Adrienne Gaither

Mockup of Poor People’s Campaign wheatpaste installation, Fall 2021 Courtesy of Adrienne Gaither

Tools for Organizing

​​​​​​​Providing graphic design services that meet the real needs of grassroots organizers is challenging work. When people are actually organizing, sometimes they don't have time for design. Organizers can be exhausted—but the work is ongoing.

The mission of ​​Art Dept., a Black woman-owned creative studio led by Adrienne Gaither, is to create authentic and impactful creative solutions that are meaningful and serve a purpose. Working for people powered movements such as the DC Poor People’s Campaign, Art Dept. works closely with organizers to develop content, strategy, and outreach that are needed before design work can proceed.

Of her approach, Gaither says “From teaching public art workshops to building relationships with community members of different backgrounds, I work to meet everyone where they are in my creative process. Problem-solving with design / art for causes and organizations I care about, has produced the most generative work experiences and instilled me with a great level of purpose and empathy in my practice. My aim is to create work that encourages and motivates people to be informed, feel empowered, and follow up with a call to action.”

During the period of this fellowship, Art Dept. has worked closely alongside the DC Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival to provide strategic support developing storyboards and conceptual campaigns in support of the campaign’s pillars: Ending Systemic Racism; Affordable Housing; Health; Voting Rights; Environmental Justice and Climate Change; Employment; Education; Transforming the War Economy into a Peace Economy; Disability Rights; LGBTQIA Rights; and Media Access. The team is developing videos a communications toolkit and materials that share the data and document the lives of people affected by the housing crisis in DC amidst the pandemic. They are currently supporting the Brookland Manor housing, with a KEEP DC Affordable initiative meeting via zoom and making handmade posters to show support for the Brookland Manor residents. In parallel to this ongoing work to support people powered movements, Art Dept. has continued to expand its activity in creating permanent, inspiring works of public art for civic clients that connect architecture to culture and history.

About Adrienne Gaither

Adrienne Gaither
Photo: Imagine Photography
Adrienne Gaither is a visual artist, whose abstract paintings explore a variety of topics including race, familial ties, emotional health, class, and the politics of geometric abstraction. She has held solo exhibitions at Transformer in Washington D.C., Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, and Union Arts in Washington D.C. Her work has been exhibited in a host of group exhibitions at Cuchifritos Gallery in New York, DeNovo Gallery in Washington D.C., and Prizm Art Fair, among others. She has been commissioned by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Sundance Film Festival, and PepsiCo. Her work appeared in Margo Crawford’s 2017 monograph Black Post-Blackness: The Black Arts Movement and Twenty-First-Century Aesthetics, in which Crawford writes of Adrienne’s work: “Gaither’s use of abstraction as a means of critiquing the twenty-first century rhetoric of colorblindness is one of the most powerful usages of black abstraction …” Adrienne’s work has also appeared in D'ailleurs & d'ici! #2 and D'ailleurs & d'ici! #3 by Marc Cheb Sun. In 2018, she was awarded a fellowship from the D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities, a position in which she continues to hold. Adrienne holds a Master of Fine Arts from Howard University. She currently resides in Washington, D.C.

D.C. Poor People’s Campaign