The world being what it is, there are a lot of collective moments happening at the intersection of art and activism. Here are a list of cultural events taking place in the coming days, which mostly either tie in to Martin Luther King Jr. Day or the inauguration.

Joel Christian Gill, Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History

Saturday 1/14

Crafting The Dream: Living The Legacy (La Salette Shrine, 12:30pm)
“Join us for an inspirational afternoon led by Historian, Illustrator & Author, Joel Gill. Mr. Gill is the Chair of Foundations and Faculty at the New Hampshire Institute of Art as well as CEO of Strange Fruit Comics. Mr Gill’s presentation will be followed by a community pot luck meal, please bring a dish to share as your donation to this entertaining event. After our meal there will be local talented artists and community organizations who will provide a variety of artistic mediums to express your feelings and thoughts about Crafting the Dream ~ Living the Legacy.” This event is family appropriate.

Letter From Birmingham City Jail (Mixed Magic Theater, 7:30pm)
“A dramatic interpretation and reading of Dr.Martin Luther King’s letter from prison. In the letter he expresses his hopes, frustrations and anger concerning the lives and living conditions of Black Americans. He “calls out” and demands accountability from church, business and political leaders in an effort to effect immediate and lasting change.” This is a Pay What You Can event.

Writers Resist: Rhode Island

Sunday 1/15

#WatchPaintDry (online, 1/15-1/21)
“#WatchPaintDry is grassroots action for artists of all kind to live-stream their art and disrupt social media channels during the 2017 US Inauguration events. The plan is to have so many people live-streaming themselves creating/performing/reporting/protesting that there will be a complete social media take over, as well as, alternative content available to people who would rather #watchpaintdry than watch the inauguration coverage. Anytime from January 15th – January 21st just “go live” from one of your social media accounts (FB live, periscope, YouTube, Instagram, whichever you prefer), make sure the post is set to “public”, in the description write “#watchpaintdry,” and that’s it!”

Social Justice Phone Banking: Pipeline Edition (186 Carpenter, 11am-2pm)
The folks from Interdependence Days are working with Sara Dager on this (potentially) monthly event focused on phone activism. “We all know that the fight for NoDAPL isn’t over and two more proposed pipelines are actively being fought by First Nations people, a hell of a lot of people are involved in making these pipelines a reality, acting to destroy Native Land and endanger the water supply for millions of people. Let’s raise our voices and a little bit of hell in hopes of helping. Come on down to 186 Carpenter from 12-3 (open writers hours beforehand, if you need some down time beforehand to gear up,) myself and the interdependence day group will be offering lists of numbers to call (state reps, investors, etc,) scripts for those of us who aren’t so great with improv, and even some snacks.”

Writers Resist: Rhode Island (Salve Regina University, 2pm)
Over a dozen local writers will convene at Salve Regina to present their own variations on inaugural speeches.

“Four friends meet in Atlanta for a wedding. They sit on the groom’s porch shelling peas and reflecting on their childhood friend, Martin King, and their own roles in the Civil Rights Movement. Through stories,songs and memories- “FATE” takes us on a journey full of hope and belief in the future.”

A Furtive Movement: The Use of Farce (AS220, 6pm)
“The first and only public reading of AS220 Youth’s own Vatic Kuumba’s new play, A Furtive Movement: The Use of Farce.  Vatic’s play is also the 2nd project to be a part of AS220’s Community Live Arts Residency Initiative. This event will also contain an Ice Cream Social for Justice” in which members of the community can contribute their own stories to the play-in progress.”

The Ghostlight Project at Trinity Rep

Thursday 1/19

Nasty Women RI (Hera Gallery, 1/19-1/21)
A 3-day group popup exhibit that invites all female identifying artists to come togther as a show of solidarity against the attack on women’s rights, and the rights of all people. Nasty Women RI is also a fundraiser, with 100% of art sale to benefit Madre.

The Ghostlight Project (Trinity Rep, 5:30pm)
A national event happening simultaneously outside theaters across the country, where people will gather “to create a light for dark times ahead, and to make, or renew, a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion of everyone regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

Where Do We Go From Here?: What America Can Learn Today (6:30pm)
“The United States has a history of strong uncertainty and ideological clashes dating back to its inception. Join us as we explore the Civil War, Reconstruction and the unfinished business of uniting America. This discussion panel will highlight the historic complexities of the time and how we have progressed. What can America learn today?” With Kerri Greenidge, Tufts Center for the Study of Race and Democracy; Dr. Julia Jordan-Zachery, Providence College Director of Black Studies & Professor of Public and Community Service Studies; Keith Stokes, Vice President 1696 Heritage Group.

Emory Douglas lectures at RISD Auditorium

Friday 1/20

Pay What You Can Admission (RISD Museum, 10am-5pm)
The RISD Museum is one of a small handful of museums to respond to calls for a general art strike on January 20. No one’s actually closing their doors, but admission will be waiver for the day. “As many will mark inauguration day with boycotts, we invite you to look closely and think deeply in our galleries free of charge on January 20.”

Artists React Pop-Up (Dryden Gallery, 5pm)
“Reactions to the inauguration of the next president through art.”

Emory Douglas (RISD Auditorium, 7pm)
“An artist, educator and human rights activist, Emory Douglas served as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967-80. Best known for his political drawings and cartoons in the Black Panther Newspaper, he articulated the injustices experienced by African Americans living in the inner city, the growing militancy and organization among urban black youth in the face of police violence and the need for community-based social programs.” Tickets must be reserved in advance and will be open to the public on Monday 1/16.

Inauguration Protest Show (AURORA Tommy’s Place, $5-7)
Downtown Boys is hosting a protest show that also includes Hairspray Queen, Vatic Kuumba, and guest DJ Thomas Van Buskirk from Javelin.


Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been? (Epic Theatre Company, 1/22, 3pm)
“The subject of this riveting and unusual drama is the infamous HUAC hearings in the 1950’s, in which figures from the world of show business were subpoenaed to testify as to their loyalty as Americans and asked to name any and all communists or suspected communists in their industry. Assembled directly from the transcripts of the hearings, the play uses the actual words spoken by the likes of Lionel Stander, Abe Burrows, Lillian Hellman, Larry Parks, Elia Kazan, Jerome Robbins and Jose Ferrer. Equally revealing are the questions asked by the committee members.”

 The Laramie Project (Angell Blackfriars Theatre at Providence College, 1/27-1/29; 2/10-2/12)
“Based on two years of interviews following the vicious murder of 21-year old Matthew Shepard by two Laramie citizens, the play illuminates the atmosphere in the town, the media attention on the trial that followed, and the aftermath of a tragic death that encouraged a national conversation far beyond Wyoming.”

Other (Less Arty) Events That Might Interest You

note: check out Greg Cook’s much more extensive list (which I am partially ripping off) for other relevant events throughout New England

1/12: Resist Hate – NW RI Chapter Meeting (Greenville Public Library, 6pm)
“Discussing environmental justice, LGBT rights, statewide hate reporting hotline, and March on DC and in RI. At Greenville Public Library, Rhode Island.”

1/12: Beloved Community: An MLK Celebration (Calvary Baptist Church, 7pm)
“A collaborative effort of the Center for Reconciliation/Episcopal Diocese of RI, Temple Beth-El, Youth Action Council of RI for Community & Justice, Calvary Baptist Church, Grace Episcopal Choir, RI Philharmonic Music School, RI Council for Muslim Advancement, Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, and RI State Council of Churches. Free community event.”

1/14: Resist Hate RI Community Meeting (Hope High School, 2:30pm)
“The plan is to begin with an hour of organizing and action updates – there’s a lot of action now that the new Congress and the state legislative session have begun. Then, at the request of a lot of participants, there will be a number of trainings available for folks who would find them valuable.”

1/15: Save Our Future (Rhode Island State House, 12pm)
“Our Revolution rally at the Rhode Island Statehouse in Providence “for the raising of the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, protest the removal of Obamacare, and protest the appointments of Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon and others.”

1/16: MLK Day Candlelight Vigil (Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, 3pm)
“ISPN founder Sister Ann Keefe passed away on January 18, 2015. She never let an opportunity to discuss nonviolence and her Beloved Community pass her by. As we look ahead in the new year, we are focused on being a community of “do-ers” as Sister Ann called us to be. Her spirit and tenacity ignited our work and we will continue to honor her memory by carrying her mission forward.
Sal Monteiro, Director of Nonviolence Training, will give a brief introduction followed by a short multi-faith prayer.”

1/17: The Challenge to Civil Liberties in the Age of Trump (Hera Gallery, 7pm)
“Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU of Rhode Island, speaks.”

1/20: January 20: PVD Walkout in Solidarity (Rhode Island State House, 11:08am)
“On Friday, January 20 at 11:08 AM, the same time of the Trump inauguration, students from Providence high schools will walkout in protest against the racist, xenophobic, sexist, and homophobic policies of the Trump administration and gather on the steps of the RI State House in solidarity for student and community rights.”

1/20: Inauguration Day Rally Against Trump and the Right-Wing Agenda! (Rhode Island State House, 5pm)
“Rally at the Rhode Island statehouse on inauguration day to fight against Trump and the right-wing agenda. We must organize against attacks on racial minorities, the LGBT community, and immigrants.”

1/20: Resist Trump: Occupy Inauguration Fall River (Fall River Government Center, 6pm)
“We will gather and peacefully on South Main St. to hold signs by Fall River government center and Bank of America – who donated over $4,333,453 towards Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.”

1/20: Irish Wake For The Obama Administration (Trinity Brewhouse, 7:30pm)
“Enjoy sipping on “Nasty Woman” or “Bad Hombre” cocktails. Cash bar and no charge for admission but please make a contribution to The Lady Project or Youth Pride Inc. when registering.”

1/21: Families and Educators Against Racism and White Supremacy (Montessori Community School of Rhode Island, 12pm)
“We are looking for people interested in building a multi-racial group/community of caregivers, families, and educators committed to ending racism and white supremacy!! We want to center the voices of the next generation by including kids, youth, and educators! We want a space for families to connect! Let’s gather to talk about what people would want out of a group/community like this.”

1/21: RI Women’s Solidarity Rally (Rhode Island State House, 1pm)
“Organized by women, The RI Women’s Solidarity Rally is a fully inclusive, NON-VIOLENT movement to unify and empower everyone who stands for human rights, civil liberties, and social justice for ALL. This historic rally will be one of 50 events happening in 50 states on January 21, 2017!”