2020 Artists Dismantling Capitalism 

The 3rd annual Symposium was held in Arcata in the Creamery District on February 23, 2019 and was a highly participatory effort to bring together artists, culture workers, social change agents and anyone and everyone who knows that we can collectively create a society that is loving, compassionate, inclusive and beautiful.
Over 100 local artists and activists participated in the sessions that were offered.

Welcome/Introduction

Why do we do this symposium?
What is the role of the artist in social change?
Why Dismantle Capitalism?
What is a Solidarity Economy?
How do we transition from an Extractive/Capitalist Economy to a Regenerative/Solidarity Economy?

Drag: Liberation through Performance

Crystifer Rose and Platinum Cosmo are Humboldt County based drag entertainers, each with distinctive and fresh viewpoints on the modern drag experience. Through visual expression and performance, drag is an undertaking which encompasses a plethora of skills and creative opportunities. What does, and could, drag provide for our world on all levels, from individuals, to communities, to culture?

Art, Electoral Politics and Solidarity Economics

Leslie Castellano, Shombe Jones and Caroline Griffith will talk about art as an act of subversion and as a conduit for creating “world(s)”. Art is a language and a practice for imagining and then creating what is possible.

WICA (Women in Collaborative Arts)

A local group of women film professionals and artists, whose goal is to bring the talents of a rural population to a global audience, will discuss the issues facing women in a male-dominated industry, and how to navigate these obstacles.

An Introduction to Capitalism: What is it and What Else is Possible?

HSU Business Professor Kate Lancaster and David Cobb of Cooperation Humboldt will co-facilitate this session to explore the formal definition of capitalism, and will lead a participatory process to help us to imagine other economic systems.

Decolonizing Perspectives: How people use work and art to shift perspectives away from colonial capitalism

Ali Meders-Knight (Mechoopda), Mel Figueroa, Samantha Williams-Gray (Tlingit), Brittany Britton (Hupa), Max Brotman, Zuzka Sabata

Hip Hop Scholastics

Kwame Braxton and Sarah Peters - In this arts integrated workshop, you’ll get a comprehensive overview of Hip Hop History, followed by a hands-on experience of Dr. Itoco Garcia’s “Critical Hip Hop Interactive Learning” protocol. This workshop is for Educators, Leaders, and Learners of all ages.
In the Absence of the Sacred: Capitalism and the commodification of the Self (Sarah Hart HSU Religious Studies, Rev. Lynn Hubbard Grace Good Shepherd)

Art & Spirituality

Sarah Ray (HSU Religious Studies professor) and Rev. Lynn Hubbard (Minister at Grace Good Shepard Church) will facilitate an exploration of how art and spirituality shape culture, and the role they play in helping to create social change.

Liberated Creative Spaces

Homes, autonomous zones, minds, garages, gardens, billboards…Fancyland, a local queer land project that hosts art/activist retreats and group events, takes us on a sampler plate journey of liberated spaces and strategies to get us inspired as well as recognizing the radical nature of existing projects around us. Small group work will generate & test the principles that make a project “anti-capitalist”

Community Production Center

A Worker-Owned Artist Maker Space in Jackson, MS Kwame Braxton and Abrianni Perry of Cooperation Jackson will describe a working example the products they are making, the machines they use, and the trainings they are offering.

Designing a Society

Artists from the Creative Sanctuary will lead an activity where participants work together to develop statements that would be true in their ideal society. After discussion, groups will collaboratively perform their ideas. The goal is to investigate possible futures and find strategies to realize these possibilities in everyday life. Facilitators: Hazel Rickard, Katy Warner, Daniel Nickerson, Tayloranne Finch

The Art of Change

Shombe Jones from Cooperation Jackson and Johnathon DeSoto from cooperation Humboldt and Eureka Artist of the year; present a workshop about the gritty and dynamic nature of art and it’s ability to influence change. There will be a presentation and discussion. Followed by a hands on workshop, where you will make you own art using reclaimed wood.

Artists Hub with Cooperation Humboldt, Ink People, Trajectory

We will develop a cultural center in Downtown Eureka that includes artist housing, galleries, offices for arts organizations, art studios, makers’ spaces, performance and classroom spaces. Artists and culture bearers will be able to easily access systems that support them, opportunities to network with one another, and improved ability to earn a living wage. This project will address a multitude of needs expressed by local artists: affordable housing, makers’ spaces, dynamic galleries, organizational support, and access/visibility.

The Whiteness Within: Challenging White Supremacy Culture

Sarah Peters - This workshop will use story sharing, reflection and physical expression to give participants a chance to recognize and shift away from racism. While white people are the target audience for this workshop, we especially welcome any people of color who might feel called to observe and/or share their valuable perspectives.

Zuzka Sabata Presents and interactive children’s musical play about childhood sexual abuse for adults only. Bring a blankie and a snack. This is a relatively traditional theatrical play with original songs that includes some interactive elements which includes some interactive elements which the audience can choose whether or not to participate in. Have no fear, my dears.

Zine Making
Explore the power of the zine and how it can be used to share your artistic vision! In addition to an overview of the history of zines, we will discuss how, as a form of self publishing, zines can be used to spread ideas, build community, be vehicles for expression and creativity, and share stories otherwise ignored by mass media. After the discussion, we will provide materials for you to make your own zine!

"Imagining Land Reform" with the Imaginal Services Bureaux
In this hands-on workshop you will become empowered to overcome the failure of imagination that is current "land use planning" in the plutocratic capitalist system that is America. Using real estate listings as a starting point, discover that your imagination can do a better job of making the world we all deserve than rich property investors and the owning class. You will learn to understand the methods and techniques used by the dominant culture and retool them to create a vision of a better world! Be ready to design the Humboldt County of our dreams!

2019 Artists Dismantling Capitalism 

The 2nd annual Symposium was held in Arcata in the Creamery District on February 23, 2019 and was a highly participatory effort to bring together artists, culture workers, social change agents and anyone and everyone who knows that we can collectively create a society that is loving, compassionate, inclusive and beautiful.
Over 150 local artists and activists participated in the 10 sessions that were offered.
  • Group Shake: A Liberatory Physical Practice to Invigorate Any Body: We will shake together in a dance party atmosphere in order to wake up and enliven the senses. All bodies welcome. This practice originated from postmodern performance research as a methodology for accessing physicality and energetic movement across a broad spectrum.
  • The Big Picture: A short (but deep) dive into the inter-relatedness of patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism and white supremacy as a way to ground our time together. David Cobb
  • Collective art making outside of the Systems: Explore examples of collective art making that incubates artists to create without the pressures of mainstream dominant culture and capitalism. Sacha, founder of Fancyland, a queer land project and artist residency
  • Image Theatre: Compare the current economy built on extraction, exploitation, and enclosure to a solidarity economy based regeneration, cooperation, and ecological and social well-being by using theatre games and Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. Sarah Peters, James Peck, and Ruthi Engelke
  • Art & Politics: If the role of the artist is to make the resistance irresistible, then the role of the politician is to make it practical. Caroline Griffin, Leon Villagomez, David Cobb and Johnathon DeSoto.
  • Conversations about Power: Come think critically and collectively define terms of oppression. What does patriarchy mean? Let’s discuss toxic masculinity and internalized misogyny through words and imagery. Come build an expansive collage while we smash patriarchy one word at a time. Bianca Lago
  • Art & Spirituality: An exploration of how art and spirituality shape culture, and the role they play in helping to create social change. Facilitated by Rev. Lynne Hubbard, Pastor at Grace Good Shepherd Church in McKinleyville
  • Alternate Inhabitations: This workshop will begin with a brief outline and discussion of theories of embodied practice. We will then use contemporary and postmodern performance technique to create space for other way of being in body and with one another. Bring Costumes. Leslie Castellano
  • Win as Much as You Can: “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” - Plato
    In this workshop we will play a fun game based on asset building and friendly group interplay. A discussion will follow to reflect on the structures that define the way we conduct ourselves in the face of limited resources. James Peck
  • Arts & Radicalizing Education: Self-expression, problem solving, discernment and reflection: all these things are taught through the arts and ALL of these skills will be needed for the upcoming generation to tackle the problems they will face, especially the imagining of a post-capitalist existence. Dionna'
  • Be the Media: “Be The Media” Learn the theory and practice of using zines as persuasive propaganda to build solidarity for liberation and freedom. Aaron Steichen
  • Art & the Prison Industrial Complex: Dell'Arte faculty present the Pelican Bay Theatre Project and share an excerpt from a new play written by incarcerated writer John Purugganan. Zuzca Sabata
  • Any One of Us - Words from Women in Prison: a collection of stories from the raw voices of fierceness and honesty written by the original 15 women combined with writing from women in prisons across the nation moving forward toward healing, understanding, and change with the ultimate goal of using their writing and voices to impact policy, laws and treatment of incarcerated women. Vanessa Vrtiak and Caterina Kein
  • Artivism: Craftivism, activism through craft. SCRAP Humboldt director, Malia Matsumoto, leads a workshop that is a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger and your compassion deeper. All materials will be provided by SCRAP to get you started.

2018 Artists Dismantling Capitalism 

The first ADC on February 24, 2018 was a highly participatory symposium created in an effort to bring together artists, culture workers, social change agents and anyone who knows that we can collectively create a society that is loving, compassionate, inclusive and beautiful. The Symposium was inspired by the experience of Synapsis Incubator losing it’s space, coupled with the release of the City of Eureka’s Strategic Arts Plan for 2017-2022.

Over 100 local artists and activists participated in the 10 sessions that were offered.

  • The Big Picture: A short (but deep) dive into the inter-relatedness of patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism and white supremacy as a way to ground our time together.
  • Artists Union workshop: We will examine artist's experiences in the local market, determine what is needed to improve their conditions, and explore the possibility of creating some sort of union/cooperative.
  • Discussion of Women in the Arts, organizing many generations of local women in any and all disciplines in the arts in order to share experiences, discuss the significance of our roles and strategize for more successful representation and visibility in the local arts community.
  • Opportunities in Excess: An exploration of local excess and the opportunities they present to engage the circular economy and sustainability practices within art making.
  • Image Theatre: Understand the Pillars of Economy, and then apply those pillars to compare the current economy built on extraction, exploitation, and enclosure to a solidarity economy based regeneration, cooperation, and ecological and social well-being by using theatre games and Theatre of the Oppressed techniques.
  • Women of Color against Racism: Women of color talk about their experiences in Humboldt county.
  • Societies for Poetic Action: Discover what a local, politically, environmentally and civilly engage art collective is doing to affect their community and see how you can get involved or gain inspiration for your own practice.
  • Decoder ring not included: Our awareness of the ways different systems of oppression inform beauty defaults in fine art is a powerful tool in fight for equality. This fact-based, skill-building, decoder-ring style workshop! (Some assembly required.)
  • Artist critique of strategic arts plan: Policy affects, in very concrete ways, how art is perceived and funded. Deconstruct, discuss, help develop a critique of how Eureka’s “Strategic Arts Plan” affects our creative community.