Bread and Roses Art Exhibitions 2005-2009

Our Mission & History
April 26, 2015
Bread and Roses Youth Program 2010-2013
May 1, 2015

Bread and Roses Art Exhibitions 2005-2009

The impetus for Bread & Roses came initially from Jobs With Justice’s anti-racism committee. A
committee was formed in response to JwJ’s work on 3 economic justice campaigns which were
being crippled by the racism pervasive in St. Louis overall, even in our own social justice
movements. The committee saw a need to “take a step back,” to identify and examine racial
dynamics in our community. In a wonderful brainstorm, leaders decided that an art exhibition
with a civil rights and peace theme could be a wonderful way to invite both current leaders and
new voices to share their insights in a forum that could reach beyond die-hard activists. The
solid success of that first exhibition clearly demonstrated that we had met a need in both the
St. Louis’ activist and artistic communities. Almost 60 artists submitted work, many of them
union members and community activists that had not shared their artistic talents so publicly
before. One of the most exciting parts of the developing Bread & Roses was the participation of
many non-traditional artists – a house painter that takes photos, a postal worker that writes
music, single mothers facing Medicaid cuts…victims of police violence…factory workers losing
jobs overseas. Poet Anne Little won an honorable mention in 2003 and that fall was invited to
read her work at an event commemorating the National Day of Action Against Police Violence.
2003 1st place musician and Postal Worker Marcus Fuller’s song “Unity” was incorporated into
that year’s Labor Day Parade. Both works were created expressly for that year’s Bread & Roses
exhibition. Changing annual themes in the first five formative years (2005-2009) allowed Bread
& Roses to continue to innovate and to tap into the current passions of the art and social justice
communities.