Resist 2.0 local art show provides political outlet


Photo courtesy of Rachel Kinney

“You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It Too” by Rachel Kinney depicts a urinal cake inside of a urinal. The painting is supposed to convey a message to all men, especially men in power, who have ever sexually assaulted or harassed a woman.

By Megan Bradley, Staff writer

Last year, Shannon Peroco posted a status to Facebook stressing her strong feelings against the presidential administration. She never thought that would result in her becoming the co-founder of an art show rooted in resistance.

Resist 2.0, co-founded by Percoco and Katie Snyder, will take place for the second time this year on March 10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Independent Media Center in Urbana. The purpose of the show is to give artists a place to share art that was created with resistance in mind and to donate to local charities.

“We also wanted action. So we decided instead of just showing art, which is awesome in its own right, we wanted to have a fundraiser that would help different organizations and that would benefit people that were people targeted by the current administration,” Percoco said.

The organizations Resist 2.0 will be supporting this year are Black Lives Matter C-U, Courage Connections, Three Spinners, R.A.C.E.S and the Independent Media Center.

The Independent Media Center is committed to using media as a tool for promoting social and economic justice in the Champaign area. IMC’s mission lines up very well with the work that Resist does, so they donate their space to the event.

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    “Resist is an event that intersects art, community voice and protect,” Robert King, IMC board president, wrote in an email. “That genuinely speaks to a strong component of what we hope the IMC would provide to our community. It is an opportunity for expression in a raw and realistic way. Resist is a collaboration between people who want to contribute to the community conversation happening today.”

    The IMC is one of the few spaces with movable gallery walls. Resist can feature multiple artists, have a space for various bands to perform and a separate room for a makers table. At the maker’s table, they sell pins, prints and will have a bake sale, so there is a place for anyone to donate, even if they are not interested in spending larger amounts on the artwork.

    Percoco and Snyder wanted to be sure they were bringing diversity into Resist 2.0 by seeking out artists of color who might not have participated last year. It is important that all groups the administration is singling out are given the chance to participate in Resist 2.0 because inclusion is what the event is all about.

    “I thought it (Resist) supported the local artist community; some people who had never shown before felt empowered by or emboldened by what’s going on in the world enough to just come out and say ‘Hey, I want to try showing this,’” Snyder said. “So when I was thinking about it last year, I thought if it’s just 10 artists and people come together as a community that lifts each other up through the arts, if that’s all it did, I would’ve been happy with that.”

    Surprisingly, for Percoco and Snyder, Resist had 65 artists and three bands last year. This year, there are almost 70 artists participating, including Percoco herself, and four bands.

    Snyder said historically, tumultuous times lead to an outpouring of art that then brings the community together and lifts people up, which is what Resist 2.0 aims to do.

    “Considering the draw and marriage between art and protest is the current space that we find ourselves in society today,” King said. “So art provides a voice to those who don’t have a voice, it is the starting point to (a) discussion around the results of a particular art expression. Art in our community is one of the most compelling ways that we bring people together to admire and discuss issues collectively.”

    Not all artwork involved in Resist has to be resistance themed. Snyder and Percoco allow any artist who is interested and who registers for the event to bring and showcase their artwork. Submissions will be accepted through March 3.

    Other than any theme of artwork, Resist also accepts any medium of art. This year, there will be wearable art, short films and an engineering student from the University showcasing an interactive art experience.

    Percoco and Snyder both said they are happy to host Resist 2.0 again, but Snyder said she would never have expected it would be so necessary in light of the current political situation.

    The important thing for both is spreading awareness that there are multiple ways to be an activist in the community, so everyone can incorporate activism into their lives. For Percoco and Snyder, who work at Centennial High School and the Museum of the Grand Prairie, incorporating activism as part of their lives outside of work is vital for their mental well-being.

    “Resistance doesn’t have to be ‘anti’, it can be uplifting as well. So even the act of coming to our event, where we give 50 percent back to charities supporting those being hurt, is resistance,” Percoco said.

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