Art is Revolution wants to change the way you think about art

Katie Mather
·7-min read

For the month of October, groups under Verizon Media collaborated with All Black Creatives, a community made up of Black artists, to produce Art is Revolution (AIR), a 30-day campaign and WebAR museum that showcased Black artists around the world — from New York, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Oakland, Calif., to London, Paris and Australia.

There were 21 different artists who participated in the project and the virtual space was a way to promote their pieces while actual galleries, events and showrooms remain closed.

“AIR uplifts Black voices worldwide in solidarity and celebration of the beauty, joy, innovation and brilliance of Black people, and their art in this revolution,” Danielle Elise, the curator and creative director of All Black Creatives, said. “Not only does this project uplift and highlight the voices of Black artists, it also brings communities together to support Black art that speaks to this moment in time … AIR highlights only a very small segment of the artists in this revolution, but it does so proudly.” 

The gallery was made possible by RYOT’s WebAR technology. Using methods such as drone capture and photogrammetry, RYOT was able to curate certain pieces from around the world and render them virtually as 3D versions. The event is an example of the partnership between technology and art, and potentially, the future of installations.

“Being able to work together with RYOT to showcase Black artists through a tech like WebAR really celebrates future technology becoming available to more and more people,” Elise said. “It’s beautiful that during a time of covid people can be safe at home and still experience this amazing gallery of art from around the world- for free. We hope that Art is Revolution inspires every viewer to see that Black is future, and encourages every Black artist to design what is possible.”

RYOT also partnered with HuffPost and Yahoo to spread awareness of the event and to provide additional information and resources on the featured pieces, themes and artists. The themes, which were organized by weeks, were: Lift Every Voice, Healing, Black Joy and Black Future.

Verizon Media’s Diversity and Inclusion division’s seven ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) each sponsored three artists for AiR. 

In The Know asked Verizon Media’s ERG leaders for commentary on the work that the AiR panel is discussing.

BOLD of Verizon

Sponsored artists: Jayvn Solomon, Marcus Branch and Damon Davis.

BOLD (Black Organizers, Leaders and Doers) of Verizon is proud to support this impactful project in a time when Black lives are both a target for destruction and an inspiration for change. Systemic racism has plagued our country since its foundation, forcing us to bear the burden of navigating the world with stress on our shoulders. Carrying this weight is exhausting so we demand change with our voices and release through artistic expression. 

Javyn Solomon highlighted the power and pain of protests by converting damaged buildings to platforms of empowerment.  

Marcus Branch captured the beauty and nuance of Black identities. The intersectionality of his work makes us feel visible and heard. His art truly amplifies our happiness and Black joy is resistance.

Damon Davis created complex structures of beauty that exude pain, light, and love. His art is layered with soundscapes and his calm, strong voice of meditation. This experience provides strength, balance and joy.

Written by Nikki Thompson and Marquise Francois

SOMOS Verizon

Sponsored artists: Reyna Noriega, Crystal Rodriguez and Charles G. Esperanza.

With the onset of COIVD-19 and the unjust murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, we found ourselves at the threshold of social and civil unrest as well as mental health issues that disproportionately affected the Black and Latinx community. 

We reflected on the impact the pandemic and racial justice have had on us as well as on the intersectionality of race and gender, thus bringing us closer to the Black community than ever before because of this shared lived experience. We recognize that the Latinx community is made up of a rich diaspora of people including Indigenous and AfroLatinx members. We also include Spanish and Portuguese speakers, whose history crosses continents. 

Art is visual storytelling that has the power to heal, transform and reach people in profound ways. It provides food for thought, builds community, breaks down barriers and builds bridges. It offers an opportunity to meet people where they are and to find common ground. These artists not only represent us but reflect how we intersect with each other at a very basic human level. It is our hope that the artists, their creations and their stories will offer insight into how we hold space for one another, heal, create opportunity and affect true change.   

Written by Marissa Muñoz

PACE @ Verizon

Sponsored artists: Devan Shimoyama, Jonny Brooks and Rachel Wolfe Goldsmith.

2020 marked a critical year for the Asian community, as well as the Black community. Coronavirus may have been traumatic for the world stage but it also disproportionately affected the Asian community — leading to a reignition in anti-Asian racism and the fight for identity and elevation of voices across the world.

Just a few weeks after the onset of the pandemic, the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor led to a global focus on tackling police brutality and racial justice.

Coupled in anguish and a fight to survive as well as educating the world on identity, culture, and anti-racism, the crisis has brought the Asian community even closer to the Black community as better allies and advocates in bringing about change and celebration of cultures.

In art, we have seen that story blossom and play out, creating beauty out of a traumatic year. We want to showcase that beauty and partnership and how this is the start of real change.

Written by Lianna Brinded

United of Verizon

Sponsored artists: Alexis Tsegba, Aurelia Durand and Nkosi Ndlovu.

United of Verizon wanted to be a part of this POWERFUL campaign because lifting up the voices of those who are marginalized is important for our group. Being able to raise awareness and bring a spotlight on artists from around the world is how you can be a part of the new world where we will GET heard; BE seen and supported.

Written by Julio Aguirre

WAVE of Verizon

Sponsored artists: Murjoni Merriweatehr, Mawhyah and Noel Spiva.

The Women’s Association of Verizon Employees (WAVE of Verizon)’s mission includes being an advocate for female representation and being a champion for our community. Partnering with RYOT and All Black Creatives to ensure female voices are lifted and supported allowed us to live our mission. WAVE of Verizon is dedicated to advancing our employees and the communities we serve, and the Art is Revolution project allowed us to do that through advanced technology and art.

Written by Sam Brown and Jackie Moore

ADVANCE of Verizon

Sponsored artists: Afritina Coker, Heather Polk and Trudi-Ann Hermans.

One of ADVANCE of Verizon’s core tenets is accessibility. We believe in a world where everyone should have the support they need to access the same experiences as everyone else. That’s why we were thrilled to partner with All Black Creatives and RYOT to make art accessible to everyone, wherever they find themselves today. It is also critical that we recognize the distinct challenges facing the Black community, and take action to lift up Black men, women and non-binary folx whenever possible. The Art is Revolution project gives space to those who should be speaking, and a platform for them to reach as many people as possible. When we work to include one another, art — and life — improve for everyone.

Written by Matt Johnstone and Tori Floyd

Prism of Verizon

Sponsored artists: Cami Thomas, Ashton Attz and Shabez Jamal.

Elevated! Empowered! Authentic! Prism of Verizon’s mission is to promote inclusion and equality for all LGBTQIA+ people. 

Prism of Verizon was more than thrilled to sponsor the artists above and give them a larger platform to showcase their amazing work, highlighting intersectionality between sexuality, race, and gender. Now more than ever, it is important to come together and celebrate our diversities, to understand what intersectionality means and to embrace all of what makes us who we are. The work displayed by these artists captures that. By sponsoring these artists I believe it encourages more individuals to speak out and be proud of who they are, stand up for what’s right and also learn to be more accepting of different points of view or experiences.

Written by Austin Christensen.

Enjoy reading this article? Check out In The Know’s coverage on the Mirror Beauty Cooperative — a safe space for Latinx and LGBTQIA+ workers.

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