Artistic expression has been used for decades to show hurt, pain, sorrow, and frustration, as well as hope, power, freedom, and change. Using art to capture real-time social movements includes depictions of peaceful protests and acts of rioting, and these photographs and screenshots have emerged to become community storyboards. Alongside other creative mediums – such as spoken word poetry, cinematography, painting, and graphic art – these collective works and images have taken center stage in telling the compelling stories happening today.
The whole nation fell silent when Amanda Gorman delivered her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration this past January. Ms. Gorman eloquently weaved past and present social issues into her main message of hope, birthright, and legacy, as well as diversity and unity. Her words celebrated the U.S., not as a perfect union, but as a country that has the grit to struggle with problems that are all too real. Ms. Gorman, and other contemporary artists, are ushering in the need for change.
Art has historically been an effective platform to communicate, bring awareness to social issues, and guide positive shifts. Much like the emergence of art and culture during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, we are now seeing a resurgence of Black culture via the arts as a movement to ignite change, combined with media influence and the opportunity to support a more hopeful narrative. The City of Coatesville, like many other communities, has tapped into local artists to tell its story, build community resilience, and shape media by sharing its own narrative.
Coatesville Black Media Renaissance (CBMR) Initiative
Under the Brandywine Health Foundation’s Community Voice priority, the City of Coatesville has partnered with local artists and artisans to create a vehicle that amplifies important social issues impacting the community. These residents, entrepreneurs, activists, and regional artists have set out to create a platform that informs and influences local policies and media stories, using artistry as a tool for social movement.
The CBMR initiative seeks to advance community-identified social issues by shaping a positive narrative on the perceptions of Coatesville through community-wide programming and events focused on:
- Hosting panel discussions with local artists, entrepreneurs, and activists on various topics.
- Using filmmaking to cultivate and support youth activists.
- Launching an inaugural Black Expo to showcase local artistry.
As Strategy Officer with the Brandywine Health Foundation, Kimberly Daye Hardy leads community engagement and grantmaking and oversees the nonprofit’s health initiatives, scholarships, and philanthropic programs, including Community Voice. Read more about the Brandywine Health Foundation’s impact.