March 25th, 2012
Arts Assembly / May Day Arts Planning Meeting
Occupy Town Square at Fort Greene Park
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Thanks to Andrea for taking notes and typing this up.
Facebook invite: Arts Assembly I
Rachel facilitated; meeting began with introductions around the circle.
1. How the May Day plan came together:
May Day traditionally is a day recognizing labor and immigrant issues, is marked with marches and parades. For the first time this year, these groups are uniting with OWS to create a day with cohesive celebration and messaging, with no one group co-opting that, a coalition is formed.
2. The official languaging OWS has chosen:
“General Strike” (language used by other OWS groups in the U.S.)
But also “A Day Without the 99%” (the more all-inclusive phrasing, as unions aren’t allowed to take part in a general strike (?) and therefore will join the day’s events at 4pm)
Also “Legalize, Unionize, We Are the 99%”
3. Proposed Day-Of Schedule:
8am-2pm at Bryant Park = kid-friendly and raucous events
2pm = march from Bryant Park to Union Square, where a permitted, and kid-friendly rally will take place until 4pm; plan is to limit the number of union-speakers, even though they’re contributing to the funding of the event
2-4pm = the main Immigrant & Labor Rights march to Wall Street (going through Foley Square), ending up at Battery Park; not so pre-figured of a plan, no permit, plan to establish “green zones / safe zones” within
7pm = Battery Park will have music is sound permit comes through; will be starting off point to move out to more militant direct actions.
Where are the best spots for art-actions to take place? Can there be public art everywhere? The planning of these actions is now taking place outside of the May Day organizing meetings as individual working-group-like meetings, following a Spokes model of report-backs.
Actions Already Being Planned:
1. “Call to Create” (www.call2create.org) appeals to artists who want to organize actions, and folks who want to support the art/ideas generated (providing documentation, donations, supplies, etc.)
Is also a source of info regarding any day-of changes of plans
2. Spoke of the new, creative energy emerging from Direct Action in the Friday marches from Zuccotti to the Stock Exchange that incorporate song, dance, the People’s Gong, Jerry from Theatre of the Oppressed (meeting 2pm at Zuccotti for a 3pm march and 4pm gong at the Exchange’s closing bell).
Also mentioned the Plus Brigades (?) performances and trainings designed to bring more creativity and fun to militancy…
3. A mass convergence of Choirs is planned for 5:30 at Madison Park as a form of outreach before marching to Union Square (contact email@example.com).
4. OWS Latin America plans a free store/free fair at tables at Union Square
5. May Day lo-fi FM radio offering pre-recorded music, interviews, May Day history, report backs during the day-of, hopefully ending with a dance party.
Call is out for programming
6. Occuprint is seeking funding to print upwards of 30,000 broadsheets (?) to distribute prior to May 1st; is also seeking folks to do distribution at subways.
7. Canadian artist Joel Richardson (?) wants to come into town to do wheat-pasting and stenciling of his “Grassroots …Revolutionary” images; call for volunteers
8. Possible action at music venues TBA for the evening of April 30
9. OWS Puppet Guild plans to create a Maypole, and a John Henry and Corporate Personhood puppets; call for volunteers to help with build but especially with operating day-of.
10. March 31 action at Sotheby’s (?) – contact Laila with Arts & Labor / Museums
11. Jo Robin proposed “Smash the State” piñatas to be made; also “Citizen Hero” patches / stencils to be made in advance and given to arrestees on day-of (call for help in making stencils and dropping them off with Puppet Guild)
New Ideas for Possible Actions:
1. Making a unified “action menu” describing desired audience, safety level, artists available (similar to the Call to Create list). Request to consider whether actions are OWS directed or general public outreach instead.
2. Follow-up action to the Art Fair / Exchange at the Armory; tables out with artwork to exchange, barter
3. Dance action – documenting movement; warm-up ballet barre class on barricades
4. Arts & Labor – stickering at ATMs (similar to ACTUP’s stickering campaign)
5. Locate an ailing community garden in one of the boroughs on a major subway line (Bklyn?) and provide teach-ins, food, healing sessions (as means of promoting May Day, introducing folks to OWS?)
6. OWS Latin America – actions related to Nature, Earth; walking with sacks of soil and seeds to pass out, place onto concrete (would this constitute littering?). Suggestion made to contact Food Justice which address similar issues
7. Jim from Aaron Burr Society – circle the Federal Reserve Building and toss pennies onto the street, similar to Abbie Hoffman’s idea to “levitate” the Fed Reserve Building
8. A coordinated banner drop?
9. Outreach to organize an Art Strike
10. Noah from Occupy Subways – subway outreach to the five boroughs prior to May Day, friendly, inviting; springtime theme, flowers; an opportunity to poll the public regarding OWS; possibility of reaching 2000 folks at once (Puppet Guild has been doing subway outreach performances to positive reception; may partner here)
11. Plus Brigades (?) – coordinating actions outside of safe zones, more disruptive and militant, life-affirming and creative in intent; proposing creating affinity groups of trusted folks with compatible comfort and risk levels for mutual support around actions
12. OccuPrint – has posters and flyers for folks to post in various neighborhoods (requesting a report back when a neighborhood has been postered). Possibility of dropping off new posters (including more information about the content of May Day) at 60 Wall Street for pick up (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Break-Out Groups formed:
1. Outreach / Subway / Messaging / Art Strike
2. Performance-related events
3. Art Fair / Art Exchange
4. People needing resources to fulfill ideas
Break-Out Report Backs:
1. Outreach – discussed
Attention to not being Manhattan-centric
Everyone flyering their own neighborhoods
Approaching art institutions, galleries re: Art Strikes, covering exhibited works, for example
Diversity of messaging to ensure accessibility (“Have a beautiful May Day” / “A Day without the 99%)
2. Resource Group
Discussed the spreadsheet of resources available (through Call to Create)
“Feast” = funding opportunity with a Friday 3/30 proposal deadline (?)
3. Performance – made good connections
1. Reminding everyone of forming affinity groups
2. Sunday, April 1 at 6pm: Arts Cluster meeting
3. follow up May Day Arts meeting scheduled for Saturday, April 7 at 2pm in Union Square
Facebook invite: Arts Assembly II