Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-11-14
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Shannon Downey on artistic/activist 'craftivism,' other feats
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2018-02-07

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Activism has always been a part of Shannon Downey's life, going back to her childhood outside of Boston.

"In elementary school, our home was the union organizing center for the labor movement," said Downey. "For months our house was filled with people strategizing, making signs, mapping out districts and planning protests for the fight against an anti-labor ballot measure. I remember how exciting it felt to be standing on the side of the road with a 'Vote No on #2' sign as people drove by and beeped to show their support. Having a voice felt good and I was hooked."

Largely in response to Trump's election win, Downey closed down her marketing company this past July after ten years and took on the role of Director of Development at Asian American Advancing Justice | Chicago, an organization working for racial equity. Downey is also adjunct faculty at Columbia College and DePaul University where she teaches business and leisure theory classes.

In addition to her day jobs, Downey has channeled her activism into "craftivism."

"Craftivism is hand-made representation of one's activism in engaging and unexpected ways for an intended goal and cause and my medium is embroidery," said Downey. "My personal brand of craftivism is built around action and outcomes. I create art to inspire, instigate, engage, inflame, empower and incite people into action. I want everyone to use their creativity to find their voice and then use it."

Downey's fiancee, Pearl Dick, is also an artist and co-founded Project FIRE ( projectfirechi.com/ ) where she works with young people who have been injured by gun violence. Dick teaches them glass blowing and entrepreneurship. Last year, Downey launched a craftivism project around gun violence that included over 200 embroidery pieces from around the world and hosted a gallery show in collaboration with Project FIRE. The event had over 500 people attend the opening and through the sale of the art, Downey raised over $5,000 to fund Project FIRE's next semester.

"The most moving part was the letters I received with the submissions," said Downey. "Folks were so happy to have a way to do something that would have a real impact, an opportunity to take action. That is the very definition of craftivism for me."

Downey showcases her work on her website, Badass Cross Stitch ( BadassCrossStitch.com ). "Badass" is Downey's favorite word, she said.

"I love associating embroidery and cross stitching with the term badass because it creates a real sense of cognitive dissonance," said Downey. "I want folks to stop thinking about it as some precious or easily dismissed 'women's craft.' I started Badass Cross Stitch to inspire other people to join me on a journey to find digital/analog balance so they would put down their devices and create something meaningful, express themselves and say something powerful. I want an army of stitchers."

Her "Boys Will Be Boys" embroidery ( that she made the night the Trump Access Hollywood tape was released ) went viral and has been shared by celebrities such as Rose McGowan, Tracee Ellis Ross, Zoe Kravitz, Colin Hanks, Dita Von TeaseAmy Sedaris, Willow Smith, Padma Lakshmi and others.

"I thought for sure, this video was the smoking gun and he would never get elected after it was made public," said Downey. "My piece got some traction then but it got new life when a few celebrities shared it in response to Harvey Weinstein. It then became the illustration that hundreds of thousands of women used to share their #MeToo stories.

"That so many people around the world have used my art as the illustration to their own narratives is … well, a feeling that is beyond words. To have created something that spoke so strongly to so many is a testament to our shared experience as female-identified people. They are finding ways to stand up and raise their voices. I want to do anything and everything I can to keep that momentum going."

Downey also has a blog called "Seriously Badaass Women" ( SeriouslyBadassWomen.com ) that features the diverse, interesting, badass women she meets every day sharing who they are and what they believe in.

When asked which Chicago artists inspire her, Downey highlighted the work Dick does as well as feminist artist Judy Chicago, Matthew Hoffman ( the "You Are Beautiful" project ), Natalie Boyett ( Chicago Weaving School founder ), Francine Turk and Shawn Smith.

Downey also did a The View-like queer-focused webseries, The Gay Agenda, with co-hosts Mary Morten, Jim Bennett and Tony Alvarado Rivera a few years ago, which she said was a rowdy good time.

When she is not working on her own craftivism or other work endeavors, Downey leads many free community embroidery/craftivism workshops.

"I am about to launch a bunch more for 2018 around the giant global craftivism project I have cooked up ( www.badassherstory.com/ )," said Downey. "My goals are to teach one million people to embroider and get over a million female-identified and gender non-binary folks to participate in my craftivism project. So everyone should go sign up right now."


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Competition aims to bring starter homes to working-class families 2018-11-14 - As gentrification seeps into various Chicago communities, affordable housing sits on the opposite side of the table, especially in the design and architectural ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Battling Trump via art, an actor's superpower 2018-11-14 - Let's acknowledge one thing, after two years of misery: Our president is not stupid. He is not an idiot or moron. In ...


Gay News

HIV/AIDS researcher receives MacArthur Genius Grant 2018-11-14 - It seems unlikely in this social media ravaged climate to find a humble genius among us, but Yale University Assistant Professor Gregg Gonsalves ...


Gay News

3Arts announces award winners 2018-11-13 - Chicago-based nonprofit grantmaking organization 3Arts awarded 20 Chicago artists with unrestricted grants at the 11th annual 3Arts Awards Celebration Nov. 5, at the ...


Gay News

This Bitter Earth 2018-11-13 - Author: Harrison David Rivers At: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: TheaterWit.org; $20-$38. Runs through: Dec. 8 In bringing This ...


Gay News

AMA policy supports services for LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence 2018-11-13 - CHICAGO — While intimate partner violence ( IPV ) can occur between heterosexual or same-sex couples, efforts to address this public health problem ...


Gay News

Green Line Performing Arts Center opens 2018-11-12 - On Nov. 10, the Green Line Performing Arts Center, 329 E. Garfield Blvd., had its grand opening. Conceived by Theaster Gates, a ...


Gay News

Frida Kahlo works at Glen Ellyn campus in summer 2020 2018-11-09 - Glen Ellyn, Ill. — College of DuPage ( COD ), in partnership with the McAninch Arts Center ( MAC ) and Cleve Carney ...


Gay News

Late gay artist's identity, politics intersect at MoCP 2018-11-07 - Several small portraits of collage artist Ralph Arnold hang at the entrance of the Museum of Contemporary Photography ( MoCP ), 600 S. ...


Gay News

Olly Alexander, Out British singer on band, queer artists 2018-11-07 - British pop band Years and Years is composed of Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Turkmen. Their sound is mix of electronic, pop ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.