The Bay Area knows how to fight. It is in our DNA.
You can see the fight in our people, in our cities, in our streets. You can see the fight in our art.
I have been lucky enough to call the Bay Area home for the better part of the last two decades. The Bay Area is a place that has birthed movements: Black Lives Matter, the Free Speech Movement, the Beat Movement, the Hippie Movement, the Black Power Movement. It is a place where people do not go silently into the night, a place where people raise their voices, their pens, their fists, and their brushes, a place where people don’t stand around, watching the world burn. The Bay Area is a place where people get to work.
When the world changed in November, there was fear, anger, and a feeling of voiceless-ness. The people who voted for Trump felt like they had been voice-less for too long. The people who voted against Trump (and comprised the majority vote) felt like their voices had been taken away. We were watching the world change dramatically right before our eyes, and many of us didn’t think there was anything we could do. We felt helpless and silenced. Two weeks following the election, The New Yorker released “Aftermath: Sixteen Writers on Trump’s America,” and we as artists were reminded of both our ability to use our art to speak, as well as our duty to use our art to engage in the important larger discussions within our socio-political sphere. This is how we could fight back, I thought. This is how we will fight back.
I sent out an email to my staff on holiday and told them that we were going to do a themed issue for Spring: Art as Activism/ Resistance, and that we would only accept pieces that adhered to that theme. In the months that followed, Trump has waged war against journalists, declaring them “the enemy,” and has proposed completely defunding the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our work seemed more important than ever; the stakes were that much greater. We had to fight, and Art was the only way I knew how.
While this issue is a collection of work from all over the country, I looked to streets of the Bay Area for inspiration, the streets that have always functioned as moral compass and social barometer for me. What stories were the streets telling? I asked members of the MARY staff to venture out and collect pictures of the found art they stumbled on. I then gathered the photos, and featured them throughout this site. It was important to me that we share more than just our written stories or narratives, because this issue is not only a story of artists. It is the story of survivors and of survival. Art survives. Art is survival.
The Bay Area is my home, and Art is how we fight back.
It is in our DNA.
*Special thanks to Ellie Lambert for contributing photos to this site!*