WHITEFIELD — The Artists’ Rapid Response Team, a project of the Union of Maine Visual Artists, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Broad Reach Fund, to continue creating positive social change in Maine through the arts.

ARRT! has been working for about a year to create issue-oriented banners to promote the work of progressive nonprofits throughout the state, to help them gain media attention, hold public officials accountable and shape public opinion.

“We were very impressed with the quality and volume of the work done last year (by ARRT!), the amount of press it garnered and the successful relationships developed between artists and many of the social justice groups we also support,” said Deborah Felder of the Broad Reach Fund.

The grant will allow ARRT! to continue the work, expand the roster of clients and pay participating artists a small stipend for their work. “The grant is a very exciting acknowledgment of the art we’ve made and a real boost to help us fund even more work,” said artist Natasha Mayers, project coordinator.

ARRT! meets monthly, usually in Brunswick, and includes artists from throughout the state. ARRT!ists share their images, text ideas and concepts, critique and distill the graphic designs and work together, seeking feedback or assistance as they paint.

They’ve painted more than 45 banners to be used at demonstrations, rallies and press conferences, and town meetings, as well as constructed puppets and art objects to enhance parades and marches.

Some of the groups that ARRT! has been working with include: Thanks but No Tanks, MaineAllCare, Alliance for the Common Good, Maine 350, Maine People’s Alliance, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Stop the Corridor/ Friends of the Piscataquis Valley, Move to Amend, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, Global Network, States United Against Gun Violence, March against Monsanto, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Southern Maine Workers’ Center, Defending Water for Life, and Community Water Justice.

Member ARRT!ists include: Nora Tryon, Anita Clearfield, Suzanna Lasker, Chris Higgins, Robin Brooks, Corliss Chastain, Richard Brown Lethem, Doreen Conboy, Ed McCartan, Brita Holmquist, Kenny Cole, Dianne Sinclair, Karen Wainberg, Robert Shetterly and Natasha Mayers.

For more information, see the group’s Facebook page or contact Natasha Mayers at 549-7516 or [email protected]

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