Art for Equity
Empowering young creatives.
Diversifying library shelves.
Art for Equity’s mission is to create public advocacy art and to diversify bookshelves across the Gloucester Public School District. We’re a student collaborative working to build more equitable, inclusive educational spaces by harnessing youth creative talent and providing thoughtfully compiled books and resources to educators, students, and families.
How it works...
Art is a powerful catalyst for social change and Gloucester is full of passionate young artists. Art for Equity aims to give them a platform, so each year the team funds and facilitates a public art project that addresses identity and social justice. The medium is flexible and students on the team and in the schools work together to create the piece. Last year we painted a mural on sailcloth for the high school field house!
Literature provides transformative experiences and helps expose young people to new ideas and perspectives. It can also help validate students’ own experiences and identities. Art for Equity wants to shift the paradigm about what authors one expects to see in a school setting, and this concept guides the work we do in classrooms and libraries. Art for Equity has three main channels through which we work to diversify bookshelves. First, we work directly with educators, purchasing the books they request for integration into curriculum or for their classroom collections. Second, we work with school libraries, selecting and providing a variety of titles for shared use. And third, we curate booklists to be referenced by anyone in the community. These lists are divided by approximate reading level and feature recommendations for people of all ages. They can be found on The Books page.
All books donated and recommended by Art for Equity are written by queer and BIPOC authors and amplify and celebrate the narratives of traditionally silenced voices.
The Art for Equity team is entirely volunteer based and we fund our work through a variety of sources. We rely on grants from nonprofits like The Gloucester Education Foundation and Awesome Gloucester, as well as support from local businesses and community organizations like The Sawyer Free Library, Rockport Mortgage, and Dogtown Books. We also do grassroots fundraising and art sales. An extensive list of our partners can be found on the Our Partners page.
What is Art for Equity doing right now?
As a 100% student-run collaborative, Art for Equity is often in a state of flux. This year we are lucky to have high school and college students in a variety of locations across Massachusetts (and even a few who are abroad!). To accommodate, we work on a flexible timeline that changes from year to year. This fall, we did a complete update of our book lists - making them more extensive and user friendly. Our lists are now divided into three categories - picture books, early chapter books, and young adult/adult books. Complete master lists are currently available as well as colorful, bite-sized poster versions with our top picks! We’ve also created bibliography with classroom-specific recommendations for grades 8-12. These are intended for everyone and we hope the community finds them valuable at school and at home.
This year’s art project is in the works and we are so excited to share more information about it as soon as we are able. We hope to begin working over the next month and complete the project in the late spring. Stay tuned!
Want to stay up to date with Art for Equity's work?
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Our handle is @art.for.equity and you can click on the buttons at the top of this page to find our pages.
We are also working on launching a newsletter via email and announcements about this will be posted here and on social media.
Want to support Art for Equity's work?
The easiest way to support us is to donate! To do so, please send us an email via our Contact page and we will coordinate the simplest way to make it happen. We are working on streamlining the donation process - thanks for being patient with us.
Want to join the team?
We would love to have you! We need students and community members of all ages to offer everything from artistic guidance to book recommendations. Interested parties should send us an email through our Contact page!