Just left Providence last night after a week at Netroots Nation 2012, which I attended this year as an Artist-Activist-Cultural-Worker-Promoter-in-Residence.
I rolled deep to Providence with my crew to bring some much needed art and culture to one of the most important progressive gatherings in the country - Netroots Nation. They describe themselves as "a giant family reunion for the left." Every year, thousands of bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists come together to build, learn, train, share skills, and party. In the past, art and culture haven't been a huge part of this mix, but this year, the leadership recognized this gap and invited me to contribute in a huge way.
While I was there I spoke on three panels - including a panel on Inspiration, Agitation and Cultural Organizing - I organized an art exhibit, ran an art booth in the exhibitor space that featured not just my work but also art by other radical artists, and participated in a new event called Ignite where speakers would get to show 20 slides and talk for 20 seconds per slide (kinda like Pecha Kucha).
Overall, the conference was freaking amazing!! And my overall time in Providence was amazing. Here are some highlights.
Above: My friends, Gan Golan and Betsy Richards, and I kicked off NN12 by dressing up as superheroes from Gan's book, Unemployed Man. I am on the left dressed as Fantasma - the first undocumented superhero!
Above: Here is Julio Salgado, the most famous undocumented artist illustrator artivist on the planet! We had just finished up setting up our sales booth at the Netroots Nation Exhibitor Booth.
Above: We started out Thursday morning with a panel: Agitation & Inspiration: The Power of Art & Cultural Organizing, which you can see streamed here.
Above: Small Money vs. Super Pacs, a cool coin installation in the hallways of NN12 by my homie, Billy Wimsatt.
Above: It's kinda hard to see, but the posters hanging in the background are part of the art exhibit we set up, featuring art about Occupy and migrant justice.
Above: While walking through the streets of Providence, I ran into the folks who do these puppets - Big Nazo!
Above & Below: One of the things that's not so great about Netroots Nation is the fee required to get in - it's cost prohibitive for lots of folks. So Julio Salgado and I were asked to host a free workshop with local youth and organizers at New Urban Arts. Our poster workshop and artist talk was a hit!