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Crazy In DC!

So I've been spending a lot of my time at the Manifest Hope gallery in Georgetown, mingling with the other artists and trying to connect with gallery attendees about my painting. Yesterday was the big Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial, and though I tried to make it over there before it ended, I guess I lost track of the time at the gallery and by the time I walked over there, the 600,000 or so folks in attendance were all leaving. It gave me a good taste of what it's going to be like on Tuesday, though, only 3 or 4 times that.

The air is positively electric here, and it's so cool how many folks from all over the country and the world are here. While waiting for the bus last night, there were folks from Seattle, Miami, Switzerland and France all standing around me. And the artists who are at the show are from all over, too. I can't wait for tomorrow. It's gonna be insane.

I've uploaded some more pics to my Flickr page, though still not all of them. I just don't have a lot of time online to upload stuff, so the bulk of it will have to wait until I'm home, I guess. (The pic to the right is from the opening party.)

Today is MLK Day. Lots going on in the city, even though it's threatening to snow. Me, I'm mostly hoping to hook up with some fest friends and then going to enjoy the big closing party for the Manifest Hope show tonight at the gallery.

Oh, in related news - did a video on making your own Inaugural gear and they featured my stencil! It's near the end of the video, so watch all the way through the Shrinky Dink DIY. Check it out:

OK, I gotta get off this thing and go get ready for my day. Hopefully more later.

Manifest Hope:DC Opening Last Night

Last night was the special preview/press party for the Manifest Hope:DC art show. When they said it was "private" and only open to collectors and press, I really thought that would mean a small crowd, an intimate gathering. Wow, was I wrong! There were hundreds, probably at least a thousand, people who crammed into the huge two floor gallery space that was chock-full of Obama art. It was amazing. And frankly, overwhelming.

I just uploaded a small amount of pics to my Flickr page, cuz I'm catching wifi wherever I can (right now I'm at Whole Foods grabbing some free wifi, but it's damn slow!), but hopefully I'll be able to upload more sometime soon. I took pics of all the artwork on the walls and some of the artists.

A jazz band and a theatrical group from the Duke Ellington performing arts school performed for the event, and I learned that 10% of art sales would be donated to the school, which is awesome. Shepard Fairey spoke for a brief moment on stage, downplaying his role, modest as always. His new wall-sized canvas looks awesome. (That's the pic above.)

No, I did not get to meet him. In fact, other than when he was on stage, I didn't even see him at the event. Perhaps there was some VIP area that I was unaware of. I did meet Yosi Sergant, briefly, when I first got to the gallery a few hours before the opening. Things were very hectic in there all the way up until the moment they let folks in. I pitched in helping Lauren from the Irvine Gallery placing labels on all the artwork for about two hours, which was actually kinda fun, getting an up-close-and-personal preview of all the amazing work on the walls. I was happy to help out and wished I had gotten there earlier in the day to have been more helpful.

So the opening itself was mostly just chaotic and crowded and I didn't really know anyone until Pooh - who I am staying with - arrived after getting off work. I did meet and hang with artist Shannon Moore, who was one of the winners in the green category of the art contest, who I've mentioned here previously. And I got to give Ken from The Obama Art Report a big hug. But it was sort of hard to figure out who the artists were, since I didn't know what anyone looked like. I'm going to drop by the gallery today in hopes of catching some of the folks in a more relaxed, less crowded atmosphere.

OK, that's it for now. More thoughtful blogging later when I have more time. Must get moving now.

Manifest Hope:DC Winners Announced

I don't have a full list of the winners, but if you hop on over to the Manifest Hope:DC site, you can see pics of all the winning designs with a listing of who made them. Congratulations to all the winners, and I guess I'll be seeing all them soon!

I'm almost all the way packed. I printed up five dozen Obama "Believe" t-shirts today - I have to take a whole extra carry-on bag to get them up there. But hopefully I'll sell them all and won't have any to bring home. I just have to get all my electronic gadgets together now, and I'll be all set. I'm ready for the cold, and ready to soak in this experience. I'll be updating from the road, so check back in the coming days for my reports from our nation's capital.

Happy inauguration, everyone!

Getting Excited About DC!

Well I'm finally done with most of my pre-trip deadlines and obligations, and now I'm just spending most of my time on the internet trying to compile information about getting around D.C. and what I might do while I'm there for a week. I leave on Thursday and will be there for a week, returning home the following Thursday. So exciting!

Since I last blogged, the "44" show in Bethesda, MD took place, last Saturday, to great success. The picture to the right is from the show, featuring musician Yoko K. performing and you can see my prints on the wall in the background. Big thanks to Shannon Moore for including my work. (And congratulations, too, as Moore just learned that she won the "green economy" category of the Manifest Hope contest and will be exhibiting in the show! Yay!)

Oh, and I printed up a small run of my "Believe" shirts to take with me to DC, too. I put them up on my Etsy site as well, but if you don't order by tomorrow, you'll have to wait until I get back for me to ship it to you. If you're going to be in DC, you can get one from me there.

My Manifest Hope:DC Press Release

I'm sending out this press release in the morning, to see if I can drum up some more publicity about my impending trip to DC. It's a pretty good summary of my year with this design. Oh, and yes, that's one of my Manifest Hope:DC pieces there, to the left.

New Orleans Artist Margaret Coble To Participate In Inaugural Art Show Manifest Hope:DC

Among the throngs of Barack Obama supporters making the trek to Washington D.C. for the President-Elect's inauguration later this month is local artist and crafter, Margaret Coble. The Mid-City resident was invited to participate in a high profile pre-inauguration show of what has become known as "Obama Art," artwork inspired by and made in support of Barack Obama's campaign for president over the past two years.

The Manifest Hope:DC show - similar to the first Manifest Hope show that was showcased in Denver for the Democratic National Convention last August - takes the Obama art phenomenon one step further now that Obama is the President-Elect, challenging artists around the country to create and submit artwork on themes of health care reform, workers' rights, and the green economy, in a nationwide contest. The winners - five from each category - will also be included in the Manifest Hope:DC gallery, alongside artists whose work has come to define the Obama Art movement.

Coble was asked to participate based on her "Believe" stencil design, which she created last February while still displaced by the levee failures of Katrina in Louisville, KY. "I was originally inspired by Shepard Fairey's now iconic "Hope" and "Progress" posters of Obama, which spread like wildfire through the underground street art community and then eventually hit mainstream pop culture and were embraced by the campaign itself. I felt like this was the most important election of my adult life, so I wanted to do my part, as an artist - however small - to help his campaign."

Being an independent, self-supporting artist/crafter and part-time music journalist, Coble couldn't really afford to make donations to Obama's campaign outright. But, inspired by many other grassroots artists creating for the campaign, she made her "Believe" stencil design and quickly started selling prints and t-shirts online and at local art markets, setting aside $5 from each sale for the campaign. All told, she was able to raise over $600 to donate to the campaign from the sales of her wares. "I would have never been able to come up with that kind of donation out of my own pocket."

Through exposure via her web page, she was asked to donate her design to the production of 20,000 bicycle spoke cards, an idea hatched by California PR whiz and Obama campaign volunteer Yosi Sergant. An avid cycling advocate, Sergant wanted to target the biking community, specifically in Portland, OR, ahead of the Oregon primary last May, highlighting Obama's pro-biking and sustainable-community platforms. With Shepard Fairey's help, the spoke cards were made using Coble's design, and distributed via bike shops, volunteers, and the website

Coble was finally able to return home this past summer, and found the New Orleans community very receptive to her design. In the months just prior to the election, Coble teamed with to distribute 1000 stickers utilizing her design, which she gave out for free at local markets and Obama rallies at Tulane University and downtown. Her stickers were also included in Stickerobot's highly collectible, limited edition "Election Collection" sticker packs, which are now sold out.

Between the prints, t-shirts, spoke cards and stickers, Coble has amassed quite a bit of national and international publicity, including mentions in LA Weekly, Paper Magazine, Business Week, the, and Her design even appeared on the cover of Norway's largest news-magazine, Aftenposten Innsikt, as well as one of Berlin, Germany's daily newspapers, Der Freitag.

In addition, her prints will also be showcased this month in two additional "Obama art" gallery shows - one in the Dominican Republic, and another in Bethesda, Maryland.

For the Manifest Hope: DC show, she chose to send two 18"x24" stencil paintings on canvas, which feature a larger version of her "Believe" stencil with folk-art style writing around the edges. "I missed out on the Manifest Hope show in August due to being out of town, so I really wanted to have the chance to show my 'Believe" design off to a larger audience," Coble says. "The words around the edges drive home the intent of the design, which hasn't really changed now that Obama has won the election: Believe in Obama, as a leader and a man of integrity and honesty, but more importantly, believe in us, the people, in our collective ability to work together, with Obama at the helm, to put this country back together again and fix the messes left behind by the Bush administration. Believe in hope, in unity, and in our future together."

Complete info about the Manifest Hope:DC show and nationwide art contest can be found at:

Two More Obama Art Shows I'm In This January

Lots going on right now for me, art-wise... so let me get you caught up.

First, in connection with the Manifest Hope show that I've already mentioned in this blog, I got an email last week offering the following:

"On January 6th the Transitional Government is holding an intimate gathering with some of the highest-ranking officials in the upcoming administration including David Plouffe, David Axelrod, John Podesta and many others. As some of them will not be able to attend our gallery, they have requested to preview works of the artists participating in Manifest Hope: DC!"

Needless to say, I sent my paintings up early! (Ohmygod, is this really my life? Is this really happening?) Though I nearly killed myself in the process of figuring out how to properly package them and then get them to the FedEx place in time, they went out on Friday and were delivered this morning. Hopefully they will be deemed interesting enough for this event tonight. Very exciting.

In addition to all this, my Obama "Believe" prints will also be making appearances in two more Obama-related gallery shows in the month of January.

The first is a private collection exhibit of Obama art at the Barna Business School in the Dominican Republic, organized by collector and artist Glennys Anglada. You can see a video that captures the enormity of the show on YouTube, though sadly my print is not represented due to shipping damage that delayed its inclusion. (I think it should be up in the show now - I hope!) The exhibit opened November 18th, 2008 and will remain up until January 31st, 2009. In Anglada's own words: "The exhibit is about art, is about propaganda, is about a movement, is about a collector's passion to acquire and an artist's passion to create. It is my personal way to show in my country the president elect "Barack Obama as viewed by artists" — a political figure that has the potential to be a world leader."

The other show is also part of the pre-inaugural excitement in the DC area. It's called 44 - Music and Art Inspired by Barack Obama, and will take place Saturday, January 10th, 2009 from 5-10pm at the Heineman Myers Contemporary Art Gallery (4728 Hampden Lane, Bethesda, Maryland). From the press release:

Celebrating the hope and vision for the future represented by the Obama presidency, the event will include music by Yoko K.. A private collection of Obama art will be displayed in the gallery space. This Not-For Sale exhibition features work by artists Margaret Coble, David Choe, Antar Dayal, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Paul Gardner, Scott Hansen, Felix Jackson, Jr., Rafael Lopez, Amy Martin, Michael Murphy, Mr. Brainwash, Ray Noland, Alex Ross, including artists' designs produced by printing house "Burlesque Designs," sold through "Upper Playground," a street art merchandiser.

Shannon Moore, also based in the DC area, will unveil her recent limited edition silk screen print portraying a potential presidential ticket of Malia Obama and Chelsea Clinton in 2044. (Pictured above.) This print will be offered for sale at the event, along with art work by Michael Murphy and Robert Strasser, for those who would like to start or augment their own Obama art collection.

In the spirit of the times, guests will be asked for a $10 donation, and all proceeds will be given to charity causes. The beneficiaries of the event include "Cakes for Cause," and "Non-Violence International,"

NOLA Rising and United For Peace Paint Party - 01/10/09

I just wanted to make folks aware of this event taking place next weekend. Willow and Feather are old friends of mine, and I've been to their house and seen the amazing artwork Willow has done to memorialize her son and work through her grief. It truly speaks to the transformative and therapeutic power of art, which is definitely one of the things NOLA Rising has tried to convey around our fair city post-Katrina. Read on for the details, and I'll see you there!

From NOLA Rising's blog:

"Heart of my heart, Love will never die." - "Willow"

Our friends at Silence is Violence have asked for a call to action to make the point that New Orleanians are tired of the inaction when it comes to making our city streets a safer place to enjoy. Here is NoLA Rising's response to Silence is Violence in their call to action: We are surrounded by violence and little seems to be happening to ensure public safety. There are many culprits in why this systemic failure continues to occur and while we'd like to point fingers at all of the particular leaders who day after day do nothing, it would get us no further. In the spirit of NoLA Rising, we plan to take action through art!

NoLA Rising is honored to announce a Paint Party at the house of Susan "Willow" Schroeder, who tragically lost her son to murder in 2001. To lift her out of her grief, she painted a work of love in dedication to her son David, making her home a beautiful expression of the love she felt for him. Sadly, Willow's tale is like so many other New Orleans crime tales, where no one has even been arrested in the shooting death of her son.

The tragedy doesn't end there, however. Willow and her partner Feather, have had to endure discrimination for all of the emotions that have been painted out. One neighbor has tried consistently to have the house cited and actively researches ways to fine them. Quoted in the Times-Picayune, the neighbor questioned: "Does a grieving mother have the right to deface public property because her son died?" because she painted the sidewalk immediately in front of her house. New Orleans is a city that welcomes unique forms of expression and NoLA Rising believes that this is a house worthy of such expression.

Long keeping in the philosophy that "Art can heal the wounded soul!", NoLA Rising sees the individual struggle of a loving mother a perfect place to host a paint party against the senseless acts of violence in New Orleans. It's a way to create something beautiful out of tragedy and I can think of no other way to voice opposition to the lackluster response of those responsible for maintaining public safety. We will also be joined by our friends at United For Peace who will also be creating artwork for a fundraiser to build a center for mothers and families of those lost to tragic violence.

United for Peace will have on hand 15 doors for people to paint their own vision of peace in New Orleans. One door will be given to Willow's family and the rest will be auctioned off at a benefit in March to help Mothers Hurting Because of Violence. Clothing will also be provided by United for Peace for painting and decoration.

Please, honor a fallen son and a fallen brother by joining NoLA Rising and United for Peace at David's House in the 3000 block of St. Peter around noon, Saturday, January 10th (2009) for a paint party. Bring your paints and prepare to make artwork that can proudly be displayed outside of homes across this city. Make artwork that inspires change! Let your voice be heard through artistic expression. Let the leaders of the city know that you will no longer tolerate the scourge of violence that plagues New Orleans. Paint the change you wish to see!

Following the paint party at David's House will be the after-event for the Dinerral Shavers Educational Fund. At Howling Wolf, there'll be a 9 p.m. concert featuring the Hot 8 Brass Band, Soul Rebels, Free Agent Brass Band, The Stooges and a number of other brass bands. Admission is only 10 dollars.

Times-Picayune article on David's House

WDSU coverage of David's House

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