Art+Action’s arts-driven public media campaign—established through a process of interviews and collaborations with key community-based organizations—reflects an ideology of equity and plurality. The campaign is a creative call to action that aims to motivate all communities to participate in the 2020 Census.
Harnessing the power of both internationally-renowned and as-yet-unknown and youth artists who represent a myriad of San Francisco—and beyond’s—communities and neighborhoods, the campaign connects people to the Census on a human level, as an urgent act that benefits each of us, our families, communities, and our cities as a whole. With a public presence on billboards, transit shelter posters, kiosks, street pole banners, and more, in different neighborhoods across the city—and country—and presented in the four official languages of San Francisco: English, Chinese, Spanish, and Tagalog, the campaign offers information about the impact of the 2020 Census on all our lives for the next decade.
Art+Action is committed to helping you bring the campaign to your communities. You can order customizable design files by completing this Google Form, or emailing us at email@example.com. We encourage you to use the voices of your own artists and produce the campaign in your communities’ languages. It’s already been adopted by Taos, New Mexico and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—and with the support of the Ford Foundation, will be coming to Texas and Florida. Let’s make the next three months truly count.
Public Media Campaign
Kiosks The outdoor campaign premiered during Martin Luther King Jr. Week in January 2020, with 38 large-scale ‘COME TO YOUR CENSUS, S.F.’ posters featuring the work of 10 artists with strong connections to the Bay Area—Marcela Pardo Ariza, Miguel Arzabe, Emory Douglas, Andrew Li of Creativity Explored, Hung Liu, George McCalman, Masako Miki,Joel Daniel Philips, Clare Rojas, and Stephanie Syjuco—on JCDecaux kiosks along San Francisco’s Market Street corridor. This first iteration of the campaign appeared in the Castro, Duboce Triangle, Embarcadero, Financial District, and in SOMA through the generosity of San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), who donated their advertisement space for Art+Action’s use.
Transit Shelters The second expression of the campaign appeared on 50 transit shelter posters in Balboa Park, Bayview, Duboce Triangle, Dogpatch, Excelsior, Forest Knolls, Hunters Point, Ingleside, Inner Richmond, Japantown, Laurel Heights, Lower Haight, Marina, Mission Bay, Mission District, NOPA, North Beach, Outer Mission, Outer Richmond, Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Russian Hill, Upper Haight, Visitacion Valley, and Western Addition in San Francisco in March 2020. For this iteration, in addition to the original artists, Art+Action commissioned Lava Thomas, Innosanto Nagara, For Freedoms (Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur in collaboration with Eric Gottesman and Wyatt Gallery), and Antonio Benjamin of Creativity Explored to add their imagery to the series. Broadening the call to action beyond S.F., the posters spoke to groups to which we all belong who all are dependent on Census funding: ‘COME TO YOUR CENSUS, FAMILIES / STUDENTS / RENTERS / COMMUTERS / VOTERS.’
Billboards Further augmenting the multitude of artist voices in the campaign, imagery by artists Angela Hennessy and Raf Salazar, the artist collective See Black Women, and youth artist Isha Thorne(winner of Art+Action’s youth artist open call) appeared across billboards in S.F. beginning in April 2020. These hyper-local billboards called out specific neighborhoods, asking communities to ‘COME TO YOUR CENSUS, BAYVIEW / EXCELSIOR / INGLESIDE / INNER RICHMOND / MISSION DISTRICT / NORTH BEACH / NOPA / TENDERLOIN / VISITACION VALLEY.’
‘The White House Wants to Erase Us’ Billboards In response to the Trump administration’s repeated efforts to end the 2020 Census early, which would cost communities across the United States billions of dollars of federal funding and decrease political representation for those who most need to be heard, Art+Action installed two billboards featuring Arleene Correa Valencia and Ana Teresa Fernandez’s ongoing project, SOMOS VISIBLES / WE ARE NOT INVISIBLES. One billboard was seen along the Bay Bridge and the other along Highway 101. The billboard features artist Arleene Correa Valencia wearing the signature t-shirt from the project, printed by Art+Action Coalition Partner print/stitch.
Mobile Truck Billboards In September and October 2020, Art+Action brought COME TO YOUR CENSUS campaign to San Francisco neighborhoods near you with our mobile Census truck billboard campaign that drove to low-responding Census areas: Bayview-Hunters Point, Chinatown, Civic Center, Mission, SOMA, Treasure Island, Marina, and Presidio. The artwork on the trucks were by Innosanto Nagara and Caroline Ryan.
Firefly Art+Action teamed up with Coalition Partner Firefly to bring the campaign nationwide via car-top mobile billboards in Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Los Vegas, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.
San Francisco Public Library Collaborating with Art+Action Coalition Partner the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), the campaign was actualized on large-scale interior and exterior signage, as well as bookmarks and coloring pages, at the main SFPL branch and in the Castro, Civic Center, Chinatown, Bernal Heights, Excelsior, Ingleside, Inner Richmond, Inner Sunset, Marina, Mission District, Mission Bay, Noe Valley, North Beach, Outer Richmond, Parkmerced, Parkside, Potrero Hill, Presidio, Upper Haight, Visitation Valley, and Western Addition.
Neighborhood Window Posters Art+Action created San Francisco neighborhood-specific posters for neighborhoods that have a low response rate as of July 2020.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Art+Action’s HQ and a Lead Coalition Partner, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, brought the campaign to life across their campus and throughout San Francisco in the Dogpatch, Duboce Triangle, Lower Haight, SOMA, and Upper Haight neighborhoods from March – October 2020.
Treasure Island Banner Art+Action’s tagline“COME TO YOUR CENSUS, S.F.” is visible on a grand scale over Treasure Island to be seen as you drivers come into San Francisco on Interstate-80.
T-shirts, Totes + Face Masks Art+Action’s Coalition Partner, Levi’s created Come To Your Census t-shirts to bring the message to the streets and encourage everyone to fill out the 2020 Census. Totebag editions from California College of the Arts (CCA), YBCA, and Art+Action were also distributed city-wide.
National Expansion: Texas From the outset, Art+Action’s COME TO YOUR CENSUS campaign sought to create a model regionally—that highlighted the artists and trusted messengers of our varied communities—which could then be utilized nationwide in cities where they may not have the bandwidth nor resources to implement a campaign of this nature. Ford Foundation reached out to Art+Action and funded us to take the campaign to Texas. Through a Texas-wide open call, and in partnership with many local arts + civic organizations, Art+Action unveiled 6 billboards in the state featuring the artwork of: Armando Aguirre, Andy Benavides, Kim Bishop, Sarah Bork, Caroline Ryan, and Xavier Schipani.
National Expansion: Florida From the outset, Art+Action’s COME TO YOUR CENSUS campaign sought to create a model regionally—that highlighted the artists and trusted messengers of our varied communities—which could then be utilized nationwide in cities where they may not have the bandwidth nor resources to implement a campaign of this nature. Ford Foundation reached out to Art+Action and funded us to take the campaign to Florida. Through a Florida-wide open call, and in partnership with many local arts + civic organizations, Art+Action unveiled 6 billboards in the state featuring the artwork of: Jonathon Brooks, Marsha Hatcher, Ignacio Marino Larrique, Selina Roman, Toni Smailagic, and Mateo Serna Zapata.
As Art+Action pivoted to online programming amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, SCP created ‘Undercounted’ an animation that was shared digitally via Instagram, which outlined research by the artists on communities historically undercounted in the Census. For Coalition Partner Yerba Buena Center for the Art’s online art+civic experience, Come To Your Census: Who Counts in America, SCP was asked 9 questions (mirroring the 9-question Census) around activism, community-building, and art in an interview inYBCA’s Zine.
SOMOS VISIBLES Art+Action commissioned artist Arleene Correa Valencia +Ana Teresa Fernández’s collaboration SOMOS VISIBLES / WE ARE NOT INVISIBLE. The ongoing project takes a political stance on visibility through the use of high-vis ready-to-wear safety gear present throughout many labor industries, as it relates to the invisibility of the undocumented in the U.S. In the context of the 2020 Census, the project seeks to engage undocumented communities in dialogue about their fears of being counted, seen, and having their voices heard to receive their fair share of resources. Upon demonstrating proof of completing the Census, the artists gave participants complimentary SOMOS VISIBLES sweatshirts.
SOMOS VISIBLES / WE ARE NOT INVISIBLE is now available—thanks to our partners at Premier Alliances Inc. and print/stitch—in long-sleeve, short-sleeve, and kids t-shirt forms. Premier Alliances Inc. is a nonprofit that helps improve the lives of people with disabilities in Bisbee, Arizona. You can order your SOMOS VISIBLES t-shirt hereand once you receive it, be sure to post images of you or a friend/family member wearing it on social media and tag us:
The project was made possible through the generous support of Levi’s.
The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful
Mirroring the ethos of the Census that every child and family counts, Art+Action presented The Butterfly Effect: Migration isBeautiful at the Museum of the African Diaspora on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2020. The youth-led art project invites participants to create origami butterflies as visual representations of migrant children in detention centers, in order to raise awareness and inspire action to end child detention.
Having to pivot to online activities in the wake of the COVID pandemic, Art+Action commissioned The Butterfly Effect to create a video demonstrating how to make your own butterfly as an at-home art activity, to encourage all kids and families to be counted in the Census.
Leah Nichols Art+Action commissioned artist Leah Nichols to create an easy to read How To: 2020 Census postcard that offers step-by-step instructions for how to complete the Census in Chinese, English, Spanish, and Tagalog. The postcard was printed and distributed to Art+Action Coalition Partners and available online for all to download for free in Art+Action’s online toolkit.
Leah Nichol’s film, 73 questions—which emphasizes the importance of an individual’s voice—was included in Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America?, the online art+civic experience created in partnership with Art+Action and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. In the style of Vogue’s rapid-fire interview series of the same name, 73 Questions takes you through the streets of San Francisco with Steve Jones—a poet and 40-year San Francisco resident—who, at the time the video was made, was experiencing homelessness, asking about his life in the city, his literary influences, and his hopes for the future. Watch the film here. NIchols was also interviewed for Coalition Partner YBCA’s Zine.
Brian Singer Art+Action commissioned artist Brian Singer to design a faux $20,000 bill to be distributed at Art+Action public events and online via social media. The $20,000 dollar bill represents the per person dollar amount distributed to community programs over 10 years, based on Census data. The design features a list of community programs that are funded by the Census—including essential emergency services, healthcare, affordable housing, food assistance, schools, child care, public transportation, road repair, senior centers, and more.
Graffiti Camp for Girls at Gray Area Art+Action and Coalition Partner Gray Area co-commissioned Graffiti Camp for Girls to create “EVERYONE COUNTS,” a 2020 census themed mural depicting San Francisco, at Gray Area’s location on 23rd and Mission Street.
Ana Sergeeva YOU MATTER Art+Action commissioned artist Anna Sergeeva’s YOU MATTER series to reflect and empower the myriad communities in San Francisco—particularly those that are experiencing homelessness. During Sergeeva’s time as an Artist in Residence at Art+Action Coalition Partner Lava Mae, many of the unhoused people with whom she connected emphasized their appreciation for the San Francisco Public Library as a safe, productive space. As such, Sergeeva created puzzles and bookmarks—to be made available at Art+Action Coalition Partners‘ San Francisco Public Library’s 28 branches and at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts—featuring the statement “YOU MATTER” in Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, and English, overlaid on images from the community-generated San Francisco Public Library Shades of San Francisco photography archive. The YOU MATTER series is available in Art+Action’s Census Toolkit.
San Francisco Public Library Night of Ideas Art+Action presented Sanctuary City Project Art+Action Coalition Partner San Francisco Public Library’s Night of Ideas—a festive night in the heart of the city, with a collaborative and interactive seven-hour program of debate, performances, dance, and music featuring top thinkers from San Francisco and beyond. Sanctuary City Project invites community members to utilize their mobile screenprint cart (a transformed front-loader bicycle), to print and share custom silkscreen posters in Chinese, English, Spanish, and Tagalog to educate and mobilize our communities to participate in the 2020 Census.
California College of the Arts (CCA) Art+Action and CCA’s DMBA students in the social impact Cosine Collective invited the public to team up to reach out to cities, employers, schools, and communities across the Bay Area and the country to proactively share Art+Action’s arts-driven 2020 Census campaign materials so everyone can receive their fair share of resources and representation by participating in the 2020 Census.
Sanctuary City Project at YBCA for YBCA Summit For YBCA’s 2019 Summit, Art+Action presented Sanctuary City Project who screen printed posters “WHO COUNTS IN AMERICA?” and “9 QUESTIONS. 10 MINUTES. $20,000. 2020 CENSUS” to educate and mobilize our communities to participate in the 2020 Census. Every year, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts releases the YBCA 100 list, which recognizes the artists, leaders, activists, thinkers, movers, and dreamers who are using their creative and political power to enact change. On Saturday, October 19, 2019, YBCA hosted the fifth annual YBCA 100 Summit to honor the people who are using their platforms to create social change. At the Summit, artists, activists, policy makers, and cultural and community leaders gathered for an afternoon of performances, dialogue, and collective dreaming. The YBCA 100 Summit built community and inspired creativity, imagination, and critical solutions for social progress.
Innosanto Nagara Art+Action commissioned artist and renowned children’s book author (A is for Activist) Innosanto Nagara to create a video reading his book Counting on Community, followed by a kids counting activity: make yourself count by counting who lives in your home, and ensuring they all fill out the 2020 Census. The video was distributed online by Art+Action, YBCA, and by Nagara’s publishing house Seven Stories Press. Watch it here on Youtube, Facebook, or Instagram.
Txutxo Perez Art+Action and Coalition Partner Hospitality House co-presented an at-home video demonstration of ‘How to Make a Linocut Print’ with artist Txutxo Perez. Perez created a series of linocut prints focusing on the working class, families, and youth that were born in the U.S. from immigrant parents, to highlight that everyone has the right to safely participate in the 2020 Census—citizen or not. Perez chose the linocut process given its history as a traditional printmaking method for resistance movements, and for its traditional use for the Day of the Dead. Watch the video here.
UnderCounted by Sanctuary City Project ‘Who Counts in America?’ is an animation created by Sanctuary City Project based on research they did for Art+Action’s #2020Census campaign around who is counting, being counted, undercounted, and not counted in the 2020 Census. It is predicted that in the 2020 Census, over 4 million people will be undercounted, including the highest numbers from Black and Latinx communities. Undercount factors range from fear of a citizenship question—which is not included in the 2020 Census—to a mistrust of data confidentiality. Sanctuary City Project, led by artists Sergio De La Torre and Chris Treggiari, serves as a public print shop where visitors can engage in dialogue while creating protest posters around topics of sanctuary, immigration, and self-empowerment toward political action. Watch it here.
Art and the Census with Artist Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo and Art+Action Curatorial Committee Member Ashara Ekundayo Art+Action Curatorial Committee Member Ashara Ekundayo talks with artist Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo about the artwork “Who Gets Counted?” she created for Art+Action and YBCA’s Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America? art and civic experience. Both artists recently appeared in See Black Women, the second installment of a 2-part panel also featuring the voices of Bay Area Black womxn artists Asya Abdrahman, Tahirah Rasheed, and Sam Vernon. They discussed visibility, grief, and the present paradigm shift in culture in practice—as part of the #ArtistAsFirstResponder platform created by Ekundayo. Watch their conversation here.
Who Lives on Me? Animation by Mackenzie Miller of the University of San Francisco’s ‘Artist as Citizen’ class Artist, Mackenzie Miller, a student of the University of San Francisco’s ‘Artist as Citizen’ class led by Sanctuary City Project’s Sergio de la Torre, created an animation of a United-States-shaped character calling for participation in the 2020 Census. Watch it here.
Olympics Cancelled, 2020 Census Still On by Miguel Arzabe Though a variety of scheduled events—like the Olympics—were cancelled or postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, the 2020 Census remains live, online, and an essential activity. Artist Miguel Arzabe created these graphics to be shared via social media and online explaining the ever-relevant long-term positive impact of the 2020 Census. View them here.
Professor Ronald Sundstrom on the 2020 Census Ronald Sundstrom professor at University of San Francisco talks about how the 2020 Census has been used in the past as a tool of oppression and as a resource for communities to advocate for visibility in the present. Sundstrom was a panelist in a virtual conversation: ‘Count Us In: Showing Up For the Census Right Now’ which happened online Tuesday, June 30 at 4pm PT and can be viewed here. The panelists discussed the power of the Census in addressing the inequities facing the Black community in the San Francisco Bay Area. This talk was presented in collaboration with Art+Action, SF Urban Film Fest, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Watch here.
Code Tenderloin and the 2020 Census Del Seymour, founder of Code Tenderloin, talks about how Code Tenderloin is promoting to the 2020 Census in the local community as a way to ensure everyone is counted. Seymour was a panelist in a virtual conversation: ‘Count Us In: Showing Up For the Census Right Now’ which happened online Tuesday, June 30 at 4pm PT and can be viewed here. The panelists discussed the power of the Census in addressing the inequities facing the Black community in the San Francisco Bay Area. This talk was presented in collaboration with Art+Action, SF Urban Film Fest, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Watch here.
Imprint City and the 2020 Census Tyra Fennell, CEO of Imprint City, talks about how Imprint City is educating the local community about how the 2020 Census can be used as a tool for equal representation. Fennell was a panelist in a virtual conversation: ‘Count Us In: Showing Up For the Census Right Now’ which happened online Tuesday, June 30 at 4pm PT and can be viewed here. The panelists discussed the power of the Census in addressing the inequities facing the Black community in the San Francisco Bay Area. This talk was presented in collaboration with Art+Action, SF Urban Film Fest, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Watch the conversation here.
Yesica Prado and the 2020 Census Photojournalist Yesica Prado lost her housing in San Francisco while she was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. Part of her work in Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America? is a series of photographs that look at the culture of vehicular living in the Bay Area. By being part of this network of people who are temporarily experiencing homelessness, she shares why she feels it is so important for her community to complete the 2020 Census. Watch here.
Maria Paz and the 2020 Census Maria Paz is a self-taught artist who uses ceramics to transform her memories into sculptural objects. These works pay tribute to her family and her Chilean ancestors through an homage to ceramic artifacts that also serve as objects of healing. Paz grew up undocumented in the United States. She uses her work to reflect on her intersectional identity and give visibility to the intimate stories in her personal history. Paz’s sculptures are featured in Art+Action and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ art and civic experience Come To Your Census: Who Counts in America?Watch Paz speak about why the 2020 Census is personally and collectively vital.
SOMOS VISIBLES: 2020 Census Go behind the scenes with artists Arleene Correa Valencia and Ana Teresa Fernández as they demonstrate their artwork SOMOS VISIBLES and discuss their personal connection to the 2020 Census. SOMOS VISIBLES is a collaborative project that takes a political stance on visibility through the use of high visibility ready-to-wear safety gear present throughout many labor industries. SOMOS VISIBLES is a part of Art+Action ‘s Come to Your Census campaign and planned to be featured in Art+Action and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ art and civic experience Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America?. The project was made possible through the generous support of Levi’s. Watch the video here.
Ask Me Anything: 2020 Census with Robert Clinton from San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs Robert Clinton is heading up San Francisco’s Census efforts to ensure that all communities are counted in the 2020 Census. Watch to learn more about the 2020 Census + why it’s so important to fill it out! The Census is live and online at my2020Census.gov. Fill it out today! View the video here.
The Butterfly Effect Migration is Beautiful: Census 2020 Art+Action Featured Artist, The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful, raises awareness and inspires action to end child detention. Mirroring the ethos of the 2020 Census that every child and family counts, this youth-led art initiative leads us through an art-making activity to remind all families to complete the 2020 Census at www.my2020Census.gov. Claim your fair share by filling out your Census by September 30. Watch the video here.
Acción Latina Cuenta Conmigo Paseo Artistico’s “Cuenta Conmigo” Special on the 2020 Census livestream featured Spanglish poetry and stories by Yosimar Reyes and a retrospective of activist visual art by Cece Carpio. The event was hosted by Chris Cuadrado. This digital event was co-presented by Art+Action + San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs on Facebook LIVE on Thursday, May 7th at 6PM PST. Watch it here.
See Black Women 2 Part Panel A two-part conversation featuring nine Bay Area Black Womxn Artists and Curators about visibility, grief, and our present paradigm shift in culture and practice. To insist upon being seen and heard is an act of resistance. Telling one’s story, recording a community’s legacy, and creating visual representations of one’s ancestry are methods of resisting erasure. Black communities have been undercounted in the decennial Census for decades, disconnecting them from past generations, and disadvantaging their families, communities, and neighborhoods by depriving them of political representation and funding—for healthcare, food assistance, public transportation, child care, and senior centers, schools, housing, and more. As part of Art+Action’s Come To Your Census movement to inspire and mobilize Census participation by all communities, particularly those who have historically been marginalized, Art+Action commissioned the See Black Women Collective to contribute artwork that specifically invites the reader to “see and recognize” Black women’s lives and labor, for their outdoor public media Census campaign. As one pillar of Art+Action’s larger initiative of artist commissions, public programming, community events, exhibitions, and performances, a billboard by the See Black Women Collective—co-founded by Ashara Ekundayo, Angela Hennessy, Leigh Raiford, PhD, Tahirah Rasheed, and Lava Thomas—will be on view in San Francisco at 3rd and Thorton streets from mid-May through June. See Black Women artists Lava Thomas and Angela Hennessy also have artwork featured in Art+Action’s city-wide outdoor campaign, as well as in the coalition’s free open-sourced digital toolkit, which provides communities with creative resources to galvanize their communities to participate in the Census—now live and online through October 31—to claim their fair share of resources and political representation for the next decade. In their role as a Lead Partner in the Art+Action coalition, YBCA has teamed up with Coalition Partner the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) to host independent curator and arts organizer Ashara Ekundayo in conversation with eight Bay Area Black Womxn artists to talk about visibility, grief, and our present paradigm shift in culture and practice. How do we cite and honor our existence? How do we ensure our labor is acknowledged and our stories are heard for us to receive our fair share—both in civic and artistic arenas? Join us for a two-part conversation that will take place on Tuesday, May 19, and Tuesday, May 26 from 4-5:15 pm PST. Participants include Asya Abdrahman, Sydney Cain, Erica Deeman, Angela Hennessy, Tahirah Rashed, Lava Thomas, Sam Vernon, and Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo. Watch it here.
ArtTable x Art+Action: Come To Your Census Discussion and Happy Hour ArtTable hosted a conversation with the creative collaborators behind Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America? As part of ArtTable’s curatorial perspective virtual programming, ArtTable interviewed the curators, artists, and creative collaborators involved in this initiative, as an important model of how now more than ever, arts institutions are embracing collaboration and leaning into their role to advocate with and inspire our communities.The event was be followed by a 10 minute Census-taking ‘happy hour.’ For all who took their 2020 Census and sent proof to Art+Action, they have gifted an art sweatshirt by artists Arleene Correa Valencia + Ana Teresa Fernández as part of their collaboration SOMOS VISIBLES.