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Utilizing the Arts for Community Activism. Jennifer Wilson State Program Coordinator Students Working Against Tobacco www.OKSWAT.com. Objectives. Identify at least 2 examples of how the arts have been used in other social justice movements.

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utilizing the arts for community activism

Utilizing the Arts for Community Activism

Jennifer Wilson

State Program Coordinator

Students Working Against Tobacco


  • Identify at least 2 examples of how the arts have been used in other social justice movements.
  • Name at least 3 ways local youth can utilize the arts for grassroots messaging.
the arts experience
The Arts Experience




Incorporated by Big Tobacco

Countering Big Tobacco

Universal Issues

Visual Arts





Disclaimer ~

Some of the images may be disturbing and politically charged. This presentation is for educational purposes only.


Visual Arts: Movement to abolish the death penalty

Abolish the Death Penalty, 2000 by Malaquias Montoya

Abou Ghraib, 2005 By Malaquias Montoya

Source: www.MalaquiasMontoya.com


Visual Arts: Chicano Movement

Death of Ruben Salazar, 1986 by Frank Romero

La Vista en las Nubes, 2000 by Antonio Rael

Source: www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/10307-antonio-raels-art-gallery www.romerostudios.net


Visual Arts: Chicano Movement

We are Not a Minority by Mario Torero

Pilgrim by Yolanda Lopez

Source: www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/pages/col_2000_114.html


Visual Arts: Chicano Movement

Cesar Chavez by Alfredo Arriguin

Sun Mad, 1982 by Esther Hernandez

Source: www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/pages/col_2000_114.html


Visual Arts: HIV/AIDS

All that Glitters, 1991 by Afrekka Jefferson

Power of Performance, 1997 by Afrekka Jefferson

Source: http://www.thebody.com/content/art45918.html


Visual Arts: HIV/AIDS

Africa Freedom Day by Judy Ann

Free Your Demons by Nancer LeMoins

Source: http://www.thebody.com/content/art45918.html



New Dance Group, 1932

Tito Puente

Focused on the Cuban Revolution

  • Midst of Great Depression
  • Dancers were all from the labor class
  • Brought political and social issues to the forefront

Source: ndg.org ebay



  • Revolutionary politics
  • EZLN
  • Cultural Imperialism
  • Corporate America
  • Oppression

Source: Ebay ratm.com



Federal Theater Project, 1935 Created by the New Deal government

El Teatro Campesino affiliated with the United Farm Workers

Source:pbs.org/now/arts/politicaltheater.html elteatrocampesino.com


Literature: The Civil Rights Movement

The Last Poets Affiliated with the Black Panther Party

Maya Angelou

Amiri Baraka

Source: www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/LAST-POETS/last_poets0.html amiribaraka.com wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_Angelou


Literature: The American Indian Movement

Raul R. Salinas

John Trudell

Source: www.raulrsalinas.com www.dickshovel.com/lsa13.html


Digital Expression Movement

Jenny Holzer, Guerilla Artist


Digital Expression Movement

Jenny Holzer, Guerilla Artist


Digital Expression Movement

Jenny Holzer, Guerilla Artist


Digital Expression Movement

Jenny Holzer, Guerilla Artist


Why Sponsor the Arts? Philip Morris Bates Proposal-1988

“PM takes advantage of public good will toward the arts by converting a cigarette pack into a piece of art. It responds to the social pressure against cigarettes by using packaging with universal interest and appeal.”

  • The PM concept, because of it’s visual arts positioning, provides strong opportunities in each of the key marketing areas.
  • Packaged in a variety of 10 different works of original commissioned art. Ten of the most important contemporary artists will be invited to submit designs.

“The art world has traditionally been an obvious place for trends in fashion and lifestyle. The news created by artist involvement in a new brand will immediately put the product in the hands of trendsetters and newsmakers.”

Source: Legacy Documents 2041116126


Why Sponsor the Arts? The Case of the “Imagine” Festival

“Through sponsorship of this event, Philip Morris will have an unprecedented window of opportunity to innovatively market itself through one of the most important, up and coming International Arts Festival!”

  • Four Key Areas of Interest for Philip Morris:
  • Political Leverage
  • Educational & Environmental Tie-In
  • Advance Promotions
  • On-Site Visibility & Promotions

Source: Legacy Documents 2042915757


Why Sponsor the Arts? The Case of the “Imagine” Festival

  • The Realization of Philip Morris Marketing Goals Utilizing the Imagine Festival:
  • Help Philip Morris to be perceived as a company that “gives” something back to its consumers and the community.
  • It will break through the clutter of the market place and cement Philip Morris brands with loyal consumer audiences.
  • Increase Philip Morris sales in the tri-state area.
  • “Grass roots” – based events and causes are “the place” to be for Corporate America in the 90’s.

Source: Legacy Documents 2042915757/65


Visual Arts: Industry Sponsorships


Abstraction in the Twentieth Century: Total Risk, Freedom, Disciplineis sponsored by Philip Morris Companies Inc.

February 9, 1996 - May 12, 1996

Vasily Kandinsky, 1912

Source: Legacy Documents 2044730275


Visual Arts: Industry Sponsorships

Source: Legacy Documents 2047916130


Dance/Music: Industry Sponsorships

Imagine ME Teaching Fred Astaire Appeared in the January 1950 editions of Comic Weekly, Metropolitan Sunday Newspaper, Independent Comics

Source: Legacy Documents 502473314


Dance/Music: Industry Sponsorships

September 16, 1994 Nashville, TN

Ray Bowers & Lisa September 1998

Source: Legacy Documents 502473314


Dance/Music: Industry Sponsorships

Health Advocates Protest Tobacco Sponsorship of Alicia Keys Concert in Indonesia

WASHINGTON, DC – International public health advocates are calling on U.S. singing star Alicia Keys to withdraw tobacco industry sponsorship of her July 31 concert in Jakarta, Indonesia, and are condemning tobacco giant Philip Morris International for sponsoring the concert as a way of marketing cigarettes to children.

The concert is being sponsored and heavily advertised by Philip Morris International and its Indonesian subsidiary Sampoerna.

Update:Alicia Keys snubs out cigarette branding from gig, Associated Press, August 1, 2008

Source: Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, July 24, 2008


Theater/Film: Industry Sponsorships

Clairesse Agnew, 1890 Actress

Jean Harlow, 1936 Carreras British Tobacco

Source: Ebay


Theater/Film: Industry Sponsorships

Source: Legacy Documents 503093889


Extra! Extra! News Flash!

“Big Tobacco” cuts arts funding in New York City

By Clare Hurley1 November 2007

Altria Group, the recently assumed name of Philip Morris Companies, announced this month that because of corporate restructuring, it would no longer be making its $7 million annual contribution to the arts in New York City.

Fatal funding: tobacco and the arts

OTTAWA  |  Sept. 26, 2003 — A small Ottawa orchestra is torn between its need for funding and the morality of taking money from the tobacco industry.

Source: New York Sun Capital News Online


Extra! Extra! News Flash!

Seattle arts scene has a sly new patron -- Big Tobacco

Tuesday, February 3, 2004 (excerpts below)

Considering Vain hair salon's punk/vegan image -- edgy with an undercurrent of good for you -- the smoking lounge comes as a surprise.

Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. paid for the smoking lounge as part of a subtle new ad campaign. It debuted in Seattle last year and is designed to win new friends for an old brand, Lucky Strike.

Not only that, teams of attractive young Seattle smokers are on Lucky's payroll, hanging out in bars and passing the word about Lucky-sponsored arts events. The teams don't pass out cigarettes, partly because companies are barred from that in King County and partly because that would be too direct for this kind of campaign, known as guerrilla advertising.

Vain, a hair salon with art gallery space. Vain has a deal with Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.: money for the salon's art programs in return for understated promotion of cigarettes.

Unlike Philip Morris, which used to sponsor the establishment's version of culture, Lucky Strike is going after alternative art and art-related venues that attract youths.

Source: SeattlePI.com


How YOUth can Counter the Tobacco Industry Using the Arts

Grant Union High School California

The TRUTH Wall Brighton Terrain Park, UT

Source: blog.rideutah.com/?p=37 Grant.k12.ca.us


How YOUth can Counter the Tobacco Industry Using the Arts

Project Girl

A Multimedia Exhibition & Guide to Un-Mediafying Your Life

  • Uses art as a means to reflect, express, and transform the way girls interpret and respond to popular media advertising and entertainment
  • Camp featuring art and media literacy
  • Art Openings

Respect Me by Kelly age 16

Body Tracing by Alexandria, age 14

Source: Intermediaarts.org


How YOUth can Counter the Tobacco Industry Using the Arts

Email Art: a contemporary art electronic exhibition

Every Monday for 6 weeks, subscribers will receive an e-mail from a different artist, selected from our preferred e-mail contributions received within the first 5 weeks from amongst the exhibition subscribers.

Subscription to the exhibition is free.

The exhibition is looking at issues such as the links between Mail Art and E-mail Art, the Internet as a medium for communicating art, the e-mail as an art product.

Source: National Theater, Royal Academy, and the Center of Attention, nostankyou.com


How YOUth can Counter the Tobacco Industry Using the Arts

Youth Theater y Algo Más

  • Program for youth ages 14-18
  • Explore issues that are important to them as individuals and as members of larger communities
  • Turn them into short plays (in English and Spanish) that may entice food for thought and a platform for dialogue.  
  • The program runs in the summer, fall and spring and meets once a week for three hours.

Source: Artforchange.org


How YOUth can Counter the Tobacco Industry Using the Arts

Digital Projects: Facing History and Ourselves

  • Digital legacies (testimonials)
  • 10-second films for cell phone transfer
  • Show how students confront the tobacco industry in their home community
  • Show how students challenged the social norm of tobacco use
  • Explore what it means to be a leader

Source: Communityarts.net


How YOUth can Counter the Tobacco Industry Using the Arts

Partnership with the Art Club

  • Safe environment for self expression
  • Opens communication channels
  • Builds teamwork and camaraderie
  • Shares thoughts and messages with the public
  • Helps move social norm change

Source: Communityarts.net


How YOUth can Counter the Tobacco Industry Using the Arts

How can you utilize the arts for YOUR community?

Open discussion

closing slide thank you
Closing SlideThank You!

Jennifer Wilson State Program Coordinator

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT)