ARTIVISM 101: A workshop on creating art to change the world

A creative workshop for kids and families! Nikkolas Smith, Artivist and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator, will show you how to become an Artivist. Do you have something you want to better or change in your community or in the world? How can art inspire you to change the world for the better? How can art help you to be fearless and speak up? With Nikkolas’ guidance, attendees of this workshop will create their own Artivism piece and be a part of the Artivist movement.

This workshop takes place at the American Writers Museum and is geared to artists of all ages, especially kids and families. Nikkolas will sign books and merchandise following the workshop.

Photograph of Nikkolas Smith, photo credit: Cassius PettitAttendees are encouraged to bring whatever materials they are most comfortable creating art with. The American Writers Museum will provide paper and drawing materials like colored pencils, but if you prefer to create digital art you must bring your own computers, tablets, etc.

This special program is presented in conjunction with our forthcoming exhibit and education initiative Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice, opening September 2022. Dark Testament explores racial injustice in America through the work of Black American writers from the end of the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement, and the impact these writers continue to have on contemporary writers, creators, and activists.

NIKKOLAS SMITH, a native of Houston, Texas, is a Master of Architecture recipient from Hampton University. After designing theme parks at Walt Disney Imagineering for 11 years, he is now an ARTivist, Concept artist, Children’s Books Author, Film Illustrator (Space Jam 2Black Panther 2Judah and the Black Messiah) and Movie poster designer (Black PantherSoulBeale StreetSouthside With YouDear White PeopleStranger Fruit). He is the author/illustrator of the picture books The Golden Girls of Rio” (nominated for an NAACP Image Award), My Hair Is Poofy And That’s Okay, and World Cup Wome . He is also the illustrator of #1 NYT Bestseller The 1619 Project: Born on the Water in collaboration with Pulitzer Price-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and award winning author Renée Watson, and I am Ruby Bridges written by civil rights icon Ruby Bridges. He is a proud 2016 White House Innovators of Color fellow.

His most famous and recognized works focus on Artivism. As an illustrator of color, Nikkolas creates captivating art that can spark important conversations around social justice in today’s world and inspire meaningful change. Many of his viral and globally published sketches are included in his latest book Sunday Sketch: The Art of Nikkolas, a visual journey on life and a collection of more than 100 sketches he has done in the last five years. His works have been featured on TIME MagazineThe New York TimesThe Washington PostPeople, CNN, Buzzfeed, NPR, the Academy of Motion Pictures, The Guardian, ABC, NBC, KCET, BBC and many more. His art has been shared on social media by Michelle Obama, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Van Jones, Shaun King, Rihanna, Colin Kaepernick, Janet Jackson, Viola Davis, Jamie Foxx, Erykah Badu, Lupita Nyong’o, Kendrick Lamar, Tracee Ellis Ross, Ava Duvernay, Common, Simone Biles, Mark Ruffalo, and many others. Nikkolas also talks at conferences (TEDxWatts) and schools all over the country, and leads workshops in digital painting character and movie poster and design. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

The event is finished.


Sep 18 2022


Central Time
1:00 pm

More Info



American Writers Museum
Chicago, Illinois

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