Looking for something to do Saturday afternoon? Head over to Modclair on Oct. 24 from 3 to 6 p.m. to meet Montclair artist Amy Putman and check out her political art showcase.
The event showcases Putman’s political art, highlighting her powerful mixed media piece called “Stop Here” – an authentic piece detailing the migrant experience.
“I’m motivated by issues of social justice,” Putman said. “’Stop Here’ was created in collaboration with photojournalist Tish Lampert whose poignant, powerful photographs from the border inspired me, and who gave me access to use them in this collaboration. This allowed me a unique opportunity to create authentic work that bridges the realism of the photos, and the surrealism of the migrant experience.”
The event will be held at Modclair at 623 Valley Road and all guests are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide details plans for arrival as space is limited. Facemasks are required and social distancing rules will apply.
Putman is passionate about creating art that makes people not only think, but feel, and hopes “Stop Here” does that for viewers. The showcase will offer the release of an extremely limited-edition, hand embellished print of “Stop Here.”
When Putman read in The New York Times that parents of 545 children separated at the border cannot be found, she decided to transfer her outrage and concern into her art.
“I want my work to become a visual record of the times we are living in so people never forget,” she said. “Throughout human history, dark times have stimulated bursts of inspiration and creativity. I am just a small and grateful part of that.”
Becoming a Political Artist
Putman first created art for activism in 2000 when her friend and colleague at CBS News Donna Dees Thomases asked her to help design a logo and write a slogan to help launch and brand the Million Mom March, a movement for common sense gun laws.
When the event garnered an estimated number of one million participants through the physical march and satellite events, Putman realized it was important to use whatever skills she had in order to enact change.
“Since then, I have always worked to help bring attention to issues of social justice, movements and causes,” she said. Putman has been able to help non-profits like SKIP of New York and the The Trust for Trauma Journalism, where she is a board member. She has proudly received the “World Changing Award” from Fast Company for her work on the Fair Food Program.
“But it was when Trump won the 2016 election and became President that I began devoting myself to creating political art,” she said. “It began with his promises to build a wall. His hateful rhetoric is terrifying – and motivating. Creating political art is a way to express feelings for which I have no words.”
Supporting the Montclair Art Museum & Gente Unida
The event will offer a meet and greet opportunity with Putman, who will be available to answer any questions guests may have. A portion of all proceeds will go to the Montclair Art Museum and Gente Unida, two organizations near and dear to her heart.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have the Montclair Art Museum in town,” she said, describing it as a gem for those “who take advantage of it and attend its incredible exhibits, events, classes and education programs.” Currently, her piece “Sister in Green” is in the museum’s Personal Landscapes exhibition where it will remain through January.
Putman’s involvement with Gente Unida began after meeting founder Enrique Morones at the “Exposing Migration: The Spirit of the American Dream” exhibit.
Morones created the “Door of Hope” event at the border, which is the event Lampert photographed that inspired their collaboration.
Gente Unida is devoted to supplying housing, food, medical help and legal aid for families that are caught in the crossfires of our current immigration policies.
For those who would like to see the show and can’t see it on Saturday, Oct. 24, it will be up through November.