Defending Democracy: Art as an Agent of Change

defendingdemocracy3partseries.PNGArt makes us laugh. Art makes us cry. Art makes us think.

In sum, art moves us – to tears, to action, to places we never knew existed inside ourselves.

Throughout history, especially in times when democracies are strained, artists have created work as protest and as parody, speaking truth to power in a way that transcends words. At the same time, because of art’s intense emotional power, it can be seen as a threat by those who wish to stifle expression and action - so we often see attacks on the arts during times of societal tension.


Edel Rodriguez is a Cuban American artist whose iconic and graphic images of Donald Trump stare out at us from the magazine covers of Time and Der Spiegel, conveying so much about our current political situation without a single word.

In Part 3 of our Defending Democracy speaker series, Edel will talk to Peabody Award-winning radio producer Julie Burstein about how artists from Goya in the 19th century, to Picasso in the 20th, and Banksy in the 21st, have addressed despotism and threats to democracy – as well as his own recent graphic images of Trump.


More about the panelists:

Edel Rodriguez, born in Havana, Cuba in 1971, has exhibited internationally with shows in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Havana, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Spain. In 1980, he and his family made their way to the U.S. during the Mariel boatlift. He is a regular contributor to the The New York Times Op Ed page and The New Yorker magazine, and has created over a hundred newspaper and magazine covers for outlets such as TIME Magazine, Der Spiegel, Newsweek, The Nation, Businessweek, The New Republic, and The Village Voice.

Inspired by personal history, religious rituals, politics, memory, and nostalgia, Edel’s bold, figurative works are an examination of identity, mortality, and cultural displacement.

Edel's artwork can be found at a variety of institutions including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. and numerous private collections. His work has received awards from The Art Director’s Club and The Society of Illustrators in New York City.

Julie Burstein is a Peabody Award-winning radio producer, TED speaker, and author of Spark: How Creativity Works. Julie is the creator of WNYC’s Studio 360, and has spent her working life in conversation with highly creative artists, scientists and business professionals — creating live events and public radio programs about them and their work.


Part One in this series focused on our intelligence agencies. Part Two focused on the importance of a free press.


SEATING IS LIMITED! Reservations are required. Reserve your seats now.


October 25, 2018 at 7:00pm - 9pm
Center for Spiritual Living
331 Mount Kemble Ave
Morristown, NJ 07960
United States
Google map and directions
Karen Escalona ·