How do you get out the vote in the Instagram age? Ask big-name artists to help

By Makeda Easter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

A Calida Garcia Rawles signature painting of a woman peacefully submerged in water; a Xylor Jane rhythmic, kaleidoscope painting bursting with color; a Laurie Simmons photograph of a gold stopwatch with human legs - these are just a few of the works in a library of free, downloadable images created by the voter advocacy platform Vote.org.

Launched last week, the nonpartisan Plan Your Vote initiative features original and new iterations of preexisting work from more than 60 artists including Robert Longo, Sally Mann, Julie Mehretu, Marilyn Minter and Wangechi Mutu.

The goal is to provide a trove of shareable imagery to spread across social media the message about the importance of voting.

All of the art is stamped with a PlanYourVote.org graphic. The website provides state-specific voting information and tools to help people check their registration, register to vote, get election reminders and find their polling place.

The initiative involves more than 50 art institutions, including the Underground Museum in L.A., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. They will share the art on their social media channels and promote the Vote.org platform on their websites.

The institutions and artists have a combined reach of 10 million followers on Instagram alone, said Vote.org Chief Executive Andrea Hailey, who added that about 60% of the people who use the platform are 35 and younger.


"In a landscape where people are constantly scrolling through Instagram and social media, there's something we can inject in there that's positive and beautiful and very human, that can connect people back to where we are in this moment and why voting is important," Hailey said.

Plan Your Vote Executive Director Christine Messineo began working on the project about two months ago. As an art professional - she's the director of L.A.'s Hannah Hoffman Gallery and a former partner at New York's Bortolami Gallery - she was looking for a way to make an impact.

Messineo reached out to Hailey, a childhood friend and art collector, and proposed a campaign that harnessed her art connections.

Vote.org is utilitarian, Messineo said. The organization has registered more than 4.7 million voters, verified 10.9 million voters' registration status and helped more than 4.3 million request their mail-in ballot.


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