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Artivism – Keeping Art Alive for Kids

Written By Regina Herring

Artivism combines art with activism. I never heard of the term, so after a little research, I discovered the expression came about in the late 90’s. Artivist is used to describe Imani JC; a painter/illustrator who originally is from San Jose, California. After graduating from Spelman College she decided to reside in Atlanta.

Growing up Imani was homeschooled by her mother who was a dancer. She had a desire for Imani to follow her footsteps in the art world. Imani who experimented in a bit of everything has always been interested in technology and art. As a child, she not only did art but also was a dancer and athlete as well. Upon entering college Imani started as a theatre major, then switched to computer science before finally settling on a degree in studio art/illustration. This allowed her to combine her technical skills with her artistic skills.

Imani’s goal is to tell a story and affect communities with children of color; pretty much black communities which is why she’s in Atlanta. Her mother instilled in her the value of being black. Imani was surrounded with black entertainment -- mainly animation and illustration. This encouragement allowed her to continue creating animation focusing on black children. Once she went to public school, Imani realized black characters weren’t the norm. She made it a goal to continue black animation so it becomes the norm.

Imani said if she didn’t receive the encouragement she did as a child she would probably be more into the technology field – coding. The path she’s on is great for kids to have someone to look up to and admire. Imani would like for children to be the main storyline and be able to recognize their potential. The message is to let kids know they can be anything they want to be and anything is possible. Her demographic is focused on the group under the age of 10. These are the ages where they start to notice things and seen as threats to society. Adults can relate to her art pieces but they are inclined to connect the pieces to someone younger than themselves.

Isn’t it ironic that Imani’s favorite piece is titled “Imani”? The piece was created about a year ago to celebrate Kwanza. It’s a picture of a little girl blowing a flower. It celebrates the good things that have happened. One of the comments she’s received is the picture is like a dream like state. This piece was also painted as a mural and more feedback was given because she was able to explain it.

The piece “Snake Charmer” is a picture of a cute little black baby who appears to be lulling a snake to sleep.

Imani also paints little black babies with monarch butterfly wings, which are stickers. The wings symbolize revitalization and resurrection similar to angel wings. They are placed in Midtown Atlanta and the West End area of Atlanta. Pictures of the beautiful babies and more can be seen on her Instgram page @ImaniJC.

Music being played is a new process Imani is trying since she mainly draws on her laptop. The music influences how she draws and what she decides to draw. It also prevents her from copying an idea. Imani’s dream project is to have animation studio that produces short films where children of color are represented. Later this year look for an animated short film produced, directed, and written by Imani JC. She wants her legacy to be one of the most successful animation companies that produces films starring people of color. Imani says she will be a success because her studio will impact people and gain a lot of revenue. You should not have to change your way of thinking to get hired.



For more of Imani’s work please visit

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