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Steve Lambert’s frank 2020 talk

This 10 minute talk from frank2020 tells about one of our favorite projects at the Center for Artistic Activism and how we worked with the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce to win campaigns in South Africa.

In February the Center for Artistic Activism headed to the 2020 frank Gathering hosted by the Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida. We hosted a short workshop and Steve Lambert presented in their block on anger.

Alumni, Ishtar Lakhani, profiled in Maverick Citizen

Center for Artistic Activism alumni and workshop instructor, Ishtar Lakhani, was profiled in the Maverick Citizen. Ishtar is based in South Africa and after participating in our 2015 training, has worked alongside the Center for Artistic Activism on several actions and trainings in the country. We love working together and are happy to see her recognized for her remarkable work.

Ishtar Lakhani: An activist working to create the world of our dreams

by Biénne Huisman in the Maverick Citizen

As a ‘card-carrying feminist’, Ishtar Lakhani knows that women have shown for generations that there is a better way of existing – and it’s her aim to help make a kinder, more compassionate world.

“I’m a human rights defender,” says Ishtar Lakhani. “What’s your superpower?” For the past year, Lakhani, 35, has worked as a “freelance troublemaker” associated with social justice projects around the world. 

“It’s about approaching very serious human rights problems, and brainstorming unusual ways to get at them,” she says. “For example, we’re working with an organisation in Australia to create a real lifetime machine, so that people can go in and experience what it was like in Australia in the 1920s. What does that mean for women’s rights, and where are we now? And where do we need to go? In Venezuela we’re working with a bunch of lawyers who want to create a food truck, in order to go out into communities and give legal advice.” 

We’re Funding Creative U.S. Election Projects

We are excited to announce the Center for Artistic Activism is supporting projects that uniquely address urgent and specific voter suppression problems in the United States. Creative, ambitious, strategic, risk-taking projects will be funded up to $10,000 each. Initial short proposals are due Sept 2nd at 11:59pm EDT.

The Unstoppable Voters Project

The Center for Artistic Activism’s Unstoppable Voters Project will fund campaigns addressing major voter suppression problems such as:

  1. Lack of poll workers. Historically, poll workers are retirees, a population now at higher risk for COVID infection. Lack of workers results in long lines.
  2. Barriers to voting by mail. Lack of education on the logistics of voting during COVID as well as misinformation, disinformation that can depress voting. 
  3. Outright voter suppression tactics, especially targeting communities of color and other underrepresented groups. Removing populations from voter rolls, rejected absentee applications, and closing polling locations.
  4. Preparing people for what happens after voting. Polling indicates half the country may not trust the election outcome for various reasons. Lawsuits, challenges, contested elections, and lots of tension are expected.

Of course, those who benefit from voter suppression want to keep these challenges in place. To combat them, The Unstoppable Voters Project will support artistic and creative projects that aim to:

  1. Keep polling places staffed and open.
  2. Ensure that people understand how to effectively vote by mail, drop-off, or in person.
  3. Empower people to confidently vote down-ballot in local elections
  4. Ensure that people know that voting is relevant to the issues that motivated so many people on the streets in the past months (and years)
  5. Monitor election boards and hold them accountable, so they can’t, for example, quietly close polls in communities of color.
  6. Cultivate engagement, fun, humor, joy, and community around voting and elections.
  7. Prepare people for the unknowns that will come after November.

The focus of proposals should be on states with a history of voter suppression and which are of special interest in this election, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin.

Amazing and accomplished groups are working in these areas. We invite you to utilize, build upon, and support their efforts within your proposal.

866-Our-Vote is a coalition providing solid voter education in the face of mis- and disinformation. This resource could use amplification.

Black Voices Change Lives, the NAACP organized effort to help get black people to the polls

VoteSave America has some good resources, especially about poll workers.

Fair Fight tracks voter intimidation, ensures ballot access, voter counting, and registration.

The ACLU’s Voter Suppression infographics summarize the complexity of these issues.

Alliance for Youth Action is engaging the (all important) youth vote in key states.

Power to the Polls focuses on pollworker recruitment and amplification of the recruiting effort.

These groups could use help getting their critical messages to people in creative ways.

For example, Power to the Polls is going to start online briefings for people who want to become poll workers, and are interested in ways to make those briefings more entertaining.

Dedicated voter rights organizations have experience and expertise in the field. Your proposal should not duplicate their efforts. Instead aim to support or augment their strategies using artistic activism methods that may be outside their scope or seem to risky given where these established organizations have committed their resources.

The Center for Artistic Activism has connections to some of these groups. If your project intersects with their goals, we may be able to connect you with them. However, as these groups are working close to capacity plan your project to be successful independently.


We’re accepting initial letters of interest until Sept 2nd at 11:59pm EDT. These are brief sketches of your idea – so don’t worry if you haven’t worked out all the details yet – we know this is a quick turnaround!

By around Sept 6th, we’ll let you know if you’re a finalist, and we’ll ask some more specific questions and help to flesh some things out with you.

Final decisions on the The Unstoppable Voters Project should be made by Sept 10th, and projects should be starting by Sept 12th.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: By what criteria will you be judging Unstoppable Voters Project proposals?
  • Are you building upon the existing work of voter rights groups, adding something creative, innovative, and useful?
  • Is it risk-taking, innovative, and creative?
  • Is it likely to have an impact on voter suppression?
  • Does it do more than “raise awareness,” meaning, the project has strong potential to change people’s behavior?
  • Does it align with real needs in communities most impacted by voter suppression?
  • Does it empower and create community? Does it welcome people to participate?
  • Can it be repeated and amplified by other grass-roots groups?
  • Is it risk-taking, ambitious, innovative, creative? Is it funny, weird or borderline impossible?
  • AND, is it actually possible, in the timeframe and budget?
Question: My project is about increasing voter turnout but not specifically combating voter suppression. Does it qualify?

There’s definitely some overlap between those things, but this support is focused on combating voter suppression especially where marginalized people are presented with barriers to voting. The goal is to increase voter turnout overall, but the focus is on places where voter suppression is a problem. For more on this, see ACLU or FairFight.

Question: Will Center for Artistic Activism staff be helping me manage and realize this proposal?

No, design a project you will manage. Center for Artistic Activism will distribute grants and coordinate some of the communications between grantees and organizations, but this will be your project which you are responsible for. We’re happy to consult and advise when and where we can.

Question: What if I don’t live in a swing state or a state with critical voter suppression problems?

If you don’t live in a key state, you can still come up with a project idea. In your proposal consider partnering with other artists and activists living in those states, or include budget in your project for local organizers, or connect with voting groups working in those states, or find a way your project can operate remotely in some way. 

Can my project advocate for a particular candidate or party?

No. That is not the focus of this project. Also, we are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and any grants we distribute absolutely may not advocate for a candidate or a bill.

Application Details

Please be brief. Around 1.5 to 2 pages please. You can alternatively submit your answers with a video, no longer than 4 minutes. Answer all these prompts if you can. (We understand this is a tight timeline and we’re just looking for the most promising ideas. Not having an answer to all of these will NOT disqualify you).

  • Describe the project and give it a name.
  • Which of the above listed objectives are you aiming for, and how does this project move closer to them?
  • Where will it take place?
  • How can you connect with local community groups working on voting issues? How can you align with or have connection to a local or national voting rights organization or other group that is advocating for the same things?
  • How is the project open and participatory?
  • Can it be repeated and amplified by other grassroots groups?
  • How is it risk-taking, ambitious, innovative, creative?
  • What help or input do you need before you get started?
  • Describe what would happen if the project is wildy successful. What will come next?
  • Would you be willing to merge with or collaborate with another project or group working on similar aims or methods?
  • Roughly how much money will you need to pull it off? Average support will be between $3,000 and $10,000. What kinds of things will you need to spend on? (We believe strongly in compensating people’s time). You can break it down into $500 and $1000 chunks.
  • Your name and email.

Send your answers in a text document (PDF is great) or a video to [email protected] before Sept 2nd at 11:59pm EDT. You can include sketches or a mockup of your project if you’d like.

If you have questions, let us know.

We’re hiring a Campaign Manager

Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 is hiring a Campaign Manager for Fall/Winter 2020 . A detailed description and application are on the site.

We’re looking for the right candidate and you can help. If you know someone who would be a good match, please pass the application along!

The Campaign Manager will work closely with the Center for Artistic Activism directors as well as international leadership from Universities Allied for Essential Medicines on fighting to ensure safe, effective COVID treatments, testing, and vaccines are affordable and accessible around the world.

Apply for Free the Vaccine for COVID-19: Season 2

We’re back for another round! Join us in fighting pharmaceutical monopolies to make publicly-funded COVID treatment and testing affordably priced, free at the point-of-delivery and accessible around the world!

Applications closed

Apply by filling out this form by Sept 1st 11:59pm EDT.

Returning collective members, please fill out the above form also!

More details on below.

First, What is Free the Vaccine for COVID-19?

Our campaign aims to ensure that publicly-funded diagnostic tools, treatment, and the COVID-19 vaccine will be sustainably priced, available to all and free at the point-of-delivery. We are finding new ways to achieve this through leveraging creativity, culture, as well as tried and tested organizing and activism in our Advocacy Innovation Lab. 

We are a global collective with hundreds of members from dozens of countries. We meet regularly and plan and execute creative campaigns. We have already completed one 16 week round of organizing and actions with our focus on the over $11 billion of public funds already invested in pharmaceutical R&D at universities for COVID-19. Changing the way these universities patent and license their research is a critical lever that can prevent pharmaceutical monopolies and increase access to life-saving medicines across the globe.

Find more information, past projects, and more at

Jonas Salk
We take our inspiration from virologist Jonas Salk, the creator of the polio vaccine. Salk refused to patent or profit off his work.

What’s involved?

Think of a book club – small groups of smart people sharing a common interest. In this case, our focus is changing the way the biomedical research and development (R&D) system and the we research and deliver medicines. And we don’t just talk about it over tea, we are taking action. As a member of the collective, you’ll be in a small “Salk Squad,” named after virologist, Jonas Salk, who refused to patent or profit off his polio vaccine. Squads are supported throughout the process with training and structures to learn artistic activism, and the history and theory behind the access to medicines movement.

What’s it like?

You will meet people all over the world who are working so COVID tests, treatments and vaccines are affordable and accessible to everyone, everywhere. A lofty goal we know but an important one. You’ll meet online to hatch plans, access videos and other training materials, and put together your own plan based on the skills and interests of your team. The whole experience is about learning new skills, getting things done, and having fun with an amazing community of people.

Who are we looking for?

We come from all sorts of backgrounds – some with no experience with these issues, some with lots. There are creative people, and people who don’t think of themselves as creative when they start. We’ve had pharmacists, dancers, front-line  workers, graphic designers, hollywood hairstylists, and students. There are adults of all ages, and from all over the world. All of them did great work.

We’re especially focusing recruitment for Season 2 on these universities and regions:

  • In the U.S.: DC, NYC, Pittsburgh, southern California (Universities of California), Georgia, Tennessee (Vanderbilt), Seattle, University of Indiana.
  • In Canada:Montreal (McGill), and British Colombia.
  • Also, South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, UK, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany.

But if you don’t see your location or university listed, please do apply anyway. We need passionate people from everywhere.

What will you get out of it?

  1. Training and skills from the Center for Artistic Activism in using culture and creativity to create real change. These methods you’ll use for the rest of your life when you want to make things happen.
  2. Play a role in ensuring that publicly-funded medicines are accessible and affordable, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
  3. Learning about how the current system we use to research, develop and deliver our medicines works – from the economics, to the science, to day to day issues around caregiving – and how we can change it to center people and health-needs first
  4. A creative way to spend your time that makes a real difference
  5. New connections with people around the world who are as passionate and interesting as you.

How much time does it involve?

Around 4 hours a week. Like a book club, those hours are mostly flexible and on your timeline, in addition to one or two short, entertaining (we’ve been told) group meetings a week where we learn, plan, and get things done.

“Free the vaccine has given me the hope, structure, and accountability I need to put my skills to use.”

“While we’re results driven, I also feel a genuine sense of team love and pride – something very hard to do virtually. (Kudos!)” 

“There was a real feeling of being connected to a large, engaged, creative, active network!”

“The meetings were the highlight of my week.”

What if I’m not sure I have that much time?

There are two ways to take part and join in this fun, important work.

  1. Join the campaign as a Lab Participant and be part of a team that creates and implements actions.
  2. Be a Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 Supporter

Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 Supporter


Lend a hand to the campaign a few hours a month. In order for us to be able to plan and accomplish our objectives, we ask our regular participants to commit to regular meetings and at least 4 hours per week. However, for those who can’t manage that but still want to contribute, the Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 newsletter provides weekly updates on the campaign, including weekly actions. The actions of the week could be:

  • calling your representative
  • constructing a DIY audio card and sending it to a university lab
  • posting to social media
  • giving graphic design feedback to a campaign visual
  • lending expertise on costume design.
  • wearing a costume in a (socially distanced) public performance
  • and more 

Supporters commit to around four hours a month lending a hand to the campaign and reporting back on the results on the site. 

Back to School with Earth Paints

Back to School (or home)!

Are you ready for the school year?

Natural Earth Paint offers natural, high-quality supplies that are safe for both the classroom and the home. Whether you’re a parent, a university student, an arts educator, or a life-long learner, we’ve got you covered. We’re offering discounts on our most popular kits as well as ideas for educational opportunities – 8 blog posts on the History of Earth Paint, from Prehistoric times through today!

10% Off Natural Earth Paint Kits

Start the school year off right with 10% off our Complete Eco-Friendly Oil Paint Kit and our Natural Earth Paint Kit for students of all ages! Just use code BackToSchool at checkout. Code expires September 8th.

Shop Now

Natural Earth Paint Kit Tutorial

Using our Natural Earth Paint Kit is as easy as ABC, 123! Just add water, mix, and get painting. For a tutorial on how to paint and play with our kid-friendly paint set, click the button below to watch our video!

Watch Tutorial

The History of Natural Pigments

Natural earth pigments have colored human history for thousands of years, so they provide a window into the past for learners young and old. Our History Page provides resources to help students learn about the Prehistoric Era, Ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, and more through the lens of natural pigments. It’s a great resource for teachers and parents alike!

History Page
Want to get creative with your favorite Natural Earth Paint pigments?

Check out the Recipes section of our website for innovative uses of our products for fine artists and families!

Have questions about our eco-friendly products?Visit our FAQ page or send us an email at [email protected]
Interested in purchasing from Natural Earth Paint? Visit our Website for more details on our high-quality, non-toxic, and eco-friendly products.

London Carnival to Free the Vaccine For COVID-19

Free the Vaccine participants and others staged a carnival in London to bring attention to the need for an affordable “People’s Vaccine” for COVID-19. Pink-headed coronavirus figures were protected by patents from the syringe-wielding vaccinators. The fantastic costumes and storytelling shone bright against a dreary London day, and news outlets from the Telegraph to the BBC picked up the story.

To learn more our Free the Vaccine campaign, check out

We’re looking for an in-house Printmaker

We are issuing an open call for an In-House Printer for a limited time in Fall 2020. The In-House Printer will be invited to be in residence at the Eureka! House in Kingston NY, to help produce materials for the Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign, and support get-out-the-vote efforts, with time to create their own work as well.

We need an In-House Printer for health equity and election advocacy.

We’re pleased to offer this opportunity to a print-maker who is talented and passionate about their craft, and wants to use it to help promote health equity and voting rights.

We’re looking for a specific combination of skills, so please read through and make sure you are a good match. If you have questions, get in touch.

The In-House Printer will be sponsored by Eureka! House, an artist residency, and Free the Vaccine for COVID-19, an advocacy campaign.

To apply, please send a cover letter. In it, please talk about your relevant experience and why you’re interested in this opportunity. Send to: [email protected] before August 24th 2020.

About Eureka! House

Eureka! House is a new artist residency and community space in a beautiful 18th century mansion in Kingston, NY. The residency supplies artists with welcoming spaces, studios, equipment, materials, food, and the opportunity to meet and share with other artists and activists (safely, in this time of physical distancing).

About Free the Vaccine

Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 is a campaign to ensure publicly-funded diagnostic tools, treatment, and the COVID-19 vaccine will be sustainably priced, available to all and free at the point-of-delivery. It is organized by two, collaborating nonprofits; the Center for Artistic Activism and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and is made up of dozens of volunteers around the world who are learning and experimenting with creative advocacy techniques:

Our volunteers begin with varying experience levels with art and activism. The In-House Printer will join the campaign, helping participants finalize designs for print materials that help further the advocacy goals of the campaign. The Printer will attend weekly online Free the Vaccine meetings, have weekly “office hours” with participants, work with participants to refine and print designs, and pack and ship prints to participants.

As the In-House Printer for this campaign we require someone who can remotely assist participants in executing their designs; pointing out possibilities they hadn’t considered and/or potential technical pitfalls before printing begins. Teaching experience is helpful. They will

  • execute print runs on the Eureka! House riso machine
  • ship prints for exhibitions as well as for wheat-pasting, street actions, and other interventions around the world
  • prepare/check prints before they’re submitted to other printers

The In-House Printer will also be invited to produce designs and prints to support get-out-the-vote efforts in the time leading up to November elections. Eureka! House staff will connect the printer with local voting rights advocacy groups that need printing assistance.


The In-House Printer opportunity is from Mid-September to mid-November, with at least one month physically at Eureka! House – timing is flexible within that 2-month period.

The In-House Printer will receive a stipend of $300 per week, a private room, and a shared kitchen stocked with food from local organic producers.

The In-House Printer will work with the Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign to prepare and print materials for 40% – 50% of their time, and will be invited to spend their other time on their own work and on election-related work as needed.

Safety and health are a top priority during COVID-19, and the spaces and experiences at Eureka! House are designed with this in mind. The Eureka! House is a very large building with many spaces inside and out, and there will be no more than a few artist residents at one time. All spaces are large, and can be arranged so that physically-distanced interactions only occur outdoors. Please get in touch with us if you’re concerned about this and would like to talk about the safety procedures.


At the Eureka! House, the Fellow will have full and almost exclusive access to the following printing equipment:

  • iMac Pro
  • Wacom Tablet
  • Epson Pro Photo Scanner
  • Riso SF9450
  • Toshiba Copier
  • Sterling DigiBinder
  • Triumph 4810-95 Electric Paper Cutter
  • RotoTrimmer
  • Large worktable
  • 3’x4’ Self-Healing Mat

There are also ceramics, woodworking, darkroom, painting and other equipment and tools that may be available. Access to other materials and equipment is entirely possible – let us know what you need.

Additionally, the participant will have access to the Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign including Center for Artistic Activism and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines workshop materials.

Who We’re Looking For

Ideal fellows will:

  • Have at least 3 years of printmaking experience, including on riso printers
  • Have experience setting up and maintaining printmaking spaces
  • Be interested in advocating for equal access to medicines and get-out-the-vote efforts
  • Excited about collaborating with advocacy organizations and having access to their expertise
  • Able to advise on others projects while balancing and respecting their creative independence and learning process
  • Have teaching and/or mentorship experience
  • Be able to work independently
  • Be interested in an artist residency live-in situation

We’re also open to multiple people working as a print collective.

To apply, please send a cover letter. In it, please talk about your relevant experience and why you’re interested in this opportunity.

Send to: [email protected] before August 24th 2020.

If you have questions or need more info, please ask!

Imagining America

The folks at Imagining America are putting out a call for submissions from artists and scholars around collective creative engagements in the U.S, in response to the COVID crisis.

They’re asking for people to suggest ideas around community meals and discussions, poems, stories, visual reflections for a quilt, and dialogues with people in other parts of the country.

Some of the questions they ask people to organize their responses around include:

What is the role of art, design, and creative culture in reimagining and rebuilding our world in ways that create antiracist institutions, structures, practices and ways of thinking?

How might we re-imagine our educational systems, and particularly our colleges and universities, in ways that divest from forms of violence and inequality and invest in cultures and communities of care within institutions and as stakeholders in regions?

What are local communities doing to move towards a more caring, just, and liberatory ‘America’ and world? What are the new and remembered ideas, images, symbols, forms of knowledge, and ways of being that will lead the way?

Call to Action: Proposed Funding Cuts for Oregon Arts & Culture

We are reaching out today to urgently ask you to advocate for Oregon’s cultural sector.

Next week on Monday, August 10th a special session has been called to rebalance the state’s budget due to the impacts of COVID-19. The session will include proposed General Fund cuts to the arts of over $300,000, and specific cuts to the Cultural Resource Economic Fund (CREF)/lottery funded capital projects over $300,000. These projects include several significant historic and present-day community treasures that have relied on state commitments and that enrich our state for the future.

We need our advocates and members to urge Oregon’s legislature to reject these proposed cuts before Monday, August 10th. Please TAKE ACTION today by emailing the Oregon legislature. The form on our website will send your message to the legislators within your district based on your address. 

Oregon’s arts, culture, heritage and humanities are critical to our recovery as people. We will need a strong and growing cultural sector that is understood as one of Oregon’s most important economic drivers of tourism and commerce.

Thank you for your attention and advocacy.

Dr. Nancy Golden
President, Board of Directors
Cultural Advocacy Coalition

Click the link below to log in and send your message: