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Help us create a new artwork for an exhibition with 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith
Help us create a new artwork for an exhibition with 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith
256 backers pledged $81,646 to help bring this project to life.

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With Drawn Arms: A Collaborative Project for Social Justice project video thumbnail
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At the 1968 Summer Olympics, an athlete named Tommie Smith stopped the world with a single, unexpected gesture. After winning the gold medal in the 200m event, and during the national anthem, Smith raised his arm in a silent gesture that has become an iconic image of resistance and solidarity, effectively and passionately capturing the mood of the many marginalized groups in the United States. He was 24-years-old. 

 

At that moment, his actions were highly controversial. That was the first time the Olympics were broadcast live, so Tommie's salute was the first live protest by an athlete of its kind. It was widely misunderstood, as Tommie's intention was always about unification rather than division.

Today, nearly 50 years later, as we fight over whether it's appropriate to #TakeAKnee, we would like to bring back the relevance and awareness of Tommie's gesture and turn it into a wider conversation about equality and human rights.

Join us in our effort to introduce a new generation to the power of symbolic protest at a moment when our civil rights and freedom to express our voices are under attack by the government in a way not seen for decades.

With Drawn Arms is a public project that will introduce Tommie Smith’s courageous act to an entirely new generation while literally and figuratively bridging the role his silent protest played in 1968 to the collective action we are seeing in the world today. For those who believe in freedom and cannot rest, we invite you to participate in this project with us. 

The project will consist of drawings, sculpture and film created by Glenn Kaino in collaboration Tommie Smith, slated to open at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta on September 29, 2018.

Together, we will be able to use art as a means to reach a new generation and inspire them to make their mark in the world.

Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith participating in drawing workshop at Glenn's art studio in Los Angeles, CA.
Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith participating in drawing workshop at Glenn's art studio in Los Angeles, CA.

Your help is needed to embark on the exhibition’s primary new work, a collaborative, animated drawing project that will be created within several communities during a multi-city tour of some of the most important places in the current national conversation about equality and social justice. In each city, coordinated with a local major museum and in collaboration with a local youth program or university, Tommie and Glenn will host a workshop for young people to complete a series of drawings of Tommie’s iconic race while engaged in a robust, personal dialog with Tommie about human rights, movement building, and the salute. 

For every $100 we raise, another young person will have the opportunity to learn to draw, collaborate directly with Tommie Smith, and be empowered to make their mark in the world.

Each of these drawings with our young collaborators will be a still frame from a longer series and will be assembled together to create a new animation that will debut during the High Museum of Art, Atlanta exhibition.

Example of various drawings assembled in animation
Example of various drawings assembled in animation

 

Our first stop: High Museum of Art, Atlanta (Photo by Jonathan Hillyer)
Our first stop: High Museum of Art, Atlanta (Photo by Jonathan Hillyer)

The cities for the drawing events are:

- Atlanta, GA

- San Jose, CA 

- Washington, D.C.

- To Be Confirmed (Pledge and tell us where to go!)

- To Be Confirmed (Pledge and tell us where to go!)

- To Be Confirmed (Pledge and tell us where to go!)

The animation will also be part of a film project directed by Kaino and Afshin Shahidi, most known for his work as a creative collaborator of Prince. The film team also consists of executive producers Jesse Williams, John Legend, Ty Stiklorius, Mike Jackson, and Delois Smith.

Glenn Kaino and Afshin Shahidi filming documentation of With Drawn Arms with Executive Producer Jesse Williams.
Glenn Kaino and Afshin Shahidi filming documentation of With Drawn Arms with Executive Producer Jesse Williams.

Tommie’s historic action has been recorded into history by scholars and activists alike, and it is captured in history books as a representative symbol, a singular image that is a stand-in for a generation of struggle. Tommie’s own intention has taken him almost 50 years to uncover and articulate, and this project is a major milestone in that process.

President Barack Obama meets with Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith, Delois Smith, Glenn Kaino, and Deon Jones on June 28, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama meets with Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith, Delois Smith, Glenn Kaino, and Deon Jones on June 28, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

With your support, we can bring Tommie’s story to thousands of young minds across the country and inspire them to participate and stand up for themselves and for their country. Your funding will go to the costs of travel, materials, outreach and documentation of these events, and the more support we get, the more events we will have! 

PROJECT TEAM

 

GLENN KAINO is an artist with a career that spans an extraordinary range of media and creative activity, whose practice has rigorously investigated the systems of power that have controlled person, place and the production of knowledge. His artwork has utilized various strategies to create improbable moments and impossible works from seemingly incompatible materials, all in order to create tangible transformation and to suggest, if even for a moment, that there are radical new ways of being and knowing in our world.

In 1968, TOMMIE SMITH, won first place in the 200-meter men’s race at the Olympic games in Mexico City despite sustaining an injury earlier in the day. During the award ceremony, Tommie walked to the platform wearing only black socks on his feet — the first sign of a symbolic protest that would become even more powerful in the following minutes. He accepted the gold medal, and then, as the customary playing of the national anthem began, he raised his fist to give the Black Power salute and then, bowed his head. The image of Tommie and John Carlos, who joined him in this powerful act, has circulated beyond the time and context in which it came into being — becoming instead a symbol for a myriad of beliefs, ideas, and social causes.

WHY KICKSTARTER?

We are interested in Kickstarter for two distinct reasons. The first is as a platform to generate support for the project and help us accomplish the bigger goal of including hundreds of people in the narrative. The second is for outreach. We recognize that Kickstarter is an active community of changemakers who collaborate in the interest of bringing culture into the world without relying upon traditional forms of support.

THE REWARDS: 

 

 

 

Detail of Official Tommie Smith Unite Shirt
Detail of Official Tommie Smith Unite Shirt

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

This project has been selected for inclusion on Art Basel's curated page on Kickstarter. 

Risks and challenges

Time is our biggest challenge. Next October will be the 50th anniversary of Tommie’s protest. With a goal to complete the exhibition before that date, we are working against the clock. But as Tommie approaches 75 years old, the goal of celebrating him in his golden years for the sacrifice he made for humanity keeps our feet on the pedal.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Help Decide Where We Go!

    Help us decide the final stops of the tour after Atlanta, San Jose, and Washington D.C. Pledge and let us know!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Jesse Williams' Sticker Pack

    A set of salute stickers, as performed and created by actor and activist Jesse Williams, representing Tommie’s silent gesture. These are from Jesse’s Ebroji project.

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    Official Tommie Smith UNITE T-Shirt

    Official Tommie Smith UNITE T-Shirt

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    19.83 Artwork Postcard

    Post card reproduction of '19.83' an artwork created by Glenn Kaino in collaboration with Tommie Smith, based off of still image captures of Tommie's historic race.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Signed Copy of Silent Gesture

    Receive a personally signed copy of Tommie Smith's autobiography, Silent Gesture.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Reproduction of ‘Relay’ by Glenn Kaino

    Poster size replica print of ‘Relay,’ a drawing by Glenn Kaino in collaboration with Tommie Smith. This is a reproduction of the drawing that Tommie and Glenn brought to the Oval Office.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You get an OSMO!

    You get an Osmo Creative Kit! Osmo is an award-winning game system that will change the way people interact with the iPad and iPhone by opening them up to hands-on play. Tommie used Osmo to learn how to draw himself!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Signed "Salute" Poster

    Receive a life-sized poster version of the iconic salute personally signed by Tommie Smith

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Collection of Rewards

    Get one of every reward below $500, including the stickers, the postcard, the poster, OSMO, and life-sized poster!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Meet and Greet

    A meet and greet with Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith and artist Glenn Kaino in one of the following cities: Atlanta, San Jose, Washington D.C. and more to be announced soon! Travel and lodge is NOT included.

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    Sculpture of Tommie Smith’s raised fist

    Casted sculpture of Tommie Smith’s raised fist used to create Bridge, by Glenn Kaino, 2013

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Funding period

- (30 days)