unleashing creativity


As an artist, I have a unique appreciation for the Wisconsin uprising. In addition to the usual outrage about the extreme right takeover of our state, I feel a thrill that so many people are expressing themselves in amazingly imaginative and creative ways.

The every-weekday Solidarity Singalong at the Madison Capitol brims with original protest music and artistry. For over 200 days, during the noon hour, hundreds of people have been singing with a lot of heart—though not much talent or experience—and we’ve been told that, against all odds, we’re starting to sound pretty good!

Meanwhile, banner artistry has blossomed. One Solidarity Singer, Val, created the banners you see in these photos. She is a young mom with four children, yet she finds the time to sew expressions of the songs we sing. Look closely and you can see that they tell stories—including the crank phone call from “David Koch” to Scott Walker, orange-shirted Democrats shouting “Shame!” on the Assembly floor and Supreme Court Justice Prosser choking Justice Bradley.

And at least a dozen instrumentalists have learned through lots of practice how to play well together. Since they sound better every week, they’ve gained the name Learning Curve.

I shot this two-minute video of the Learning Curve’s impromptu jam session on October 21. It’s guaranteed to make you smile in solidarity.