The Time is Now

Creating Community Through Social Justice Artmaking

Edited by:
Christa Boske, Kent State University

A volume in the series: Promoting Justice, Diversity, and Inclusivity Through Arts-Based Practices. Editor(s): Christa Boske, Kent State University.

Published 2022

High school students, teachers, community members, and leaders come together in this innovative book to share the profound influence of artmaking and justice- oriented work. Authors paint vibrant images of being empowered and engaging in social change. Throughout their art-based meaning making, authors pose critical questions and unlock possibilities. Their first-tellings regarding the power of art provide readers with a lens to understand how they navigate injustices they endure and ways in which artmaking is a vehicle for transformation. Their artmaking is a call for change.

Authors emphasize how artmaking bridges relationships and brings diverse community members together with purpose. Together, they engage in new understandings of self and other. Authors identify how their arts-based collaborations publicly showcase their justice-oriented work, but more importantly, promote possibility and hope. Youth explore how artmaking plays a vital role in promoting collective efficacy and engaging diverse communities in social transformation.

Artmaking mobilizes people. And once activated, these authors utilize their newly cultivated communities to foster justice-oriented work throughout schools and communities. Their justice-oriented artmaking affords community members opportunities to respond in new ways by embracing community strengths and students’ lived experiences. This authentic collaboration empowers the artmaker and community to promote justice-oriented work and practices centered on diversity and inclusivity.


Reading Christa Boske’s The Time is Now is to find a profound sense of joy, wholeness, and energy to push out the borders of consciousness too tightly bound to the hyperrationalism of the workday world grounded in materialism and business transactions. The collected authors in Christa’s book give form to the spirit world, and its proclivity to allow the whole human being to embrace it, putter in it, explore it and find themselves in the journey. Artmaking is about self-discovery and emancipation. It’s a must read for anyone who wants re-establish a belief in themselves and in humanity.Fenwick W. English, Professor and Department Chair, Ball State University

Read this compelling new resource if you want to engage the next generation of youth activists in transforming our world. Truly, The Time is Now offers school leaders the most exciting, creative avenues for generating justice we’ve seen in a long time. This book rises to the challenge of being real when so much is at stake.Margaret Grogan, Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy, Chapman University

The Time is Now. A profound title that encapsulates so much regarding what we need in today's world. Woven through the various narratives, we accept the invitation to hear the stories of artists and explorers in their respective communities. An authentic confrontation of the many tensions that exist in our quest to seek out equity in the areas of diversity, inclusivity, and lived experiences. Voices that ring of radical change, the reconceptualization of freedom, and the agentive stance we are called to take to realize a higher state of being and a more noble existence. The stories remind us that the dream of transformation is our most compelling force- this book gives us a map of all that is possible if we work together.Lillian McEnery-Benavente, Director and Professor, University of Houston

Christa Boske’s edited book, The Time is Now, provides readers with a profound sense of what it means to live through injustice. The book, though, is not just a collection of heartbreaking stories, but a chronicle of triumphs, as the previously unheard are finally given a voice through artmaking. In chapter after deeply moving chapter, I was struck by the simultaneous vulnerability and bravery of the artists who shared their stories. What was clear, was that artmaking was a form of awakening for the artmakers: awakening to social justice issues, awakening to their ability to connect to the community through art and even awakening to their own value, which for so many, had been wholly unrecognized prior to this experience. This book comes at a time of deep reflection on equity, diversity and inclusion in our nation and the stories remind us that our children are absorbing these conversations. They are living these experiences and their voices are an essential part of the dialogue.Habeebah R. Grimes, Chief Executive Officer

Endorsements. Introduction: Artmaking as Authentic Collective Justice-Oriented Work, Christa Boske. SECTION I: USING ARTMAKING TO CREATE EMPATHIC LEARNERS. Seeing Souls, Amanda Price. Hear Me Out, Kai (Echo) Davis. Wild, Ooh (Shimmy): Excited About Being a Part of This, Fallon Herlinger. Selfless: My Voice is Art, Hannah Sinn. SECTION II: CREATING A SOCIAL JUSTICE-ORIENTED SCHOOL COMMUNITY. The Power of Artmaking: Leading other Men of Color and Creating Community, Leshun Collins. Out of Sight, Babatunde Motoni. To Give, to Challenge, to Learn Through Art: What it Means to Build Community, Lenard Jackson. The New Black, Michael Neville. SECTION III: BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY OF LEARNERS THROUGH ARTMAKING. Lost of Hope, Alex. Life, JaBrone. The Skeleton is My Anger: I Want it to Go Away, Cash Money. I Use My Art to Protect Myself and My Neighborhood, Mikai. Making Connections, Jeannie Oakhar. SECTION IV: THE POWER OF COMMUNITY-BASED ARTMAKING IN MAKING CONNECTIONS. Voices of the Unheard, Catera Davis. Jamie’s Beginning, Jamie Neese. I Never Thought I Would be an Artist, Karnisha Grubbs. Going Full Circle, Stephanie “Leo” Leonardi. Epilogue: Artmaker as Cultural Broker, Christa Boske.