Art as activism | Marcus Ellsworth | TEDxUTChattanooga

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Marcus Ellsworth will be taking a look at how art can become a road map for progress as we ask the question “What Now?” Citing examples from world history as well as Chattanooga’s present, Marcus will pose the idea that one of the best ways to answer that question is by looking at the creative output of Chattanooga’s citizens. The answers can be found in the music, writing, and even the graffiti of Chattanooga’s most under-served populations. We can use art to engage in meaningful discussions and purposeful action to make Chattanooga better for everyone.

Marcus Ellsworth is a spoken word artist and emcee working in the Chattanooga area. He hosts and organizes Wide Open Floor, a monthly open mic performance art showcase at Barking Legs Theater. He is also the president of Tennessee Valley Pride and co-chair for Tennessee Equality Project’s Hamilton and Bradley County Committee.

Marcus has spent much of the past eight years honing his skills as an artist and working to help build community around art and issues of social justice.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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  1. Thank you for your empowering talk! I am an aspiring art teacher in Wisconsin and am using this video to empower my students to see art as activism and to open up dialogue on issues they normally don’t get to talk about. Thanks for being such an awesome resource and sharing your practice and stories!

  2. wow, this is incredible!! watching this for a class but it gave me goosebumps and i want to hear more!! You are such a talented artist, Marcus. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. No. You fight with your head, then your heart.

    Any other method lessens the chance of success. Activist art that’s been framed through ignorance is not helpful to anyone.

    Read, learn, apply.