New York’s Social Justice Arts Nonprofit Groundswell Celebrates Twenty Year Anniversary

Groundswell, New York City’s premier social justice arts non-profit, will celebrate twenty years of public art and activism during the organization’s annual Art Bash at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg on Monday, November 13, 2017. The event will include a silent arts auction, curated by contemporary artist and illustrator Ricardo Cortés, of over 30 artworks generously donated by emerging and internationally renowned artists and leading galleries including Shepard Fairey, Nicole Washington, Nadia Westcott, Tim Okamura, Ricardo Cortés, Mike Perry, and DonChristian Jones. Ninety cents of each dollar contributed will directly support Groundswell’s programs for New York City youth. Groundswell was established in 1996 by a group of New York City artists, educators and activists, who believed that collaborative art-making empowers communities and provides a platform for social change.

Twenty years later, the organization has brought together artists, youth, and community organizations, transforming over 500 public spaces in over 75 neighborhoods. In this time, they have engaged 95 artists and thousands of underserved young people. Groundswell’s projects beautify neighborhoods, engage youth in societal and personal transformation, and give expression to ideas and perspectives that are underrepresented in the public dialogue. “We know that art, community and young people have always led the way to truth, light and liberation, so we are thrilled to commemorate Groundswell’s twenty year legacy with fellow lovers of art and justice.” said Executive Director, Robyne Walker Murphy, “I am excited to honor Groundswell’s legacy by presenting the Commemorative Advocate Award to our fierce Founder, Amy Sananman. As well as honor Dred Scott’s inspirational commitment to artivism and Council Ritchie Torres’ unwavering support to historically marginalized communities.”

Tackling issues such as transgender Latina empowerment, restorative justice for formerly incarcerated youth, gender-based street harassment, and the relationship between police and communities of color, Groundswell confronts complicated social issues by transforming blank walls into sites of community dialogue. “Working with my brothers this summer has been an invaluable experience,” said youth artist Kamal James (20) who painted a mural entitled “The Fall of Oppression” in Bushwick. “Painting helped me redirect my emotions of being a man of color into something more powerful and beautiful.

Thanks to Groundswell, specifically the teaching artists Raúl (Ayala) and Ashton (Agbomenou), I’ve learned to be more tolerant of others and uncomfortable situations. I carry a lighter bag now.” “Flight of Freedom,” Groundswell’s 500th mural, focused on the theme of immigrant rights, was dedicated on August 31, 2017 in Brooklyn alongside three additional murals completed this summer at New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing developments. The Benefit will honor Groundswell Founder Amy Sananman, artist Dread Scott, and Council Member Ritchie Torres, each of whom has made a unique contribution to Groundswell over the organization’s 20-year history.

This year’s Groundswell Art Auction Benefit is proudly supported by 2017 20th Anniversary Sponsors Bloomberg Philanthropies & Sugar in the Raw; Community Partners Hayward Industries, Blick Arts Materials, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; and Partners Kickstarter and Bogopa Service Corporation.

Groundswell’s Annual Art Auction Benefit

Monday, November 13, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Wythe Hotel at 80 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Tickets start at $220, sponsorships from $5,000

Art Auction: Begins October 30 and closes November 13

More information at:
Online Auction at:

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