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The Connection Between Social Movements and Art

Aja Monet and phillip agnew Discuss Art and Love

— July 20, 2020 — Keynote Trends
This inspiring talk by poet Aja Monet and community organizer phillip agnew explores the duo's relationship as well as the "powerful connection between great social movements and meaningful art."

"A love story about the power of art as organizing" takes its audience through how Monet and agnew met and fell in love, beginning with agnew's childhood in Chicago and Monet's in Brooklyn. agnew describes how he got his start as a community organizer during his time at Florida A&M University, explaining how the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012 impacted his life and the lives of his peers and how it was a catalyst for his community involvement moving forward. Monet discusses her avid interest in books, poetry and music from a young age and describes how neighborhood murals, local theater and a poetry club during her high school years shaped who she is today. She also speaks about her time at Sarah Lawrence Collage where she worked with artists to respond to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Aja Monet and phillip agnew also describe a trip to Palestine where they met, featuring a delegation of artists and organizers who took in the Palestinian culture while discussing the role of art in politics. Fast forward a few years later, the duo speak about moving in together and go on to spotlight Journey to Smoke Signals Studio in Miami, the duo's "home and community art space where they're creating a refuge for neighbors and creators -- and imagining a new answer to distraction, anger and anxiety."