Boycott! The Art Of Economic Activism Comes To Iowa

boycott2_2Scattergood Friends School in West Branch will host a traveling art exhibition sponsored by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) March 31 through April 11.

Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism features poster art from more than 20 movements from the 1950s to the present, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, United Farm Workers’ grape and lettuce boycott, divestment from South Africa to protest Apartheid, boycotts of corporations using sweatshops, the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS), and many others.

Activists and solidarity groups have often responded to injustices by implementing boycott and divestment campaigns targeting companies and governments that support and sustain these injustices- and posters have been a primary tool for educating about the issues and inspiring people to action. This exhibition uses powerful posters to demonstrate the effectiveness of boycotts as a nonviolent tactic to end injustice and oppression.

In addition to the art exhibit, Scattergood, a 125 year-old Quaker boarding school, will also host a series of speakers. Events include a staged reading with Iowa Poet Laureate Mary Swander, and a screening and discussion of the film The World According to Monsanto.

Iowa AFSC director Kathleen McQuillen will open the exhibit March 31 at 7:30 p.m. with Dr. Maureen McCue, a founding board member for the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights involved with peace and justice efforts through her participation in a number of local and national groups. Dr. McCue will deliver a talk entitled “Reading Economic and Social Status on the Body.”

On April 9 at 7:30 pm, Iowa Poet Laureate and playwright Mary Swander will moderate a discussion following staged readings from her plays Vang and Map of My Kingdom. Mary Swander is a fourth generation Iowan, and a Distinguished Professor of English at Iowa State.

Other events will include a panel of youth activists speaking to the power of youth-led activism, moderated by AFSC Middle East Peace-Building organizer Katie Huerter  at 2 p.m. on April 11.

Scattergood students will moderate a free viewing and discussion of The World According to Monsanto Saturday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. on campus.

Ed Fallon will close the exhibit April 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a talk titled, “Turning Passion in to Activism.” Fallon will have just recently completed a 400-mile walk following the path of the proposed Dakota Access Oil Pipeline. In 2014, Fallon organized and led the Great March for Climate Action, one of the largest coast-to-coast marches in American history.

The exhibit will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from March 31 through April 11; additional visiting hours may be arranged upon request by contacting Scattergood Friends School is located at 1951 Delta Ave., east of West Branch, Iowa.

For more information on the art exhibit and events, contact Christine Ashley, head of school for advancement and development at 319-530-7149 or

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