Social Justice Posters for the Radical Imagination

July 14, 2023 | The Center for Arts + Social Justice and VCFA’s MFA in Graphic Design program were pleased to co-present an event with visiting designer Favianna Rodriguez, who led a poster design workshop to explore how art, design, and the language of protest can inspire powerful graphics.

Art and culture surround us all the time. They shape our identity and forge our collective imagination. Culture change precedes political change. Therefore, we must build vibrant cultural practices that inspire new ways of thinking and catalyze justice.

Rodriguez began with a dynamic lecture about how art can inspire, educate, and help spur the imagination beyond the realms of what politics can do. She showed examples of her political poster graphics that address racial justice, climate justice, migrant rights, gender equity, and liberation. There has never been a movement for social change without art and visual communications at its center.

After the lecture, Rodriguez led a design module in which students practiced concepts for strong social justice posters and created bold images to help people move towards action.


Favianna Rodriguez is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist, and social justice activist based in Oakland, California. Her art and praxis address migration, gender justice, climate change, racial equity, and sexual freedom. Her creative practice boldly challenges entrenched myths and cultural practices, while embodying the YES of a pluralistic future. Favianna’s collaborations include Ben & Jerry’s Pecan Resist, two large scale public art commissions with the City of San Francisco, and a partnership with Joey Soloway of Topple Productions to create a fellowship for marginalized voices in the entertainment industry. Favianna’s work serves as a record of her human experiences as a woman of color embracing joy and pleasure through personal transformation and psychedelics. Her signature mark-making embodies the perspective of a first-generation American Latinx artist with Afro-Latinx roots who grew up in Oakland, California, during the era of the war on drugs and the birth of Hip Hop.

Favianna’s practice includes visual art, public art, writing, cultural organizing, and power building. She leads meaningful collaborations with social movements that lead to resilient and transformative cultural strategies. In addition to her expansive studio practice, she is the co-founder and president of The Center for Cultural Power, a national organization that empowers artists to disrupt the status quo and ignite change at the intersection of culture and social justice.

In 2016, Favianna received the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship for her work around immigrant detention and mass incarceration. She was awarded, in 2017, an Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity for her work around racial justice and climate change. She received the SOROS Equality Fellowship for organizing artists activists in 2018. An artist entrepreneur, she has co-founded various institutions, including the EastSide Arts Alliance, a cultural center and affordable housing complex in Oakland, and, the largest Latino online organizing community in the US. She is currently working on a film about healing from womb trauma.

See more Center events >>