In the words of the great Paul Robeson, “artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.”
Building Healthy Communities, a program of The California Endowment that supports community engagement in order to build sustainable communities, is highlighting local artists to help create a healthy environment for all Californians.
Artists from Fresno will be celebrated at Manifest Justice, a large-scale pop-up art exhibition and community organizing event, and will be able to showcase their theme-driven work, which addresses issues like active transportation options, quality housing, healthy food access, improved environmental health, increased school attendance, parent engagement, and youth violence prevention.
Christian Vargas is a young Fresno, California artist and a member of a new generation of artists who are turning their communities into something beautiful with their artwork. Vargas revealed to Composite Arts Magazine:
“I feel like making art here forces you to figure things out for yourself. We’re only a few hours away from SF and LA, but still very isolated at the same time. So that forces you to learn by trial and error, or from your fellow artist, as a result I feel the art in Fresno is so much more raw and unique then what you would find elsewhere. [Fresno artists] are super supportive of each other and show up to all of each others art shows… so you never get that feeling of being in competition with each other.”
Manifest Justice has partnered with Art For Amnesty and Sons & Brothers to showcase the work of artists like Christian Vargas and to change the narrative surrounding young people of color. Manifest Justice kicks off on May 1st. Check out some of the artists’ creations below.