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Los Angeles Artists & Creative Organizers Launch Embrace Your Power, Embrace Our Communities Neon Sign & Photo Essay
Creative Organizer, Visual Street Artist & Fashion Photographer Join Forces to Bring Attention to Importance of Voting
Local creative organizer Wyatt Closs, visual street artist Patrick Martinez, and fashion photographer Colin Young-Wolff have joined forces in an artful call to action, Embrace Your Power, Embrace Our Communities, to promote voting in Los Angeles. Particularly aimed at young people and disaffected communities who are apathetic about voting, the campaign centers on a neon artwork with text that urges passersby to "Embrace Your Power." The sign, a whimsical play on neon palm reader signage, was positioned and documented in diverse communities around Los Angeles; the resulting images and videos are being distributed online through a variety of social media platforms to serve as a catalyst for political action. For additional information, please see http://bigbowlofideas.com/embrace.
"The goal of the Embrace Your Power, Embrace Our Communities sign project is to encourage community members to register and vote," says Wyatt Closs, producer of the photo project, "Our strategy is to catch attention through dynamic visuals, something that is not traditionally seen in political communications. There's no preaching at you or red, white, and blue."
Embrace Your Power Student Action –
Closs, Martinez, and Young-Wolff are collaborating on behalf of a cluster of non-profit and community-based organizations as part of a larger Embrace Your Power campaign, spearheaded by youth activists in the Los Angeles area who are frustrated by immigration reform and hoping to effect change. Participants, some of whom have fasted for as long as a week, are calling attention to the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexican border.
Alarmed by reactions they saw to the Central American 'border children' fleeing violence, a group of students in Los Angeles took matters into their own hands. They decided to do a very public fasting to bring attention to the plight of the border children and to get the message out that children should be valued over politics. In addition to the fast, their actions also included a canned food and clothing drive for goods to be delivered to shelters and centers currently housing border children.
Many of the student activists are affiliated with the "Children Over Politics" video project, which encourages individuals to create videos in support of the cause, organized by the Service Employees International Union. Additional Embrace Your Power collaborators include United Long Term Care Workers, United Service Workers West, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Carwash Workers Organizing Campaign, Councilman Gilbert Cedillo, CLUE LA, Headcount.org, and #GoVote.
Embrace Your Power, Embrace Our Communities Neon Sign & Photo Essay –
The neon sign and corresponding photo essay are designed to support the ongoing Embrace Your Power student-led effort to get more young people to affect social change through political engagement. The art breaks with traditional forms of appeal used in politics to get people to vote while showing the beauty of Los Angeles' 'sleeping giant' communities. In the photo essay images, the sign is juxtaposed against locations that represent the diverse communities of Los Angeles as well as the issues impacting those communities, such as clinics, schools and libraries, which require political engagement in order to thrive. The photo essay image and video assets are being shared online through a variety of social media platforms, in collaboration with participating non-profit and community-based organizations, through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram. The project's hope is that the campaign imagery will go viral in order to serve as a catalyst for political action.
"In a subtle, streetwise form, the message behind the entire Embrace Your Power campaign is: Make your own future by voting," says Closs.
Patrick Martinez –
Patrick Martinez is an LA-based visual artist who has worked in neon with great flair and cleverness. He was born and bred on hip hop, which has influenced his art ever since he understood what it was about.
Colin Young-Wolff –
Colin Young-Wolff is a top Los Angeles behind-the-scenes photographer who has documented campaigns for Dolce&Gabbana, Gucci, Christian Dior, Lancome, Ann Taylor, Riot Games, and others.
Wyatt Closs –
Wyatt Closs is a seasoned creative public affairs producer and organizer. His work regularly occupies the space where politics and pop culture intersect, pushing concepts designed to popularize dialogue about important issues for Big Bowl of Ideas.
• Embrace Your Power, Embrace Our Communities Site – http://bigbowlofideas.com/embrace
• Embrace Your Power YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/EmbraceYourPower
• Children Over Politics – http://fastingforchildren.org/embrace
• Fasting For Children – http://fastingforchildren.org/category/fasters
• SEIU CA Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SEIUCalifornia