Guerrilla Arts Brigade
The Guerrilla Arts Brigade (GAB) is an open, democratic student group dedicated to using the arts as a means of building community at Hampshire, raising awareness around issues of social justice, and making our campus and college more beautiful and joyful. Based on the principles of the “Why Cheap Art?” manifesto by Bread and Puppet (below), we believe that making Art more accessible and abundant is important for the continuous human struggle to realize greater democracy and freedom in our schools, society, and world. Therefore, part of our political/artistic mission is to foster a culture of creativity and spontaneity at Hampshire by bringing Art into the open, directly to people in public spaces, as opposed to keeping it tucked away in galleries. With such a mission necessarily comes responsibility and accountability to the community, to people. We intend to take our roles and responsibilities as Artists-in-Community seriously – to continually and critically discuss what it means to create art that is mindful, appropriate, conscious, relevant, inspiring, beautiful, and in service to the entire Hampshire College family, and to carry out these ideals with integrity. To do this, /we must always work within community norms and school policies/, even as we intend to break social conventions. If and when our work as artists comes into conflict with school policies (for example, if/when we want to create a chalk mural or other installation piece on covered walls/surfaces such as the FPH tunnel), we must find democratic means of compromise by articulating our beliefs/thoughts/feelings in detailed proposals and working with CLA and other offices to recreate community norms that continue to reflect our school's progressive politics and creative spirit. The group's broad intentions to “build community through the arts,” and “make our campus more beautiful and joyful,” then, are at least twofold in their practical paths of action, with one path more creative and the other more dialogical: on the one hand, we will create conscious (“guerrilla”) Art in public spaces within school policies and regulations; and on the other, we will continue to work democratically with the school to make those policies/norms ever more progressive for the cause of making Art more abundant and accessible on campus.
Because we are a democratic group, specific projects will emerge from the creative collaboration of the people who choose to become involved. One regular practice that has already established itself in GAB's brief existence as an unofficial student group has been the all-community creative gatherings on the library lawn, where every two weeks or so we gather to play music, dance, speak poetry, and make art together to celebrate the spontaneous creativity of the human spirit.