You’ve told us that the wheatpaste campaign we did with local street artist, ADAPT, is one of our most kickass projects. We absolutely LOVED working with you to get your messages out on the streets and encourage your creative expression as a cathartic response to harassment. We want to do MORE, and we want it to be BIG and PERMANENT!
So, we’re starting to work on an anti-harassment mural to be completed in 2014!
Check out out interview with ADAPT on why this work is important, and what our plans for the future are. Then click to donate today! Remember, the donations you make before midnight on December 31 are fully tax-deductible for 2013.
Interview with Local Street Artist, ADAPT, on the Importance of Anti-harassment Street Art
Why did you decide to fight street harassment with art?
Many people close to me have been harassed on the street in pretty traumatic ways. It’s hard for me to ignore how oppressive harassment is to anyone who wants to have a life in public. The first piece I ever made in this theme used a historic photograph of Washington, D.C anti-street harassment icon, Alice Reighly. A few folks from CASS noticed, and we’ve been collaborating on art projects ever since!
Why do you think people react so strongly to your wheatpastes?
I think that the intimidation of street harassment is something many of us cope with on a daily basis, whether we’re the targets of it or we simply have a conscience and are bearing witness. Unfortunately, it’s been normalized to the point that a lot of folks feel powerless to speak up, but there needs to be an outlet for all the real harassment experiences that happen every day. I think the pieces are a message to people that someone has their back — and a message to harassers to back off. There’s also a lot of venting and healing that needs to take place in our community, so I wanted each piece to be an opportunity for people to find their experiences validated. All the messaging is original, from people who shared their stories with us and wrote the words you see on the signs themselves.
How does art help us reclaim our public space?
When a harasser creates an unsafe situation by their actions, they are taking public space for themselves. These actions mean that people can’t exist in their environment comfortably and without fear, and that is a theft. When we put up our life-sized photos of women who endure this harassment on a regular basis, holding messages aimed directly at harassers, we are challenging their actions and the theft of space. We’re taking it back!
What other anti-harassment projects do you have in store?
We want to do a lot more community workshops to create more community response art projects, especially a mural! We really want to help create a presence for less-heard voices in our city. The workshop format has been great for collecting new material and we are open to the imaginations of everyone who comes out and participates with whatever angle they want to take the issue. There is lots of room for interpretation and collaboration on street performances, zines, wherever people want to take it!
How can members of the community get involved?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about bringing our art workshops to your organization or school. And support our work! We need funding to make these projects happen.
CASS is a volunteer-led organization. Your engagement and love is what keeps us going! Please support us by donating in honor of 12 Days of CASS, our end-of-year campaign for tax-deductible donations made by December 31st, 2013. Each dollar amount goes a long way to support our activism to end public sexual harassment and assault.
This post is part of 12 Days of CASS, our end-of-year series to highlight the work we’ve done in 2013 to prevent public sexual harassment and assault in DC.