Approaching their second fortnight, the protests persisting at Wisconsin's Capitol in Madison have generateda plethora of signs and banners opposed to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to strip unions of their collective-bargaining rights.
Some of these signs are mass-produced, like the white-on-green placards reading "It's About Freedom!" or the black-on-yellow proclamations that "It's About Worker's Rights!" or the various iterations of traffic STOP signs. But countless others are one-offs, hand-crafted by enterprising individual protesters with messages including "Sic Semper Tyrannis," "A True Badger Doesn't Bust Unions," "Stop the War on the Middle Class," "I Can Haz Worker Rights," "Labor Built This Country, Not Corporations and the Filthy Rich," "For Workers not corpulent felines (That's just bovine excrement)!" and "In school we call this Bullying!" -- concise declarations that add up to a narrative of the sustained protest movement at hand.
Recognizing that this is what democracy and creativity look like, curators and interns at The Project Lodge are endeavoring Sunday to gather signs and banners for display next week at the gallery and performance space, 817 E. Johnson. "There are so many gorgeous signs that have so much work in them," observes Project Lodge volunteer coordinator Sonia Kubica, noting the time but also the passion, thought and innovation invested in the creation of each.
Conceived last Wednesday by Project Lodge intern Sarah Stolte, the idea caught fire among ProLo management, was soon christened "SolidARTity," and within 24 hours gave birth to a Facebook call for submissions. Signs, banners, photos and other media can still be dropped off at the gallery Sunday until 3 p.m., or by appointment through early Monday by contacting Kubica at 658-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kubica is also endeavoring to work with the Teaching Assistants Association and other protesters today to rescue what she calls "some of the cultural artifacts" for exhibition before this afternoon's planned Capitol cleanup consigns them to the mass grave of a dumpster.
"We're hoping to see a variety of opinion on current events," says Kubica, while seeking to represent emotions and sentiments ranging from humorous to serious, as well as participants from teamsters and steelworkers to teachers and other partisan alliances.
The short time span from concept to installation and exhibition makes the collection of materials a bit frantic, Kubica allows. "Politics moves a little faster than my curatorial calendar," she concedes.
The aim, she continues, is to present "an artistic reflection of current events this is what's happening, this is what people are saying and this is how they're saying it." Kubica adds that her ambitions for the show on display 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays or by appointment, March 1-9 include presenting visitors to The Project Lodge with an exhibition experience through which "you can't help but feel that something big is happening."