat is viewed as a way to eliminate food chain middlemen, in favor of direct plant to human consumption. Access to food and food suppliers is a more complex component of whole health eating and clean water drinking, and one’s location to resources is viewed as potentially life-changing.

If you like what ARTivism is doing and want to see more exclusive content, please consider subscribing to thier patreon, your support enables the group to continue the important work they are so passionate about.

Artivism’s Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/join/artivism_afac?

To donate to the California Environmental Justice Alliance or Venmo @ARTivism to directly support the artists OR as an alternative way of supporting the charity (please specify which in the comments).

Shauna Lee Lange of Sacrosanct.Gallery exhibits and writes about the intersection of art and environment, especially environmental art, eco art, climate art, and art of the natural sciences. She resides in coastal southwest Florida in a small home by the sea where she draws and reads.