Designers Tackle Social Justice Through Art

For Page Principal / Branding & Graphics Director Carla Fraser, combining her passions for good public policy and great design is a dream. This spring, the I Heart Justice exhibition and fundraiser in Austin provided the perfect opportunity for Carla promote social change through art. The event, which Carla and Page Designer Kate Dibble helped organize, was a joint effort by Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to resolving social justice issues in the state, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), a professional association for design.

The exhibition featured posters by 20 artists from across Texas. Ten of the participating artists were well-known and established figures in the art world. The other 10 were selected from submissions to an open call for portfolio samples and statements of interest. In her role as one of five judges, Carla helped determine the second group of ten and was then paired with artists to act as a mentor. “I worked with several of the artists, including Edith Valle who did that stunning piece with the butterflies on the torch,” says Carla.

Artists were asked to address five themes: the school-to-prison pipeline, homeless youth, criminal justice reform, fair housing and financial services. All issues are fundamental to the mission at Texas Appleseed and the artists brought a diversity of voices to the table.

“Designers in our community care about these topics,” notes Carla. “I knew this process could highlight social justice matters in compelling ways—ways that succeed when words fail.” She emphasizes the universality of Texas Appleseed’s mission. “The more we learned about the issues, the clearer it became to me that they affect all Texans,” says Carla. “Only when we frame topics such as school-to-prison pipeline in a way that spans the political divides will we be able to engage in meaningful conversations to address them.”

Kate, who helped design the exhibition and its installation, notes: “The best way to begin to solve social issues is to create a place where an open dialogue can foster a deeper understanding of struggles members of our community face. We were thrilled to be able to support Texas Appleseed in its efforts to bring light to some of these key issues, while also providing a platform for the artists’ voices to be heard.”  

Page Principal / Branding & Graphics Creative Director Herman Dyal was also a juror for the exhibition and former Pager Jason Wilkens was as one of the featured artists.

To learn more about the participating artists and to see all of the 20 posters, visit I Heart Justice.