Launched by ACT/ART and inspired by the 1968 civil rights “I AM A MAN” campaign, #IAMTHEMANY is a poster competition designed to assert the same crucial tenets: universal right to justice, humanity and freedom. The tradition of poster art provides us with the unique power to elevate the conversation and inspire change through visceral means.
In a nation still struggling with inequality and institutionalized bias, there is a heightened urgency to reform America’s criminal justice system to reflect the needs and aspirations of our ever-changing demographic. #IAMTHEMANY returns to the notion that our democracy should be “of the people, for the people and by the people”, and by asserting our individuality as a collective, we speak as one.
Developed as part of ACT/ART’s strategic partnership with the White House, #IAMTHEMANY has quickly become a public square for creative expression and emotional storytelling around living in a society still burdened by institutional racism.
The centerpiece of the campaign, an online poster making tool that allows users to upload selfies and self-identify by filling in the blank: “ I AM _______” has sparked an authentic and deeply heartfelt conversation on social media – absent the polarizing debates that sometimes draws attention away from the core issues. Along with the user generated portion of the campaign, artists and professional designers also participated in a poster design competition inspired by the theme of institutionalized racism. The campaign has drawn in celebrities and influencers as well as recognized artists and photographers from the emerging and contemporary art world.
Selected artwork from both legs of the #IAMTHEMANY campaign will be displayed in an exhibition to be announced this Fall by ACT/ART, with the final selections reviewed by a jury panel that includes: Van Jones, Chuck D., Morgan Spurlock, Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Evan Pricco of Juxtapoz Magazine, Kendrick Reid of BET, Brent Rollins of Complex, William Jackson Etundi, Jr. of SeeMe, Jeffrey Keyton of MTV, Greg Hahn of Gretel Design, Lori Zimmer of Art Nerd and Daria Brit Greene, Phil Delbourgo & Ebany Binks of ACT/ART.
ACT/ART is a non-profit organization that believes in the power of art to inspire positive change. They develop campaigns using the power of art and storytelling to generate awareness and provoke productive dialogue around vital social issues.
To create your poster and to learn more about ACT/Art, check out their website here.