Updated: Feb 8
We are excited to tell you that, despite the myriad ways Covid-19 challenged us this past year, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics has continued its work in all areas of collecting, curating, and educating. We have also started a major new project that will both protect the future of our work, and disseminate it widely. We are asking you to be part of this transformative and critical project. Here is what we faced: the offsite digitizing studio we had been using for more than a decade closed; pending exhibitions were cancelled (including one in Paris subsequently returned); and in-person researchers were unable to visit the Center, while requests for our online resources increased. We responded to these challenges by designing an in-house digitizing project that will launch in January. Through grants and the generosity of our supporters, we raised the $24,000 needed to purchase an ultra-high resolution digital camera and lenses, a dedicated computer with professional photo-editing software, studio flash lamps, and other equipment to achieve archival digitization standards. In addition, we have just hired an archivist dedicated to this project. But to succeed, we need your help to raise $25,000 to hire a part-time archival assistant and $15,000 for a customized internet viewing program to enable full access to our online collection. Anyone anywhere will be able to access the archive through digital "folders"—almost as if visiting in person—and at no charge to the user! This feature will also have the ability to magnify details (such as fine print) without compromising the rights of the artists who made them.
CSPG began digitizing thirty years ago, and now have 8,200 posters online. This may sound like a lot, but we have more than 90,000 posters and more are donated every year. Our goal is to put between 10,000–15,000 posters a year online. You support us because you know that posters are powerful. They not only record our history of activism and protest, but are central tools for activists and organizers to protest injustices and show what an alternative future might look like. Forty years ago, a poster changed my life. Seven years later, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics was founded to document how posters have played a critical but usually uncredited role in challenging governments’ policies and changing peoples’ lives. CSPG grew dramatically because people from all over the world—including many of you—began donating their posters, their histories, and their dreams for a better world. CSPG’s responsibility to care for and disseminate the stories of these artists and activists grows with every donation. Our project is more critical than ever. We are living in very dangerous times—and Covid-19 may be the tip of the dangers the future holds. The climate catastrophe is accelerating faster than predicted yet the world’s leaders are unwilling to make more than token policy changes as they continue to kick the sustainability rock down the road into our children and grandchildren’s future. We are on a precipice of social upheaval and change. We are simultaneously witnesses and actors in what may well be the most existential moment in our history—when life as we know it is deteriorating rapidly. If there were ever an historical moment where people need to be educated, empowered, and activated—it is now. Please be as generous as you can. For peace with justice, Carol A. Wells Founder & Executive Director