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Paint ready for street mural at Wells Fargo bank. (Photo: Brooke Anderson)

Defund Line 3 Art Solidarity: We Will Paint the Future

Resistance to Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota is escalating.

David Solnit

When we rise

You will hear the music

When we rise

We will paint the future

—The Peace Poets

"By funding Line 3, major banks are funding the violation of treaty rights, police violence, and the climate crisis. But next month in July, there are three major loans to Enbridge, worth nearly $5 billion, that are up for renewal. Banks like Wells Fargo, Citibank, JPMorgan, and Bank of America must use this opportunity to not renew those loans and to walk away from their complicity in this awful project," explains Alec Connon, co-coordinator for Stop the Money Pipeline, the global network fighting to defund fossil fuels.

This is why NDN Collective and Stop The Money Pipeline network are calling for solidarity—a week of Arts Visibility Actions to Defund Line 3—from July 12 -17. 

We have created arts resources: poster designs, songsheets, street mural instructions and a DEFUND LINE 3 ART KIT to help support arts-based resistance actions.

ARTS CAN CHANGE THE STORY TO WIN THE CHANGE

Using the arts (visual art, music, song, poetry and spoken word, performance, crafts and culture) can perhaps most effectively change the stories or narratives needed to win changes. Art can powerfully build participation, groups and movements, while keeping our spirits strong.

As longtime Minneapolis artist-organizer Ricardo Levins Morales explains, "Humans are story-driven. We make choices according to how we understand the world to be. Art speaks directly to those deep inner spaces where the stories are stored."

"Elevating art and song into the movement and the Defund Line 3 campaign is how we bring joy and beauty into our organizing. Art reminds us that we are not alone and we can create the world we want to see together." says Amy Gray of Stop the Money Pipeline, coordinator of the Week of Action.

DEFUND LINE 3 POSTER ART DESIGNS

Cover of Poster Art Newspaper Project. Design by Cy Wagoner

Eleven movement-engaged artists have created a powerful set of designs for people to use during for the week of action; they can be downloaded at the Defund Line 3 Art Kit, or request copies of them already printed up as a newspaper for groups that will use them publicly; wheatpaste, make action signs, of publicly display. As artist Isaac Murdoch says, "It is with great respect and dignity as artists that we share our visions and hearts to the world. The power of uniting people through art for change is no doubt one of the most important acts on the planet."

 STREET MURALS: PAINTING THE FUTURE

Paint ready for street mural at Wells Fargo bank. (Photo: Brooke Anderson)

In the last decade, street murals—giant murals actually painted on the pavement in the streets—have spread as a creative tactic of climate justice and other movements. It's powerful to take over and hold public space, and to create beauty and art with many hands, often while singing or listening to song and music.  Street murals are being used widely by climate justice movements to stop Line 3, and will be a part of the week of action. Here are  some recent examples, and a little about what's involved in painting street murals. Street muralists have mostly used tempera paint, the water soluble paint often used by kids in schools because it's non-toxic and washable. They have also used clay paint in earth tones, which can be made from dried ceramic clay, clay powder, or from clay soil that can be mixed up. Using permanent latex house paint is a more escalated challenge to authorities than tempera paint (used in many Black Lives Matter street murals—some permitted, others not), and chalk-only is a less challenging option. Chalk can be painted over with water to smooth and make it look more like paint. Using barbeque charcoal briquettes for black, and sheetrock scraps for white, (ask at lumber or building supply and remodel job sites if they have scrap sheetrock) can reduce the costs of sidewalk chalk and give you a strong black. Location can make a difference; sidewalks are less challenging than streets, and some groups may choose to do a mural in a parking lot or driveway with the blessing of the church, community center, or owner.

Here's a few examples of line 3 street murals:

Last February in Oakland, CA community groups, organized by Idle No More SF Bay, 1000 Grandmothers C. MMIW & P and others took over the street in front of the Oakland Federal Building to call on Biden to reject the Pipeline.

In April, 2021,  the Bay Area climate justice movement  painted "WELLS FARGO DEFUND LINE 3" over an entire three lane wide block of the street, with ten community groups doing smaller murals within the space.

Moira Villiard designed a chalk mural at Gichi-ode' Akiing as part of a march and rally against Line 3. (Photo: Akilah Sanders-Ree)

1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations mural at Wells Fargo. (Photo: Brooke Anderson)

Community members shut down banks as part of May 7 Defund Line 3 global day of action. San Francisco. (Photo: Arthur Koch)

 

 

During the May 2021 Treaty People Gathering, a chalk mural was created across the road. (Photo: Ron Turney @blackcloudstudios)

 

Street mural from June action @libertymutual demanding they stop insuring tar sands pipelines. Mural design by Adonis Piper. (Photo: 350 Seattle, June 2021)

 

We have a step-by-step Street Mural Tips Guide in the Defund Line 3 Art Kit, which goes over details and encourages practicing together first.

 

GEOGRAPHIC ESCALATION: SPREADING SOLIDARITY

 

Resistance to Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota is escalating. This month saw thousands from across the country joining frontline activists and organizers during the Treaty People Gathering, using well-organized mass direct action to both shut down construction and to force the issue onto society's front burner and front pages. Many remain, bolstering forces with long term frontline activists.

Resistance has also been escalating geographically, spreading far and wide and using the arts-based tactics of resistance; from wheat pasted street posters, to painting street murals on the pavement, to sing outs and creative actions and disruptions of the banks that fund and profit from Line 3 and fossil fuels. As the Seattle-based People's Echo song goes. "If we stop the flow of money, then we stop the flow of oil. Stop the money pipeline!"

On May 7th across 8 countries, 4 continents, and 50 U.S. cities, hundreds of climate and Indigenous rights activists took action at the 20 banks that have backed loans for Enbridge, the company constructing the Line 3 tar sands pipeline through Anishinaabe territory in Minnesota.

In the wake of the Biden Administration taking the side of big oil and destruction on Line 3 last week, Tara Houska tweeted, "Today, @POTUS @TheJusticeDept backed the Line 3 tar sands pipeline & encouraged the court to reject tribal & environmental concerns. This is a horrific failure of the government's duty to tribal nations, to climate science, to the sacred. The campaign to Defund Line 3 opens up another lever to stop Line 3--finance, as it also demonstrates public outrage to simultaneously push the Biden Administration, in the words of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, "to make the power structure of this nation say yes when they may be desirous to say no"

 

We will paint the future!

RESOURCES:

ART KIT: DEFUND LINE 3 ART KIT


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
David Solnit

David Solnit

David Solnit is an arts organizer with the Climate Justice Street Mural Project and co-author of "Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World," and co-author of "The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle."

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