Today's inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States is many things and a women's rights event is one of them.
With reports of more than 1,000 requested bus permits than Friday’s Inauguration Day, Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington could be one of the largest civil rights marches of the 21st century. Additionally, marches have and continue to take place in cities throughout the US. In an effort to unite and empower women in Northeast Ohio, Zygote Press held a Women’s March Poster Making Party last Thursday, January 12. The event packed a capacity crowd into the nonprofit organization’s printmaking studio on E. 30th Street, just north of Superior.
Mothers and daughters, friends and neighbors came together to handprint signs on Zygote’s presses. The response from participants via social media was so overwhelmingly positive that it may have been the most important event in Zygote Press’ 20-year history. The event offered a much-needed opportunity for residents to literally roll up their sleeves and make a positive difference at a time when many throughout the country feel hopeless and helpless. Many of Thursday’s attendees will be marching on Saturday, and the handprinted posters will be distributed to marchers in both Cleveland and Washington DC. Several were already spotted during the march in Columbus this past weekend.
“This poster printing night was clearly a momentous occasion in Zygote's history that paralleled a moment in our country's history, that significantly gave our organization a platform for people to get their voices on,” says Zygote Press Executive Director Liz Maugans. “People came out of the fog of realization and the chill of January and wanted to get together and speak out about how they were feeling through a mediated, yet personal forum of creativity and protest. It was really beautiful. People networked, broke bread, vented, celebrated their excitement for the march and felt united. This is what we hope will be the first of many events like this that we plan throughout the year.”
Several artists volunteered to help make the event happen. Joining Zygote Press’ staff and volunteers, April Bleakney of APEMADE helped guests create their own signs using her custom designs and Brady Dindia and Brittany Hudak collaborated on a custom “Grab ‘em by the CLE” design for posters and t-shirts being sold with proceeds benefitting the local and national marches.
“Partners like April Bleakney, of APEMADE, and all the designers who contributed their art, Brady Dindia and Brittany Hudak, came together in the finest of ways,” Maugans says. “Great thanks to Elizabeth Emery and Parse and Parcel for paper contributions, John Corlett of the Men's Auxiliary Cleveland Chapter and Noelle Celeste from edible Cleveland for their generosity and support of pizza for the night.”
Bleakney created 9 designs for the event. Due to the overwhelming turnout, there wasn’t enough time for everyone’s individual requests. Printing more than 350 posters on her own time and dime after the event at Zygote, she is now offering them free of charge to anyone who will be marching this weekend.
“Pickup is currently available at Superelectric Pinball (corner of W. 65th and Detroit), now through Friday afternoon, just ask whoever is working behind the counter when you arrive,” Bleakney says. “I am taking the bus down to DC with the Near West Side Activists group, and we will be utilizing these posters as well.”
Never sleeping on their laurels, Zygote Press was active in the community again by Monday, helping guests at the Cleveland Museum of Art celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by creating handmade prints featuring a special quote from Dr. King, designed by local artist Amber Esner.
Want to show your love for Zygote Press and all that they do for the community? In February, Zygote Press has planned a special benefit event around its current exhibition, Chido Johnson’s Love Library, a group exhibition of artwork by local artists inspired by classic romance novels. Let’s Make, With Love takes place on Thursday, Feb. 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. A benefit for Zygote Press, the event offers a variety of ways to support the organization, including chocolates by Sweet Designs, hennas by Alexis Hedderson, massages by Gina Matteucci and more. Zygote invites guests to join in the love-making with opportunities to print t-shirts, Valentine’s Day cards, coasters and more, as well as a chance to write sonnets with Cleveland Arts Prize award-winning poet Dave Lucas. Music for the event is provided by artist and DJ Marcus Brathwaite.
(Zygote Press) 1410 E. 30th St., 216-621-2900, zygotepress.com