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What is the 'Advocacy Through Art' Initiative? 5 Things You Need to Know

Written by Carrie Beth Wallace

Images courtesy of Advocacy Through Art

You've seen it in the news, and on social media. But what exactly is Columbus' new Advocacy Through Art' initiative? Who's behind it, and what's their aim? Here are 5 things you need to know and a preview of what's to come...

ONE: The community-wide effort is driven by three local women.

The Advocacy Through Art initiative is headed up by a team of three women: Hannah Israel, Rebecca Zajac, and Sherricka Day.

Israel is an artist and a Professor of Art and the Gallery Director for Columbus State University's Department of Art. Zajac is an arts and community advocate who is the Executive Director of Dragonfly Trails. Day is also an arts and community advocate, the founder of Minor in Business, and a Consumer Response and Resolution Coordinator II at Aflac.

Each woman comes from a very different background, and they're working with a broader group of artists in our community to ensure they're able to advocate for everyone well.

TWO: Their mission is broader than you might think.

The women's aim is to promote community-building conversations about important issues through art in public spaces. They've presented to City Council on numerous occasions, and have committed to continued communication with city officials and their sponsors as the initiative progresses.

"Advocacy through Art aims to utilize a series of thought-provoking public art initiatives to create dialogue, and action, around social issues while activating public spaces. By utilizing public spaces, we create a place to share cultural experiences with others that build connections and strengthen our community. In addition, we seek to improve equitable access to the arts by focusing our efforts in areas devoid of public art, as well as intentionally inviting artists that reflect the cultural diversity of our community." - Advocacy Through Art, Mission Statement.

THREE: The entire project is locally funded.

The Advocacy Through Art team has gathered community support through partnerships with: Columbus State University, the Art Department at Columbus State University, WC Bradley Real Estate, The Do Good Fund, Inc., D&S Sign Co., and The Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley, & the Knight Foundation.

FOUR: Their first phase of the project is an art exhibit along the RiverWalk.

The first project to be carried out by the Advocacy Through Art team is a public art exhibit called We Cannot Walk Alone. The outdoor exhibit runs along a wall on the RiverWalk below the new site of Hotel Indigo.

We Cannot Walk Alone is composed of works submitted by individuals in our community with several panels including the artists' story or relationship with their piece. The exhibit includes work by an incredibly diverse group of local artists who each created a piece about what advocacy through art looks like to them. Topics covered by the artists include immigration, social justice, education, and more. Stay tuned for a series of videos from each artist in the exhibition discussing their work and what advocacy through art means to them.

We Cannot Walk Alone is on display through November 21, so don't miss an opportunity to head to the RiverWalk and see it!

FIVE: There's Much More to Come

Advocacy Through Art is a multi-phase, year-long initiative that will produce several projects throughout the community. From arts education through public art installations to a new public art mural, the Advocacy Through Art team still has a lot up its sleeve. As a media sponsor for the initiative, we'll be sharing more about each phase as it continues into 2021. Stay tuned! ◼︎


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