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maker playground

art of activism | all ages

Activists use the creative power of the arts to go beyond calling attention to political and social injustices and use their work to spark real change in the world around us. In this project, makers can learn about art activists who have impacted our society with their work and create their own artwork that pushes their audience toward change.


An activist is a person who notices something wrong in the world and does something about it. Many artists are also activists. They use their creative power to raise awareness and spark change through their art. Explore the work of these activist artists who combine the images and words in different ways to highlight injustice and inspire progress.

Faith Ringgold is a painter, sculptor, and author best known for her colorful story quilts that explore racial and gender inequality. Her works tell stories ranging from memories of the Harlem renaissance to disputes with racist neighbors to images of strong, successful women.

Glenn Ligon creates text-based paintings and sculptures that explore racial identity in American history. He is interested in how the past intrudes into the present and how history and other forces
shape the way we live.

Rirkrit Tiravanija prints powerful slogans on newspapers, photos, maps, flags, and currency to challenge societal norms. He focuses on the interactions between people and their surroundings and creates exhibits that enable the public to be a part of the art-making process.

Barbara Kruger is known for text layered over mass-media images that examine stereotypes and consumerism.

“I think that art is still a site for resistance and for the telling of various stories, for validating certain subjectivities we normally overlook.” – Barbara Kruger

Special thanks to our friends at Glenstone Museum for providing guidance on the content for this project.


Activists are driven to create change by learning about injustice, sharing what they know, and working with others to do something about it. Inspired by these artist activists, choose a problem in the world that you feel passionate about. Then create a work of art that uses images and words together to help others understand the issue and inspire them to take action.

  • What is something going on in the world that you feel is not okay?
  • What message do you want to send about this problem?
  • What words, images, or other elements can you use in your art to help you convey your message?

Need more inspiration? Check out these artists and others at Glenstone Museum, or head to an art museum in your area to find your inspiration.


Once you know your subject, start experimenting with text, images, and other artistic elements to create a strong impact.

When your masterpiece is complete, send files or photos to us at