Art imitates life: Activists call in the Artists Rapid Response Team!

By David Carkhuff,

They have draped themselves in blood-like red-stained sheets and sprawled themselves outside the offices of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins. Back in 2013, they played the part of members of a Yemeni wedding party attacked and killed by a U.S. drone strike. Other protests have involved Valentine’s Day messages decrying deaths of civilians in military actions and signs defending Bradley Manning for his leaks of military secrets and violation of the Espionage Act. Clearly, the anti-war activists of Code Pink are no strangers to bringing political street theater to Maine. But the power of art gained even more prominence on Saturday when Code Pink organized a protest outside of Bath Iron Works. Mark Roman of Solon, husband of Code Pink in Maine local coordinator Lisa Savage, built a set that was the visual backdrop for the performance of a play, Canteen Annie at the Bomb Factory, which featured dialogue, masks and artwork. A team of artists contributed to the protest performance, part of a nationwide Spring Mobilization for Peace. “Lisa Savage came to our group and asked if we could help her,” recalled Natasha Mayers of Whitefield, one of the artists and founder of the Artists Rapid Response Team! (ARRT!) of the Union of Maine Visual Artists, which created the artwork for Saturday’s protest.


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