There is a debt resistance movement building across the country. Disparate communities are finding common threads amongst our conditions of debt, building solidarity and mobilizing against the servitude and destruction caused by its immensity.
As part of this mobilization, Arts and Labor has initiated DEBT SQUARES, a series of open workshops inspired by the tradition of craft circles, during which everyone is invited to sew together fabric squares, express our personal relationship with different kinds of debt, and bring our shared conditions to the open.
We are not alone.
We are bringing this project into town squares, parks, art spaces, and community centers, all around New York City. On Saturday, October 6, at 1:00pm DEBT SQUARES will be at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, asking the following questions:
What are the relationships between cultural production and debt? In particular, how do the economics of the art world really work? How does the industry serve art workers? How is value created and traded? How does the role of patronage control the industry from commercial to non-profit? Why are so many people willing to work for free for so little return? Who has the power? Who ultimately benefits? How can we resist debt in the art world?
By initiating conversations about the financial risks art workers take to produce their art, the amount of student debt from BFA to MFA, the constant high cost of living in an expensive city, the industry’s reliance on serial unpaid internships, the precarious work with no healthcare or retirement plan in sight, we invite everyone to join us and discuss how we can build a more equitable future in the arts that is debt free.
Below is a loose color and size guidelines for each debt square. Improvisation and rebuttal is highly encouraged:
RED = Student Debt / Education
YELLOW = Mortgage / Housing
GREEN= Credit Card / Commercial
RAINBOW, PASTELS & PATTERNS = Love / Care / Friendship / Family...
Arts & Labor is a working group founded in conjunction with the New York General Assembly for #occupywallstreet. We are artists and interns, writers and educators, art handlers and designers, administrators, curators, assistants, and students. We are all art workers and members of the 99%. Arts & Labor is dedicated to exposing and rectifying economic inequalities and exploitative working conditions in our fields through direct action and educational initiatives. By forging coalitions, fighting for fair labor practices, and reimagining the structures and institutions that frame our work, Arts & Labor aims to achieve parity for every member of the 99%. www.artsandlabor.org.