When President Trump took office on January 20, 2017, museums and cultural institutions across the country closed their doors in a collective act of non-compliance. Nearly one year into Trump’s official presidency, artists and cultural organizations around the United States will mark the anniversary of his inauguration with a series of readings, discussions, and workshops for an event they’re calling #ArtActionDay.
The event, set for January 20 2018, is being organized by a group called The Federation, founded by artist Laurie Anderson, television producer Laura Michalchyshyn, and author, actress, producer, and activist, Tanya Selvaratnam. The Federation was created following Trump’s controversial executive order temporarily banning citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and the Sudan from entering the United States.
“We, The Federation, are committed in this new reality to showing the power of the arts in activism,” reads The Federation’s website. “Born out of a reaction to the travel bans, The Federation was formed to keep cultural borders open and fight against the defunding of the arts. We are a collective of artists, arts organizations, and allies committed to showing how art unites us.”
Early next year, The Federation will execute an event series in collaboration with well-known names such as Glenn Ligon, Mara Hoffman, and Anicka Yi, alongside the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Film Forum, PEN America, New York Live Arts, TUMBLR, The Kitchen, and For Freedoms—a political action committee founded by artists Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas—among a long list of additional participants.
“We will use our platforms and our voices to represent that art is essential to democracy,” explains The Federation. “We decided on that day because this past January 20, arts institutions were encouraged to close their doors in protest of the inauguration. A terrible idea! Never tell artists to be silent. On January 20, we want artists to be more loud and visible than ever. We’ve created this Art Action Day Toolkit for people everywhere to take the ball and run with it. Will you join us?”
Visit The Federation’s website for downloadable Art Action Day Toolkit, and more information about how and where to participate.