The Importance of the Vote, Reflected through Art

As we all know, a highly-anticipated election is coming up this Tuesday. This election in particular is extremely nerve-wracking as it decides the fate of the USA for the next four years. At last, there is a hope that we can usher in new leadership, and with that, a restoration of justice, and a potential for change in our country.

During fractious and uncertain times, people have historically turned to art as a creative outlet. That is no less true this election cycle, where we have seen poignant statement pieces crossing virtually every medium. Below, please see just a few of our favorite works of art pertaining to this election, urging Americans to go out and vote.

Written by Kathryn Cooperman

Edits and contributions provided by Katie Constantine, Catherine Harlow, and Morgan Moore

Cover image per Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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Image per Time Magazine.

For the first time since its inception, Time Magazine removed its name from the cover, replacing it with the word “Vote,” and an image of a masked woman depicted by artist Shepard Fairey, who created the iconic Barack Obama “Hope” poster.

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Image per Allure Magazine.

In a photoshoot for Allure Magazine, Selena Gomez pays homage to her Mexican heritage while emphasizing how necessary it for us to go out and vote, since our lives may depend on it.

Taylor Swift has agreed for her new song, “Only the Young,” to be featured in a political ad for a Democratic super PAC. The video displays footage of Black Lives Matter protests, and police brutality amidst those protests. The song portrays a hopeful message that, through our vote, we can start to enact change in this country, and work to achieve justice for people of color.

This Instagram is run by baker Becca Rea-Holloway, who creates cakes to promote activism. Her GoFundMe, “Fuel the Vote,” is set up to support Black and Brown communities, who have historically been held back by voter suppression, and to help ensure that they have the chance to vote this election cycle.

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Image per New York Magazine.

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, a tremendous amount of polling stations closed, and many voters did not have the chance to receive the highly-coveted “I Voted” sticker. In response to this, 48 artists created their own versions of the sticker, in a collaboration with the organization I am a voter and New York Magazine.

Artist Ernesto Yerena, in collaboration with photographer Arlene Mejorado, designed this poster, entitled “Our Future,” of A’aniiih Athabascan woman Shalene Joseph. The poster emphasizes the importance of the Indigenous vote – there are 5 million Indigenous people in the USA, and their participation can help influence the outcome of the election, specifically in key rural and swing states.

Contemporary artist Charles Gaines produced this evocative poster for W magazine. It portrays a Trump quote, in which he denies the validity of science, and juxtaposes this quote with a horrific image of smokestacks and trees engulfed by fire. The image portrays just how horrible the effects of climate change have been this year, implying that we will need to vote in new administration in order to hope to see any change.

The Center for Cultural Power is dedicated to promoting social justice through art. Recently, they have produced some beautiful and poignant images, which you can check out on their Instagram, encouraging voters to mobilize for human rights.

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Image per Artnet.

The Guerrilla Girls, a feminist, activist group of artists, designed this poster for Plan Your Vote. It speaks to the importance of the woman’s vote, specifically that of women of color, who have historically been disenfranchised.

Image per Artnet.

This image, by Hank Willis Thomas/For Freedoms for Plan Your Vote, is targeted to undecided voters who choose not to participate, and illustrates how detrimental this can be to democracy. Not voting is in itself a political act.

In the comments, let us know which are your favorites, or if you have any others that you think we missed!


2 comments on “The Importance of the Vote, Reflected through Art

  1. Brilliant showing that the 3 forms of societal connections of art, music ,and food weave into every culture illustrated for thousands of years. The 3 forms being related artistically to each other happens to be the 3 common denominators that link us together as humans


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