Category Archives: visual arts

Award-Winning Documentary LIFT UP Sets Distribution for Two-Year Anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake

Last year Maurice Mitchell had an amazing idea, to do 100 shows that benefit Haiti all in a completely DIY fashion.  The Sparrow Project was excited to join him in that ultimately successful adventure.  Along the way we met film makers Phillip Knowlton and Huguens Jean who had just finished their feature length documentary chronicling two brothers who travel back to Haiti after the earthquake to pay respects to their grandfather.  Their film, LIFT UP will soon be available digitally through their website —


“Though this project started with a personal journey, it quickly took on greater significance as it grew to include the narratives of so many survivors,” said Co-Director Huguens Jean. “We’re thrilled their stories will finally be accessible worldwide.”

Poignant, beautiful and unflinchingly human, LIFT UP follows two brothers, Clifford Muse and Huguens Jean, as they return to their native Haiti after the 2010 earthquake to commemorate their grandfather’s passing. The disaster having prevented them from attending the funeral, Clifford and Huguens plan to create a traditional Haitian kite to celebrate the life of the man who molded their childhoods.

Upon arriving in Haiti, they are surprised to find a vibrant nation filled with people committed to sharing their stories. As Clifford and Huguens collect the materials for their kite, they begin to record the experiences of their countrymen, and the scope of their journey expands. Soon musicians, painters, politicians, educators, family and friends are adding their voices and even contributing to Clifford and Huguens’s kite.

Their kite becomes a tapestry, depicting the life of Haiti after the quake. The familiar image of a Haitian child, standing on a roof, his kite soaring above, becomes a metaphor for the people of Haiti: surrounded by danger and standing on shaky ground while their spirits fight the wind, seeking their place in the sky.

Their journey at an end, Clifford and Hugues return to the US and fly their memorial kite at the 44th Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival. Despite mild wind, the kite dances hundreds of feet above the ground as a nation’s soul soars.

The Art of Insurrection: An #OWS Creative Roundup

At the heart of insurrection, beneath both good and ugly, is something eerily beautiful.  This beauty sits with the unbridled passion of the insurrectionaries.  With such passion creativity explodes …on canvasses, in printed materials, on film, scrawled on the walls of public places, etched across ad-spaces, or braided into songs.  The exponential growth of the Occupy movement cannot be compared to any other movement in recent history.  Out of what seems like a bottomless well of inspiration and creativity has come remarkable creations in the name of Occupation.  Sparrow has been involved with the Occupy movement since it’s inception and some creative projects, artists, and makers have besieged our hearts, below is a small roundup of our favorites.

From our friends At The Hop Productions comes “That Which We Occupy” (above) a stunning short with an eerie echo of the spirit of OWS.

“This is for you who have stood up. This is to acknowledge your cause.  We are trying to awaken a world that has sunken into a swamp of lies.  Occupy, protest & demand that there be real change.  There are no holds barred on freedom.  Let’s continue.”

»”Lunch at Zuccotti”  From his unwavering support of Project Palestine, to his work with The Harold Hunter Foundation, to documenting urban farming movements around the world, Paul Park’s boundless talent for making films has helped to beautifully document other creative projects in and around Occupy Wall Street.

»”Guerrilla Gardening at OWS”  Students from Sterling College in Vermont came down to Occupy Wall Street and showed us how to plant and sow seeds anywhere where there is soil. In this short film, they demonstrate how easy it is to grow winter greens and beets right in the parks flower beds, and then speak earnestly and passionately about the importance of farming, and understanding where our food comes from.

»”Permaculture at Zuccotti Park” Paul Park documents the mobile design lab at Zuccotti Park that would process the grey water from the OWS kitchen.

»Josh MacPhee’s artwork has become a cornerstone of Occupy’s graphic identity.  From his work with Just Seeds Collective on the Peoples History poster series to countless illustrations in contemporary revolutionary texts, Josh’s work continues to inspire and give vibrance to today’s social struggles.

»Rachel Schragis illustrated The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City as this gorgeous typographic flow chart. This image was generated by a crowd-editing process in Zuccotti Park facilitated by Rachel Schragis.  It is endorsed by the Occupy Wall Street Arts and Culture working group, and is based on The Declaration of the Occupation of NYC,  as written by the Call to Action Working Group and adopted via concensus by the NYC General Assembly.

»Occuprint is an online depository of the creative poster art that has come to define Occupations everywhere.  The Occuprint Lab emerged out of a collaborative poster project with The Occupied Wall Street Journal, Sparrow is honored to help assist Occuprint with production of large print runs of their posters.

Do you know of a great project that should be highlighted in our OWS creative roundup?  Email us with details

Help us on Kickstarter as we Publish 100,000 Copies of the Declaration of Occupy Wall Street

Help us on Kickstarter as we Publish 100,000 Copies of the Declaration of Occupy Wall Street

With a generous outpouring of support from activists, artists, and occupiers The Sparrow Project was able to print the first print-run of 10,000 copies of The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City and now we are going to need your help to reach our goal of printing and distributing another 100,000 copies!

We need your help to reach our goal of printing and distributing 100,000 copies

In order to reach our printing goals we launched a fundraising campaign with to fund our publishing efforts. We need pledges from people LIKE YOU in order to reach our base goal of $10,000 in printing costs. If you don’t have money to donate, don’t worry, we also need everyone’s help in publicizing the kickstarter campaign on facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc. We would like to ask everyone who is reading this and is able to pledge to pledge whatever they can, and that those who cannot afford to make a pledge to direct others to our Kickstarter page every day between now and our December 4th deadline.

For those who will be pledging, we have pulled out all the stops when it comes to incentives for your pledges! From posters and twitter shout outs, to free copies of Green is the New Red by Will Potter, Muzzling a Movement by Dara Lovitz, and The lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig, to free tickets to Daphne Cheng’s all-you-can-eat vegan sweets party, even free graphic design services from Julie Gueraseva (Def Jam, Time Inc, Vaute Couture, Harpers, WOW)  and boxes of your own t-shirts designed by us!

OWS Declaration on KickstarterWith all of those amazing prizes its heart warming to see that the most popular pledge prize choice is the “Publishing Partner” bracket. Donors in this bracket will get a package of 50 declarations, a 3’x3′ declaration poster and our undying love chatter on twitter! It is these donors who will be the legs in our distribution machine. We already have 30+ donors from all around the world in this bracket, we want to cast an even wider net and a DIY distribution network is central to making this happen.

This project is for YOU and we want YOU to be part of it. The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City is a reflection of every voice amplified by the people’s mic at Liberty Square. Likewise, the effort to publish it is a reflection of everyone involved, from editing, to design, to production, distribution, and face to face conversations that ensue after someone is handed a copy, we are all playing a role in the life of this document. I take this document very seriously because not only is it the first ephemeral artifact from the epicenter of the Occupy Movement, but it also lay the framework for the fight of our lives, the fight for the lives of our neighbors, the fight for the lives of creatures we share this earth with, and for the future of the earth we all call home. I invite you in joining me in making this document a catalyst for comprehensive, global, change.

You can help us print 100,000 copies of the 2nd edition of the People’s Declaration of the Occupation of Wall Street by donating to our Kickstarter campaign HERE.

The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

Help print 100,000 copies of the Declaration of the Occupation by donating at THIS LINK.

With a generous outpouring of support from activists, artists, and occupiers The Sparrow Project was able to print the first 10,000 copies of The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City but we are going to need your help to reach our goal of printing and distributing 100,000 copies!  This document is the first and only declaration to come from the Occupation of Wall Street, it is a summation of the grievances expressed by the occupiers, its a call to action, but moreover it is the first edition in our Occupation Reader series chronicling this historic mile marker in the fight for social, environmental, and economic justice.  The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, as transcribed and edited by Ryan Hoffman, Lex Rendon, and the Call to Action Working Group, was accepted by the NYC General Assembly, on Steptember 29, 2011 and later amended on October 18th, 2011 to make its narrative even more inclusive.  You own this document. Everyone owns it.  The declaration is a reflection of every voice amplified by the people’s mic at the NYC General Assembly at Liberty Square, from September 17, 2011 to October 18, 2011. We encourage you to copy, reproduce, and distribute its contents.

Our second edition is currently being laid out to include a solidarity letter from Tahir Square, as well as additional documentation from the NYC General Assembly.  Our goal is to print 100,000 copies of this second edition and distribute it to occupied cities coast to coast.  In order to distribute a print run of this size we need your help to reach out fundraising goals.  Please share this blog post widely, and encourage everyone you know to donate.  Any amount brings us closer to our goal of 100,000 copies.

You can help us print 100,000 copies of the 2nd edition of the People’s Declaration of the Occupation of Wall Street by donating at THIS LINK


Please Help the Sparrow Project Print the First Declaration of the #OccupyWallStreet Movement

Please Help the Sparrow Project Print the First Declaration of the #OccupyWallStreet Movement

Help us print the People’s Declaration of the Occupation of Wall Street on 10,000 booklets by donating at THIS LINK.

Please help The Sparrow Project print tens of thousands of pocket-sized booklets of the first declaration of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  We have access to a terrific offset printer, recycled paper, and soy inks, but we need donations from people like you in order to make this happen!  Please consider donating whatever you can by clicking the donate button below.  If you cannot afford to donate please consider sharing this post with others.   We will print and distribute the declaration to the cities nationwide that are participating in the campaign.  The following is the first (rough draft) declaration of the People’s General Assembly at Liberty Square in it’s entirety as transcribed and edited by Ryan Hoffman, Lex Rendon and the Call to Action Working Group.  Let us dispel the notion that the Occupy Wall Street movement is one without a message.

Please donate to the printing costs via Pay Pal at   THIS LINK


As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage. They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses. They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.  They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.  They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.  They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.  They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.  They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.  They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.  They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.  They have sold our privacy as a commodity.  They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.  They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.  They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.  They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.  They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.  They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty book keeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit. They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.  They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.  They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.  They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *


We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone. To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.