SCA Participant: Artivism and the “Aha” Moment

Think back to the exact moment when you decided to become an activist.


Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Was it…


Because someone sent you a petition?
Or because a friend forwarded you an advocacy alert?
Or, I know: was it because you read a really great white paper?


Chances are, none of these inspired you to become an activist. So why do advocacy organizations persist in using these approaches?


The answer is: they are safe and tested. They generate the kinds of measurable returns that professionals love to see. And they are not likely to end in a spectacular failure.

We recently brought the School for Creative Activism to healthcare professionals through Open Society Foundations. One participant, Sacha Evans, describes her experiences including the “Ah Ha” moment of Artistic Activism and why it’s important to diversify approaches. Continue reading her blog post HERE. 

Call for Applications School for Creative Activism: Advocacy Campaigns to Challenge High Medicines Prices

We’re pleased to announce a call for applications to a School for Creative Activism training session taking place this December, in Spain.

“Despite advances in medical science, affordable safe and effective medicines remain inaccessible to billions of people worldwide.” (Open Society Foundation)

We’re inviting grantees of the Open Society Public Health Program and their allies working on access to medicines to apply to participate in a 4-day School for Creative Activism (SCA) to be held in Barcelona, Spain on 15-18 December 2014.

You can download the application form here: SCA Call for Applications – Medicines Prices – Barcelona

Please note: this workshop is only open to grantees of the Open Society Public Health Program. Don’t worry, we’ll be doing more workshops in the coming months, so if this doesn’t apply to you this time stay tuned for future programs.


The Ark: Faith Leaders at Climate Change

AUBRUN ARKCAA had the privilege of working with faith leaders, activists, and community organizers last spring for a collaboration with through the Auburn Seminary. 

This fall, they turned their dreams into ideas and their ideas into action at NYC’s Climate March on September 21, 2014, building their very own Ark to sail down the streets of New York City.

The Ark was built through collaboration between Auburn and GreenFaith, along with friends at Catholics United, Sojourners, the World Council of Churches, Judson Memorial Church and Middle Collegiate Church.

Isaac Luria, Vice President of Auburn Action at the Auburn Seminary, described the inspiration for the float sharing,

“The ark appeared in a collective dream with other faith-rooted activists and organizers about how our wisdom traditions could speak to this urgent moment with radical creativity and dramatic flair”

We love the idea of the Ark! Read more about their inspiration and motivations for the project in their article, “Why We are Building an Arc.”  Great creative activism in action!



Open Engagement 2015: Call for Submissions

A Blade of Grass nurtures socially engaged art.
A Blade of Grass is pleased to announce


Open Engagement 2015
From April 1719, 2015, Open Engagement will coalesce in Pittsburgh. Established in 2007 by artist Jen Delos Reyes, Open Engagement is an international conference and platform that explores various perspectives on art and social practice and aims to expand the dialogue around socially engaged art making.
In 2014 OE established a partnership with A Blade of Grass, based upon our aligned missions to nurture the practice. The 2015 conference will also be presented in collaboration with 
Carnegie Mellon UniversityCarnegie Museum of ArtThe Sprout Fund, and the Office of Public Art

Call for Submissions

You are invited to contribute to Open Engagement by submitting your proposals for projects, performances, tours, interventions, presentations, or panel ideas within one of the conference’s submission categories. These include proposals related to the theme of Place and Revolution, Open Platform 10-minute presentations, and Continuing OE workshops and skill building sessions.Click here to learn more.

Place and Revolution

What is the role of artists in defining place and creating change in the world? Open Engagement 2015 features keynote presenters Rick Lowe and Emily Jacir and focuses on the theme of Place and Revolution. Click here to learn more about OE 2015 in Pittsburgh.

A Blade of Grass nurtures socially engaged art.
We provide resources to artists who demonstrate artistic excellence and serve as innovative conduits for social change. We evaluate the quality of work in this evolving field by fostering an inclusive, practical discourse about the aesthetics, function, ethics and meaning of socially engaged art that resonates within and outside the contemporary art dialogue.


Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art

Our good friends and supporters at Blade of Grass are calling for applications for fellowships. Here’s the skinny:

Online application form opens: Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Application Deadline: Monday, November 24, 2014

The ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art is an active, year-long funding relationship for socially engaged artists and artist collectives working nationwide. Eight fellows will be selected in 2015 to receive project support of $20,000 with strategic support, assessment tools, video documentation, and other tailored resources. Click here to learn about our eligibility requirements, review selection criteria and access the online application!

Commitment to Local Artists
Beginning this year, ABOG will earmark four of the available eight fellowships for artists living in New York City. We recognize that there is a growing and vibrant community of socially engaged artists in our own backyard and we have a particular investment in strengthening our local artists and neighborhoods. The remaining four fellowships will be open to all applicants, regardless of geographic location.

How We Decide
This is a two-step application process. A panel of readers made up of an artist, a community organizer or participant in a community-based art project, a curator or arts administrator, an educator or scholar, and an ABOG representative will review initial letters of interest and recommend up to 50 semi-finalists. Semi-finalists will be invited to submit a full application with an extended narrative, budget, and a timeline for realizing each stage of their project.

Application: http://www.abladeofgrass.org/application/guidelines/

Sporatorium—THIS SUNDAY

Makers and re-makers, thinkers and rethinkers, composers and decomposers: It’s time to wrestle with climate change. This September, world leaders are coming to NYC for an unprecedented one-day summit on climate change at the UN. We know this is a crucial moment. Across the city, country and world, people are making plans to gather in NYC to stage an historic event: the world’s largest climate march and mobilization. Lean more at peoplesclimatemarch.org

In May, more than 60 artists, curators, cultural producers, technologists, performers, and activists came together to start dreaming of how we can make this gathering surprising, beautiful, impactful and transformative.

This Sunday we are hosting the second monthly SPORATORIUM*!

  • to learn what’s getting planned
  • to meet other creatives working at the intersection of art, activism, and the environment
  • to find folks to plug in to your project
  • to plug in to projects that need your help
  • to dream and scheme with other climate concerned creatives from NYC and beyond.

Sunday, June 22nd @ 7:30PM
Judson Memorial Church- 239 Thompson St.
(around the corner from the main sanctuary)

  • delicious snacks provided
  • RSVP for childcare


* And what’s a SPORATORIUM, you ask??:

This is a slightly goofy new word , for a serious new thing, because:

a) In Greece, the Sporeio is a public space for germinating seeds

b) S.P.O.R.E can stand for Special Projects Organizing and Research Exchange, (the word “art” is confusing and loaded, so instead why not say “special projects” instead?)

c) Spores are the reproductive units of fungal mycelium, an underground network of networks that anchors the soil and mingles with all matters of plants- sharing space and swapping nutrients.

Media Impact Workshop participants announced!

We are excited to announce the next round of participants in our workshop in St. Petersburg – a coalition of artists, activists and engaged citizens from Media Impact, Open Urban Lab, and School of Engaged Art.

Media Impact

Matvei Krilov (Skif) (Gay – Moscow)

activist, artist, poet

Matvei is an actionist artist and political activist, whose political acts have earned him time at Buturskaya Prison and the Alternative Prize of Activist Art. He is the current organizer of the dissident tradition of “Mayakovsky Readings” in Moscow. Matvei Krylov is an actionist artist and political activist. He started working with political issues in 2003, and is a frequent participant of peaceful seizures of administrative buildings and government institutions. Krylov is the author of the performance Head Count at M&J Guelman Gallery; was a co-organizer of exhibition Party Riot Bus in support of Pussy Riot; the winner of the Alternative Prize of Activist Art; participant of Media Impact Festival of Activist Art. He is also the organizer of protest poetry evenings at the statue of Mayakovsky (a long-standing oppositional tradition) on Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow, called the “Mayakovsky Readings”.

Pavel Mitenko (Moscow)

researcher, artist, activist

Pavel Mitenko was the 1998-00th participant of Radek-community (group of young artists, theorists, musicians part of the numerous groups in the big movement of Moscow actionism), and in 00th, a art-critic and artist, and by the end of 00th, was a researcher, artist, activist. More recently he has been working on a thesis on Moscow anotnism in the Institute of philosophy of Russian Academy of Science in Moscow, as well as participating in some new politics collectives in Moscow. He has a long history of of activism collaborating with others in Krgystan with Nishkek artists, poets, activists to make a Social sculpture in physical, ethic, intellectual support of the slum dwellers in Bishkek by facilitating visits from legal citizens to the slums to try the hospitality of the other side of society. From Autumn of 2011 on he has been participating in the Moscow Occupy movement, a working group on Mediaimpact festival and in activist street orchestra. He is interested in sharing culture and practices of resistance, finding the new forms of art, which are the forms of participation in common movement, and the new forms of politics, which unfold in coherence with these new forms of arts. He believes that studying and developing the culture of relationship within a group and between a group and the others is one of the crucial lines in terms of art and politics.

MAKE / Anton Polsky

Artist, activist, art historian

photo2Anton Polsky graduated from the art history department in Russian State University for the Humanities. Anton is the Co-founder of Partizaning.org website and Co-moderator of Media Impact festival.

Tatiana Sushenkova (Moscow)

Photographer, artist.

Education: The Moscow State Geological Prospecting Academy, Economic Faculty – Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia im.A.Rodchenko, workshop of V.Kupriyanova Interests: contemporary art, activism, mixing practices, non-institutional, DIY (including “female” crafts); feminism, LGBTIQ

Tatiana Volkova (Moscow)

curator, art historian

volkovaTatiana is a Member of AICA (International Association of Art Critics).She has held curatorial positions at the Tsaritsino Museum, State Tretyakov Gallery, Reflex Gallery, the Garage and ZHIR project, Moscow. Since 2009 Tatiana has been dedicated to research and development of Russian activist art. Tatiana curated a serious of exhibitions of the young Russian activist artists at ZHIR project, Moscow (Winzavod Art Centre, 2009 – 2010); “Silence=Death” exhibition (Artplay Centre, 2012, Moscow) . Since 2011 Tatiana has been initiator and moderator of MediaImpact Festival of Activist Art, that was held in Novosibirsk, Murmansk, Nizhniy Novgorod and Moscow (two times) since then. In 2013 Tatiana became a member of project team of the “Global Activism” exhibition, the Center of Art and Media – ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany) Tatiana has written for exhibition catalogues and Web and given a course of lectures on Russian activist art.

Daria Vorujubivaeva (Tver – Moscow)


Daria has MA in humanitarian and social studies, she is involved in art and activist projects. She is interested in politology, philosophy, contemporary art and typography and publishing.


Liubov Chernysheva

researcher, 4-th year student of SPSU, Faculty of Sociology

Liubov Chernysheva is affiliated with Open Urban Lab and Saint-Petersburg State University, Faculty of sociology. She is engaged in the study of the urban environment in St.-Petersburg using qualitative sociological methods. Her interests include urban studies, studies of city public spaces, public art, participation of local communities in city transformation. Some of the projects she has worked on include Open Urban Lab: “The city SAGA. Public spaces in transformation” (the aim of the project is to make a model of new creative city public spaces, which are convenient for residents), The project “Playgrounds in Kolomna” (the aim was to study context and create the specification for the design of modern playground in one of the districts of St. Petersburg)

Anastasia Golovneva

Goloneva Sociologist, researcher, 4-th year student of SPSU, Faculty of Sociology Anastasia Golovneva is affiliated with Saint-Petersburg State University, Faculty of sociology and Open Urban Lab. Her interests include urban sociology, studies of public spaces, quantitative methods in sociology and sociology of art. Some of the projects she has collaborated on include: International interdisciplinary project «SAGA about the city. The transformation of public spaces in Saint-Petersburg»; Project, dedicated to the research of creative spaces in European cities, the sharing meanings between artist and the process of creating the knowledge in art, Bachelor degree research project «The strategies of legitimation of prose writers in Russian literary field».

Julia Kolesova

Psychologist, project coordinator, lecturer

Julia Kolesova is affiliated with Open Urban Lab and St. Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering. She is the founder and director of company specializing in design of residential spaces and landscape (Novosibirsk, 2000-2005) and the Senior Lecturer at St. Petersburg State University (Educational program ‘Environmental Design’, Dept. of Design) and the Dept. of Architectural Spatial Design (Faculty of Architecture, St. Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering). Her interests include cross-disciplinary research, education in the field of urban studies, use of city space by different groups of citizens, and urban data visualization. Some of the projects she has worked on include: “The city SAGA. Public spaces in transformation” (OUL); “Playgrounds in Kolomna” (OUL); Workshops on participatory designing of the yards in a high-rise residential district (OUL); Case –study “Accessibility of the urban space”, together with the MA students of the St. Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering.

Arsenii Konnov

tutor/researcher (urban ecology/sustainability)

Arsenii Konnov is affiliated with Open Urban Lab National Research University ITMO and MA Design of Urban Ecosystems/Housing+ Lab. Some of the projects she has worked on include: analytics, project management and implementation in urbanism/urban foresights (Kronstadt Vision 2040 – atlas and vision book for one of historical suburbs of Saint Petersburg); project management and coordination in international cooperation project in Tikhvin, Oblast of Leningrad/Hérouville Saint-Clair, France; Dreams of the City (Open Forum – 4th Biennale “New Ideas for the City: Green Urbanism”, July 2013) – visioning workshop/foresight for urban activists with elements of process-oriented psychology – project initiator, manager and facilitator (public workshop with about 50 participants). Her interests include urban design and human ecology in cities (human-friendly environment; sensing and experiencing the city, gamification of urban environment), nature in the city, urban utopias and foresights, public art / found art and interactive urban design, and body oriented (Contact Improvisation, Authentic Movement, Five Rhythms) and process oriented (conflict facilitation) psychology – application in urban art/public involvement.

Alexandra Nenko

Sociologist, researcher, project coordinator, lecturer Alexandra Nenko is affiliated with Open Urban Lab, the National Research University Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Laboratory of Economics of Culture, and the National Research University ITMO, MA Design of Urban Ecosystems. Her more recent activities include working as a researcher at the Laboratory of Cultural Economics, (NRU HSE St. Petersburg and as a member of the ‘Creative City’ research group at NRU HSE St. Petersburg, as well as a participant in projects focusing on artistic communities in St. Petersburg and other European cities at the Faculty of Sociology (St. Petersburg State University) and Center for German and European Studies (St. Petersburg State University and Bielefeld University). Her interests include cross-disciplinary approach to studying urban space, creative communities and art initiatives as actors of urban transformation, participatory approach, and emotional perception of urban space. Her projects include: “The city SAGA. Public spaces in transformation” (OUL); “Assessing Effectiveness Creative Industries Projects in Northern Dimension Supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers” (LEC, NRU HSE); “Co-evolution of Knowledge and Communication Networks: Structural Dynamics of Creative Collectives in European Cultural Capitals” (CGES).

Irina Shirobokova

sociologist, researcher, project coordinator

Irina Shirobokova is affiliated with Open Urban Lab, the activities coordinator of the project «Library as a public spaсe», and a researcher on the project “The appearance of cities in the Moscow region”. Her interests include sociology of the city, the impact of space on the social practices, cross-disciplinary approach to the study of urban space, public art, photography, social design, visual anthropology, and participation designing. Some of her projects include: Communicative Practices of Knowledge Creation in Social Space in Contemporary City; localization of creative communities in the urban social space: the experience of St. Petersburg; Workshop “Archiving of the city” with artist and researcher Adeola Engibokan (New York).

Lilia Vironkova



Lilu S.Deil


Marina Maraeva


Anya Tereshkina
Natasha Tseliubo

Natasha TNatasha Tseliubo is an artist who has worked in a variety of disciplines and contexts as a illustrator (2008/2009 magazine AFISHA), storyboard artist (2008/2010 creative laboratory ZERKALO), Artist Educator (2011/2013 the first online school of drawing DrawSchool.ru/), creative designer (2013 Belousov Holding Group), designer (2013/2014 startup Swanky Plan), and web designer (2014 Startup Pirates of Infobusiness). She studied at the Zaporizhzhya Center of Professionally Technical Education as an artist and designer focusing on decorator showcases. She studieed Graphic Design at the Kharkov Academy of Design and Art, and at the school of engaged art “CHTO DELAT”. As a creative, she has participated in the exhibitions in Zaporozhye (Kharkov, Kiev 2009), the Festival MOLODIST’ ’10 the directing short films (2010). She has exhibited at NEVROSSIYA Gallery FABRIKA (Moscow 2014). Additionally, she is a member of the NFY MR bloomed (2013) and street the street art progect Gandhy (2014). Check out more of her work here.

Roman Osminkin

Roman Osminkin has a vast art and politics related employment history including work as a poet as a member of the Laboratory of Poetic Actionism, a video artist (Poetic video-journal #1, 2011 ), a performance artist (http://www.youtu.be/K5pusZTEWno) and as a participant of the Street university (organizing lectures and events in public space) from 2008 to present. He a performer and lyricist of the politically engaged project Techno-Poetry, which he founded in 2010. Roman has been a member of the Russian Socialist Movement since 2012. He holds a Master’s degree in Management from St. Petersburg State University of Telecommunications and a Specialist degree in Telecommunications, St. Petersburg State University of Telecommunications. As of 2012, he has been a Postgraduate student at the Russian Institute of Art History.

Anastasia Vepreva


Polina Zaslavskaya

CAA, YesLab, and Beautiful Trouble work on Action Switchboard

On Feb. 8-9, 2014, the Yes Lab, the Center for Artistic Activism, and Beautiful Trouble conducted a workshop with fifty participants, including members of eight social justice NGOs and a number of NYU students.

The eight projects that resulted were posted on the Action Switchboard and will be helped forward by facilitators.

Please sign up at actionswitchboard.net to be notified when the Action Switchboard
is launched for the public, or to organize a workshop for your organization or school.