Who Are AAF
Mission Statement and History
Artists Against Fascism is a collective of artists, activists, researchers, and community-builders who explore interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches to understanding and opposing fascism within our own communities, but also as a collective.
Most of the members of Artists Against Fascism are based in the United States within smaller cities, towns, and rural areas affected by the emergence of local neo-fascist and rightwing populist groups. Our members come from diverse political backgrounds, class backgrounds, ages, and artistic interests. We work collaboratively with collective members as well as outside organizations and individuals to educate on, support, and build anti-fascist coalitions.
The Vermont College of Fine Arts mission statement states: “We believe that the arts are central to the human experience and have the ability not only to reflect reality but also to create it.” The AAF group builds on this mission, echoing the words of the anti-fascist American Artists’ Congress, whose members, on February 14, 1936, wrote:
A picture of what fascism has done to living standards, to civil liberties, to workers’ organizations, to science and art, the threat against the peace and security of the world [. . .] should arouse every sincere artist to action.
We artists must act. Individually we are powerless. Through collective action we can defend our interests. We must ally ourselves with all groups engaged in the common struggle against war and fascism.
There is a need for an artists’ organization on a nation-wide scale, which will deal with our cultural problems. The creation of such a permanent organization, which will be affiliated with kindred organizations throughout the world, is our task.
A brief history of our collective:
In the summer of 2017, a group of students, alumnx, and faculty from Vermont College of Fine Arts formed a research team called Artists Against Fascism. With members spread across the United States and Canada, we meet monthly online to support our collective study and interventions. The research group has organized a number of events and workshops on campus since 2017, and continues to create, research, and educate each other on the power of collective action.
What's next for AAF?
Since research has been the foundation and the initial inspiration for the formation of our group, we continue to engage in discussions and projects that incorporate various styles of research. In the past we have created a zine with collective members, presented Anti-fascist workshops in partnership with Vermont College of Fine Arts, as well as support each others individual creative practices.
We are starting a new initiative within the AAF collective known as the Broadcast Series.
The Artists Against Fascism Broadcast Series hosts panel discussions with leading artists, activists, scholars, and community builders on a variety of subjects under the larger topic of how art practice and creative intent can be utilized in anti-fascist resistance. As artists, we seek to bring together the personal and the political, putting knowledge and subject matter in a social context. We believe that this negotiation of perspective is a crucial component to opposing the rise of fascism by cultivating a collective social consciousness that is research based, analytical, and fluent in thoughtful debate while also being empathetic and supportive of one another.