Throughout history, artists have used poetry, painting, graphic art, music, and other creative efforts to spark civic conversations, inspire civic engagement, and promote civic ideals. Art can have a big impact on our civic life.
Take a look. . .
The Nasher Museum has collaborated with Duke Arts and Duke Healthto show Carrie Mae Weem's RESIST COVID/TAKE 6!, which emphasizes the disproportionate impact of the virus on the lives of communities of color, through banners, posters, street signs and more. Resist Covid/Take 6 is designed to provide you with factual scientific informatio. The goal of Resist Covid Take 6 is to create an artist driven public awareness campaign to educate Black, Brown and Native American communities on the impact of this deadly virus on their lives. Because of the higher number of deaths in these communities, the awareness campaign uses creative measures and projects to emphasize preventative steps that must be taken to ensure these community members’ safety.
Carrie Mae Weems is one of many visual artists throughout history who have adapted their art and skills to raise awareness about societal issues through the creation of posters, signs, banners, and campaigns. Take a look at some in this historical collection of PSA posters compile by the Nasher staff!
Poetry has also been used as a creative expression for civic ideals or as a call to civic action. April is National Poetry Month and a great time to explore poetry as civic expression. Amanda Gorman is the youngest US Poet Laureate and the youngest to read her work at an inauguration, but she descended from a long line of poets and songwriters who used their creativity as a form of civic engagement. Explore some of the historic US poets and the causes they championed in their work https://www.sutori.com/story/social-justice-poetry--z3seVY7hxHxFfAKQKcsBicZS
Do you think art is an effective way to communicate messages about important topics in our community? Why or why not?
Looking at the examples in this collection of PSAs which posters seem the most effective to you? Why?
How might a poster or sign reach people that other types of communication might miss? Give some examples.
Give an example of other types of PSA’s you have seen - on a TV show or video advertisement, on the radio, in a song, etc.
Why are the arts an important tool in civic engagement?
Consider also how we can engage more youth in using and seeing art as a tool of civic engagement:
Should Durham have a Youth Poet Laureate as many other cities are starting to do (see Youth in Action below)?
Where in our community are there spaces where young people can express their civic ideas and ideals in art? What other spaces can we create?
So...What Can We Do?
Create your own art piece with a civic call to action!
The Nasher Using RESIST COVID/TAKE 6! and the other examples provided as inspiration, create your own PSA poster for an issue important to you -- and get entered into a drawing for a bag of COVID/Take 6! art objects!
Step 1: Identify an issue or problem you want to bring more awareness to. Is it a problem that affects everyone in the world? Your city? Your neighborhood? Or is it a PSA just for your household?
Step 2: Come up with a “Call to Action” or slogan for your campaign. Do you want to remind people about the importance of recycling? Want your younger sibling to stop touching your stuff? Whatever your campaign focuses on, a clear and concise call to action can help communicate effectively and bring change.
Step 3: Create an image or graphic that helps reinforce your message. This can be a photograph, like in Carrie Mae Weems campaign, or a design created using any type of artistic media – paint, crayon, markers, etc.
Step 4: Combine the different elements to create a finished poster! Display your poster somewhere where people will see it and be inspired to take action!
Step 5: Share your artwork with Kids Voting Durham on our social media @kidsvotingdurham or by emailing it to email@example.com by April 31 and be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 5 fabulous swag bags of Carrie Mae Weem's Art!
Arab-Americans have contributed to our country since its founding and there are currently more than 3.5 million Arab-American US citizens. Join in the celebration by watching #ArabTikTok videos created for this month or follow #AAHM on Twitter.
Just like some of you celebrate the 100th day school by looking at all that you have learned, our country looks at what a President has done during his first 100 days in office. You can learn more about the first hundred days Presidential tradition with these iCivics handout and worksheets.
Talk to Us!
Let us know what civic skills you'd like to learn more about or what topics you'd like to see in this newsletter. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas!
Kids Voting Durham is looking for a volunteer to help put together and edit this newsletter each month as our current volunteer Allison Hansen has just gotten a new job (
Congratulations and thank you for all you did Allison!) Help other families get civically engaged!
Interested? Contact Carolyn Kreuger at 919-560-7321 or email@example.com