'The Art of Voting' highlights the importance of artistic, political voice

Jim Fischer
Artist AJ Vanderelli

“The Art of Voting,” a three-day event that kicks off today in Franklinton and runs through Sunday, Oct. 4, offers attendees a chance to celebrate artists using their voices while getting registered to use your own.

Event organizer AJ Vanderelli has long imbued her art with activism and her activism with art. But for Vanderelli, this weekend is as much practical as activist.

“People need to vote. It’s obvious, I mean, especially after the debate [Tuesday] night,” Vanderelli said by phone from her Franklinton home. “The idea is to create this community around art, to bring people together and, while they’re here, make sure they understand the importance of voting and to make sure they’re registered.”

Monday, Oct. 5, is the last day anyone can register in Ohio to vote for the November election.

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“People hear about things, learn about things, differently. We want to reach everyone, to amplify every voice,” co-organizer Annie Bee said. “So we’re bringing together some of the best creatives in the city and using the safe space, the enlivened mood, to make sure people understand the power of voting at this time. … And we can support local artists in the process.”

Musicians, spoken word artists, filmmakers and visual artists will participate in exhibitions, performances, screenings and panel discussions throughout the weekend. The Vanderelli Room, ROY BIV Gallery, Secret Studio and 400 Square are the primary participating spaces, although activities will be conducted outdoors as much as possible. Masks are required for those attending, and the grounds will be set up to promote social distancing.

Participating filmmakers include: Donte Woods-Spikes, Christine Ryan, Derek Stewart, Ric Petry, Christian Merrill, Joey Bee, Ty Carroll, Al Dilorenzo and Nikki and Matt Swift. Musical performers include: C10, Carol Walker, Parker Paul and Angie “SassyBowFlow.”

Sunday’s activities will feature live painting from Vanderelli, Lisa McLymont, Shelbi Harris-Roseboro, Lea Goldsmith, Brigid McGovern, Aimee Wissman and Felicia “FDZGraffiti” Dunson. And for her activist’s heart, Vanderelli has confirmed a panel discussion for Sunday afternoon on engaging youth on social and political issues that will feature Annie Bee, Jamille Jones and Tiffany E.

Throughout the weekend, volunteers will also be available to provide information about voting, and ROY G BIV and Secret Studios will have stations set up at which people can register to vote.

“It’s all about getting people the tools they need to participate in the process,” Bee said.

“The Art of Voting”

The Vanderelli Room

218 McDowell St., Franklinton

6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2 and 3; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. facebook.com/thevanderelliroom