Location: Oakland, CA
Region: North America
Founding: 2019

The Art In Resistance fellowship was established by artists and changemakers to simultaneously support artists and movements for social change when there is a profound need to uplift beauty, solidarity, and resistance. The inaugural Art In Resistance Fellowship, awarded to Melanie Cervantes and Dignidad Rebelde, was designed to support proactive movement art, public education, and the interplay between art, community organizing, movement building, and social change. 

The two year fellowship provided a stipend and benefits to facilitate innovative art production and practice that demonstrated a strong partnership with community leaders, social justice campaigns, and movements.

About the Inaugural Artist 

Nationally recognized artist Melanie Cervantes (Xicanx) calls the San Francisco Bay Area home. It is where she creates visual art inspired by the people around her and her communities’ desire for radical social transformation. Cervantes’ intention as an artist is to create a visual lexicon of resistance to multiple oppressions that will inspire curiosity, raise consciousness, and inspire solidarity among communities of struggle. She holds a BA in Ethnic Studies from the University of California Berkeley. 

Since receiving her stipend, she has created important work that has called attention to the atrocities occurring at the US/Mexican border and called for an end to family separation and deportation. 

Her work is housed under the banner Dignidad Rebelde, a graphic art collaboration she co-founded with Jesus Barraza. Dignidada Rebelde produces screen prints, political posters, and multimedia projects. Barraza is an interdisciplinary artist with an MFAs in Social Practice and Visual Critical Studies from California College of the Arts. Dignidad Rebelde is a member of JustSeeds Artists Cooperative, a decentralized group of political artists based in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

As the stipend wraps, Cervantes and Dignidad Rebelde will continue to influence how we think about social issues facing the world — introducing her model of art activism to the Center For Empowered Politics, a new movement capacity-building organization that aims to train and develop new leaders of color and grow our movement infrastructure.