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New York, U.S.A. — Activists are taking to the streets of cities across the country to spread artwork with the message to Get Big Money Out of Politics in a massive “Artdrop.” The event signals the growing momentum of the movement, with more than a dozen major national groups coming together to raise the message above the din of the billions of dollars flooding into the 2012 election.
The effort is part of an image overhaul for this wonky issue. The makeover comes thanks to Shepard Fairey, Jesse Dylan and artists across the country who recently chose “Monopolistic” as the winner of a national competition designed to invigorate the issue. The “Artdrop” will spread Monopolistic and other new images created for the competition online and on the ground.
“This is about empowering people to take back control of their democracy, not from one party or another, but from the money that has concentrated political power in the hands of the few,” said Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the iconic “Hope” poster.
“Artdrop” actions include online image distribution and sharing, distributing stickers, wheat pasting posters, mud stencils and giant light projection on buildings. Teams consist of up to 25 volunteers; there are multiple teams in major cities. Locations include New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Austin, Albuquerque, Denver, Chicago, Madison, Saint Louis, Richmond, Connecticut, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Iowa City, Kansas City, North Dakota, New Jersey—and others.
“Eight out of ten Americans want campaign finance limits that would address our current system of legalized bribery. Movements need more than strong polling numbers to make change—art, culture and image play a huge role,” says unPAC co-founder Matt Palevsky. “Americans have overwhelmingly agreed about the problem of big money in politics—the unprecedented amounts of money in this election could be the tipping point for real action.”
Landon Wix, whose winning artwork “Monopolistic” will be the major focus of the “Artdrop, ” says Fairey was a big inspiration for his work. The Nashville native cares deeply about the issue of money in politics.
“Growing up in a working class family, I’ve always understood and appreciated the power of the people. Politicians are those who represent us and should be decided by us,” says Wix.
In the first presidential election since Citizens United, political spending has passed $2 billion dollars—much of that is outside money. 78 percent of outside money can be directly attributed to the effects of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed the formation of Super PACs and unlimited donations by corporations.
“People are frustrated by the way money has hijacked our democracy, and they often feel powerless to stop it,” says Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Art is a vehicle for expressing this frustration while at the same time serving to bring people together, inspiring the kind of collective action that can create real political change.”
Image Courtesy : Gage Skidmore