The Art of Protest



PROTEST ART:  Solidarity and Revolution

"To mobilize and to protest - these two key functions of social movements are theatrical, public, and visual." Protest Art is a shared language that "questions the cultural and political basis of power and oppression" and "ties seemingly disparate actors in the social justice and human rights movements." Protest Art ignites the American imagination and frames each generation's "idealism and rage, energy and optimism, activism and dissent" within the lyrics and graphic art of the era.

"Every period of social upheaval gives birth to songs of discontent. Some songs are crafted specifically as rally cries to garner support for a cause or to broadcast a grievance. Others arise spontaneously in the midst of crisis, often produced by setting new topical verse to old familiar tunes. Once the crisis passes and the need for action subsides, many of these songs vanish from the oral tradition. Still, the message of social reformers-suffragists, abolitionists, labor organizers, temperance advocates-lives on..."

As Bob Dylan foretold in 1964, "the times they were a-changin'!

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