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NEA News

Art Builds for Educators

The Milwaukee-based Art Build Workers helps unions amplify their messages through inspirational art builds.

Over the years, the Milwaukee-based Art Build Workers (ABW) has organized educators around inspiring art builds, such as parachute banners that underscore educators’ commitment to racial and social justice and inspirational posters that highlight the need for great public schools for every student.

The motto for this work is simple: “Before the march and before the strike there is the art build.”

A colorful illustrated poster shows three racially diverse adults speaking at microphones and three racially diverse students studying at desks. The poster says, "Educators serving the needs of students."
Created by screenprinter Paul Kjellan and graphic designer Claudio Martine, this poster was produced for NEA's 2019 Representative Assembly. Credit: Paul Kjellan and Claudio Martinez

The group of artists—which includes educators, designers, photographers, and organizers—travel around the country organizing multi-day art builds that help unions and other organizations amplify their messages, change the way demonstrations look visually, and help create a space for movements to become stronger.

ABW first connected with NEA in 2018, during its Racial and Social Justice Conference and the Representative Assembly, where they painted 15 parachute banners. Since then, they’ve participated in other major union events, including the six-day strike that led nearly 30,000 educators to march on the streets of Los Angeles in 2019.


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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.