Jesus and I were reached out to by San Leandro High’s Social Justice Academy teacher, Ari Dolid, to do an artists-in-residency in Spring. We ended up teaching a series of class on how to design a political poster and are now getting ready to celebrate the opening of the exhibit of their work at Anna Edwards Gallery here in Oakland. Check out the press release below and come by to the opening of the exhibit next Thursday if you have a chance. This is another group of the next generation of radical graphic artists.

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The students of the San Leandro High School Social Justice Academy, with support from local San Leandro artists Melanie Cervantes, Jesus Barraza, and Anna Edwards, will be exhibiting their poster art at a show titled “Art For Empowerment,” May 28-June 26th 2009 at the gallery of Anna Edwards. The celebratory opening reception, which is open to the public, is scheduled for May 28, 2009 from 5:00-8:00pm at the Anna Edwards Gallery at 237 E. 14th Street, San Leandro, CA 94577.

Art for Empowerment illustrates the vital role of visual arts in social justice movements. Student artists utilize the power of words and images to commemorate heroes, summon calls to action, and raise awareness about struggles that resonate with the core values of the teen social justice movement at San Leandro High School. The prints are intended to remind viewers of the important work that needs to be completed in our communities and in our world.

As part of the Social Justice Academy Guest Artist in Residence Program, artists Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza taught a two-week series of workshops about using art for empowerment in social justice movements. Both deeply passionate and knowledgeable about social justice art, Cervantes and Barraza began the workshop series with a history of social justice art, and led the students through the process of issue choice, poster conceptualization, and skill development for using vector-based computer drawing and graphics and image editing software to manipulate and arrange images and words in their posters. Closely tied to California English Language Arts Content Standards, the workshop series illustrates creative ways to engage students in school curriculum through teaching, empowering, and creating long lasting community partnerships.

The students’ work will be for sale during the exhibit, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Social Justice Academy so it may continue building its Arts for Empowerment program. Ms. Edwards, who is donating the use of her gallery space for the exhibit, has open gallery hours on Thursdays from 1-6 pm.


If you’d like more information about The Social Justice Academy or to contact the artists above, contact Ari Dolid at 510-332-0125 or