All of a sudden, there is a rush of things art to look forward to. Some, like The Metropolitan Museum’s reopening on August 29th, are soon to come, while others are happening right now. One of them that we all need to know about is an online auction of original art staged and organized by the Pen and Ink Brigade.
Pen and Ink Brigade, founded by a group of women artists, is an artists-activists collective that has been disrupting the adjoining spaces of art and social action since 2016, invoking the power of art to effect progressive change. Its founding members, whose work you likely have come across in best-loved children’s books illustrations or well-known magazines and newspapers, have spearheaded fundraising art projects that highlight women artists while also helping to empower women in politics.
This time, Carin Berger, the Brigade’s co-founder and award-winning artist, along with Kristen Balouch, Kimberly Ellen Hall, and Shelley Kommers, has organized “STAND UP,” their most significant online art auction to date. The virtual part — a result of the pandemic, also enables simultaneously highlight a vast number of artists—a 100 of them to be precise, that are as diverse geographically as they are professionally. The contributing artists include a prominent artist and fervent civil rights and gender equality activist Faith Ringgold, Laureen Greenfield, an artist and a documentary photographer, as well as many others — animators, picture-book creators, New-Yorker cartoonists, photographers, and textile designers. They all, however, have one common goal — to raise money to benefit EMILY’s List, an organization whose mission is to “elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.”
While the goal of the fundraiser is social and political, it is still all about art. And it is fitting that with this project, as it is always in creative pursuits, the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. The participants’ art pulled together became a work of art in its own right, a collage that causes one to take a long look and consider the parts as if seeing them for the first time.