INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

It was more about my name, you know, BG183 that was the key. It was the message of me being out there like how a mayor is gonna run for mayor and he’d post his name everywhere.
— BG183, graffiti artist & member of Tats Cru

Why is it that it would be…left to an activist street culture to remember the people who died in hurricane Katrina?
— Dread Scott, Artist

How can art really influence politics, and…not just [be] a commentary about what’s happening with no level of influence other than awareness?
— Tania Bruguera, Artist

By valuing the arts I feel like you value..people’s opinions…across race, class because we all express ourselves and arts doesn’t see the color of one’s skin.
— Sharon De La Cruz, graffiti artist and program director of ACTION and WOMEN at The Point

You might not be an expert in political science…and you may not be a traditional and trained artist, but everyone has access to the same tools…where art comes form, which is imagining things…When it comes to imaging great ideas, that is…accessible to everyone.
— Jose Serrano-McClain, founder of Trust Art, community organizer at Queens Museum of Art

We’re not providing solutions…We’re providing the platform for people to talk about it, and hopefully we’ll all figure it out together.
— Kristen Svorka & Lana Zellner founders of Ground Up talking about their community art project Art not Arrests

The cups...aren’t trash to me, I’m turning them into art objects... I want people who come in here to think about that. What else in their life can they turn into art…that they would otherwise throw away or disregard?
— Gwyneth Leech, Artist

Instead of waiting for someone to give me money… or a space, you go outside and see what …resources you do have that are free and available.
— Shantell Martin, Artist

“We’ve always talked about comics and social justice…we thought about how that could reach beyond just the people who were Occupying. I think art and creativity…make organizing more effective.” -Terry Marshall of OccupyComix
— Terry Marshall, Artist & Organizer, OccupyComix

Places like The Point are really marking this area as a cultural destination.
— Carey Clark, Visual Arts Program Director at The Point

[The goal of the Landromat Project is to] champion this more political take on artists being at the center of their own spaces and being at the center of really important socially-relevant topics and resourcing them to impact their communities.
— Petrushka Bazin-Larsen, program director, The Laundromat project

If you ask [people]...to sit down and write a policy paper or go lobby or even knock on doors... you’re not playing to those people’s strengths ...[At] the school [we teach organizers to]... draw on people’s cultural richness, which they already have. So they’re not starting from zero. They’re ... starting from a skill set which they already know, they employ, and ... they enjoy.
— Stephen Duncombe, founder of the Center for Artistic Activism

Before [The Alley Project] there were many murders in a in a three-, four-month period. And what’s incredible about this particular project is that residents can see [crime] actually move away. This place, you can stand here and it feels … peaceful, and it’s because of TAP.
— Interview with Dan Pitera, advisor to the TAP Gallery, Associate Professor of Architecture, Director of Detroit Collaborative Design Center

It’s really [about using the youth art to] gain solidarity with [community organizations] and support all their work and their actions too.
— Jon Blount, Detroit Summer

My artwork became about process…not about trying to create a precious object.
— Ellie Balk

If you’re doing things for your community...if your community respects what you’re doing, [then] they’re willing to endorse or fund you.
— Caleb Aero, graffiti artist, founder of Aero Space

The Heidelberg Project is 26 years old this year. The community and government despised the project and parts of it were torn demolished, twice....[but] probably within the past 8 years we have begun to gain support.
— Amanda Sansoterra, assistant to artist Tyree Guyton

It’s a different way of understanding art. It’s not something you’re contemplating in an exhibition space, this is something that people can come and experience.
— Camilo Godoy, artist & intern at Immigrant Movement International

We take empty storefronts and make site specific exhibition.
— Naomi Hersson-Ringskog Executive Director of No Longer Empty

INTERVIEW FORMAT

All interviews were tailored to the interviewee’s answers and experience. The was this standard list of questions:

  • Name, age, self-described profession, background...

  • What motivates you to do this work?

  • How do you decide where to put up your work?

  • What type of goals do you set at the outset of a project?

  • How do you define success of your work?

  • How do you measure impact of your work?

  • Why are arts and activism an interesting combination to you/your work?

  • How important is participation from your community? (community defined depending on interviewee)

  • How do you outreach to _____ community?

  • Do you see your work as political? (What makes it political?)

  • How important is accessibility to your work?

  • Has your network expanded as a result of your work?

  • How do you fund your work?

  • Do you see your work as illegal? How do you get permission to do your work? (Depending on interviewee.)

  • Have you leveraged technology/the Internet in your work?

  • What inspires you?

  • How can people get involved? 

I prepared a second set having to do with the specific work, accomplishments, writing, etc. of the interviewee. 


ARTISTS

trascripts available upon request

AG-WF Artist Collective; Caleb Aero founder of Aerosal Art Parks and Graffiti Artist; Jen Abrams, Louise Ma, Carl Tashian, Rich Watts, and Caroline Woolard of OurGoods and TradeSchool; Garnett Alcindor of Candy Rush, Social Media for Kids, Franklin Ave merchants association; Doug Ashford founder of Group Material, professor, writer, artist; Archie Lee Coates and Jeff Franklin of PlayLab, inventors of plus pool; Petrushka Bazin Larsen of the Laundromat Project; Chloe Bass, artist, professor, Arts in Bushwick organizer; Ellie Balk, public artist, muralist; Dan Bejar, artist; Achille Bianchi, OmniCorp Detroit; BG183, member of Tats Cru; Jon Blount of Detroit Summer; Tania Bruguera artist, Immigrant Movement International; Carey Clark, visual arts director at The Point; Sharon De La Cruz, A.C.T.I.O.N. program director at the Point; Stephen Duncombe, professor at NYU’s Center for Artistic Activism; Tom Finkelpearl, executive director of the Queens Museum of Art; Camilo Godoy, intern at Immigrant Movement International and art student at the New School; Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, executive director of No Longer Empty; Edward Hillel, founder of the Harlem Bienalle; Remy Holwick, painter, muralist, and designer; Erik Howard founder of TAP gallery and Young Nation; Aurash Khawarzad of Do Tank Brooklyn; Gwyneth Leech, artist; artist collective Partizaning, Anton Polsky, Igor Ponosov, Sonya Polskaya, Shriya Malhotra; Cheryl McGinnis, curator at the Flatiron Prow Art Space; Shantell Martin, artist; Naomi Miller and Katarina Jerinic, founders of The Work Office; Terry Marshall, co-founder of Occupy Comix; Eve Mosher, environmentalist/activist artist; Dan Pitera, University of Detroit Mercy; Pebbles Russell and Jon Neville founders of Centre-Fuge street art gallery; Heidi Quante, 350.org arts coordinator; Rebeca Ramirez, from Heart of Brooklyn and Washington Ave Merchant Association; Amanda Sansoterra, Assistant to the artist Tyree Guyton at the Heidelberg Project, director of HP’s Emerging Artist Program and intern/volunteer coordinator; Michael Sclafani, of the Washington Ave Merchant Association; Dread Scott, artist; Jose Serrano-McClain, founder of Trust Art; Cameron Sinclair, Executive Director of Architecture for Humanity; Stacey Sheffy, VP Crow Hill Association; Mike Zuckerman , artist; Lana Zellner and Kristen Svorka, Art not Arrests.