The 13 Moments That Shaped Our First Year

December 30, 2013

We launched The Creative Action Network almost exactly a year ago with the mission of putting our nation’s artists to work making a difference. A year later, who could have imagined we’d make it this far! Here’s a look back at the biggest moments of 2013.

#1. We launched our first campaign. After so many artists reached out to us following the tragedy in Newtown, we launched The Gun Show, a crowdsourced collection of posters to promote gun safety. To date we’ve received nearly 300 amazing posters, and counting. 

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#2.  Our first design was seen by over a million people. It came from artist Chris Lozos, flew all over facebook, and best of all, you can still get the poster!

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#3. We put on a one night only pop-up show! With our friend Van Jones and his organization, Rebuild The Dream, we hosted a pop-up gallery show in San Francisco! 

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#4. Let’s re-cover the classics. At the start of summer, in partnership with DailyLit, we launched a new campaign - Recovering The Classics - crowdsourcing original covers for some of the greatest works in the public domain, and selling the new covers as posters, or with the full text of their book as ebooks and special edition paperbacks printed at the Harvard Bookstore.

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#5. Road Trip! Then we took Recovering The Classics on the road, meeting with librarians, bookstores, and literature lovers from New York to Chicago to Las Vegas, with an amazing show at Housing Works Bookstore

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#6. Let’s hear it for the courts. DOMA is struck down, equality is upheld in California, and Mr. Furious is on it right away with the image that says it all:

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#7. Influencing the national conversation. Minutes after George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Nikkolas Smith’s image from our Gun Show campaign goes viral across social media and news outlets across the country.

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#8. From online design to CNN primetime. And the very next day, Nikk was invited live on CNN to discuss his poster, artistic expression, and social justice. 

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#9. Give a frack. When our friends at 350.org approached us about crowdsourcing a series around the Keystone XL pipeline we had to say yes, and the work that came in is outstanding, like this one from Brixton Doyle. 

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#10. Let’s stay together. Working with artists online is fun, but working with artists in person is even better. So we hosted our first ever Design Jam, this time around Recovering The Classics, at Betaworksin NYC!

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#11. #UnitedForReform. In partnership with Organizing For Action, we launched a #UnitedForReform, crowdsourcing artwork for immigration reform. Have you seen the gallery yet

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#12. We got into the best accelerator program ever. In October, we were accepted into Matter, a program here in San Francisco helping start-ups working to “change media for good” through a seed investment, mentorship, and a community of amazing entrepreneurs. 

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#13. Next Up: See America. Kicking off January 2014 is our newest and biggest campaign to date: See America. We’ve partnered up with the National Parks Conservation Association, enlisting artists from all 50 states to create a collection of artwork celebrating our national parks and other treasured sites.

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Most importantly, thanks to all of you, for joining our crazy experiment in harnessing creative talents for good. Thank you for making such amazing work contributing to CAN. Thank you for buying so many posters and supporting our artists. And thank you for sharing these designs with your friends, together we’re gonna make big things happen in 2014. 

Happy New Year, 

Max and Aaron, Co-founders, Creative Action Network





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