Start Up


Getting the group together – you’ll need:

1. Regular, central place to meet – it helps to have a large space/studio where you can work. Is there a school or existing artists coop that you can partner with to share space? Many organizations have a commitment to help in the community and are happy to get points for hosting community groups. Or, perhaps an individual artist has a studio that would provide ample room to spread out large banners for painting.



2. A few committed people to get the ball rolling – decide who will be the contact person, how you will get the word out to other artists.


3. Supplies – can you pool your materials and even get donations? (Maybe artists who can’t make it to the painting session want to help by donating).

What we use:

  • canvas (will need to be gessoed or buy it pre-gessoed), or blackout curtain material that is wide, inexpensive, and doesn’t need to be gessoed.
  • acrylic paint (can be artists’ paint, house paint or hobby paint or any combination)
  • brushes, containers (can be yoghurt, cat food tins, cups, muffin tins, etc. — we find plastic egg cartons are great for creating a multi-cup palette).
  • chalk (to draw the design)
  • paper towels, rags. We find sponges for non-stick surfaces can be used as erasers to wipe chalk off banners
  • drop-cloths (we cover everything: walls, floors and table tops because we have a commitment to keep the studio clean where we work)
  • thumbtacks (if it’s OK to tack drop cloth to wall and then tack banner up to work on)
  • grommet-maker – We finally invested in a grommet machine, but the little hammering kits can be effective, as having grommets in the banners allows them to be hung

4. Nonprofit groups that want banners

(See info on contracts and tips for partnering with nonprofit groups)

  • define your group’s mission and areas of concern so you can effectively
  • explain what you do when contacting nonprofits
  • stay aware of events; are there rallies, demonstrations, press
  • conferences in the news? These are all places you can lend a
  • hand. Will groups be approaching legislators in your state?
  • what are the concerns of member artists? Reach out to possible groups


5. Logistics like food, facilities for washing, etc.

  • consider potluck or rotating food responsibilities as it’s important to
  • keep people fed in an all day session
  • make sure you have a place that brushes can be washed and you have
  • water for mixing and cleaning up

6. Follow-through

  • get photos (and video from TV coverage) from non-profits of the banners in use.
  • send out publicity on Facebook etc. to get kudos for what you do and to let more groups know about your work

We keep a spreadsheet in Excel that shows a thumbnail of the banner, when it was made, what group it was made for (with contact info), and when they used it (events, rallies, etc.). This has been extremely useful for funders to see the extent of our work.

The process is very compelling. Many of us work our jobs alone in a solo capacity, so it is rare to hear the feedback of so many extensively assorted talents hashing out the visual particulars of a current events problem. The range of sensitivities and interpretation is an education at every session.

                                — Doreen Conboy