In the spring of 2017, students in my Social Movements course worked collectively on a protest art project. The result is The Right to the Choice City? Protest Art Reads Fort Collins Against the Grain. The content has grown after students in subsequent sections of this course contributed to the project.
Fort Collins is billed as the Choice City by boosters, but social inequalities underlie often rosy portrayals of the city as a family friendly bike and beer playground. Gentrification, homelessness, skyrocketing housing prices, xenophobia, and racism pepper the social and physical landscape. Not only do inequalities exist in the greater Fort Collins community, but right on campus at Colorado State University.
In response, the student projects use photography, videos, graphic arts, and digital editing to highlight problems and imagine solutions. Protest art remains a vibrant expressive form. It taps into our aesthetic sensibilities and demands that we pay attention. We have a choice. Will Fort Collins be the Choice City for everyone? Or just those who can pay to play?