2012 Great Labor Arts Exchange

glae_webready-600pxwidev2OCCUPY NOW!!!

The Great Labor Arts Exchange is a gathering of union and community activists, rank and filers, organizers, cultural workers, artists, labor educators, and youth who use, or support the use of, songs, art, poetry, theater, skits, posters, cartoons, and film to strengthen the labor movement.  You don’t need to be an artist or performer to attend or perform!!!


Registration Information

Registrations are now being taken online

View the full workshop schedule

Table of Contents

To pay by check, or to arrange monthly payments, please use the downloadable PDF registration form.

Download the 8 page, full color brochure here.

The conference agenda can be viewed here.

Housing, Meals and Transportation details can be found here.

Submission information for the Artists Gallery can be found here.

  • Nourish your soul in an atmosphere of creativity & solidarity;
  • Celebrate the rich cultural heritage of working people;
  • Network with labor musicians, organizers, performers, visual artists, and writers.

Enjoy workshops (such as)

  • Songwriting
  • The Making of a Parody
  • Working Artists: Making art work and keep you working (a Business 101 for Artists)
  • Labor Music & Songs 101 (Songs every union member/supporter should know)
  • Oral History/Story Telling
  • Labor Art Space
  • The Power of the Spoken Word – Theatre, Poetry, and Performance
  • Arts Exchange and Song Swap
  • Using You-Tube, Internet, and online networking sites to build your base and get your message out

Participants will:

  • Meet other unionists from all over the country and abroad
  • Exchange experiences and ideas for artistic expression;
  • Collaborate or engage with other artists, performers, and activists;
  • Share resources with organizers and artists from the Conference on Creative Organizing;
  • Return home rejuvenated, energized and inspired with a battery of new ideas and tools that will make your artistry more engaging and infused.

Previous participants said:

  • “This is not just entertainment – we’re building for strength.”
  • “I attended in conjunction with my NLC graduation.  It was intended to be part of celebrating completion of my academic goals.  It turned out to be a new beginning for me.”
  • “I love the wide inclusion of all generations!”
  • “…[this] seems to have started as a retreat for lefty political folk singers to foster solidarity.  It has evolved into a training camp…workshop to [for] activists to reinvigorate the labor movement through labor culture.”
  • “Acceptance of everyone no matter what their skill or talent.”  “I enjoyed performing – best time I’ve had in a long time.”
  • “Loved singing in the chorus!!!”

The 2012 Joe Hill Award Recipients will be …

The Joe Hill Award, honors leaders and artists who have contributed to the successful integration of arts and culture in the labor movement.Given every year at the Great Labor Arts Exchange it is awarded to persons based on their dedication, participation, and promotion of labor, labor arts, culture, organizing, and/or history.

“Occupy Now! Concert & Performances”

June 24, 2012  at 7:00 pm

The concert will feature Joe Hill Awardees & the DC Labor Chorus, Charm City Labor Chorus, and special performances by participants of the Great Labor Arts Exchange, Camp Solidarity, and the Conference on Creative Organizing. Special invited musical and performance guests.


Participants will converge in the Baltimore & DC Metropolitan area and participate with local Occupy activists to bring attention and energy to issues currently facing working people, our country, and our leadership.

Additional information can be found here.


Apply for John Handcox Scholarship

The John L. Handcox Scholarship Fund encourages the promotion of a movement that is multi-ethnic, multi racial, and provides for a diversity of activities by providing opportunities for organizers, artists, and activists of color to participate in the labor movement via The Great Labor Arts Exchange and the Conference on Creative Organizing.

*Donations to the John Handcox Scholarship Fund are greatly appreciated.

Apply for the Julius Margolin “Youth In Labor” Scholarship Award

This scholarship is open to everyone; the only requirement is that applicants must be under 30 years of age at the time of the festival. Recipients will receive between $250 and $500, based mostly upon travel requirements. Recipients who reside within 50 miles of the festival location will receive sufficient funds to cover registration, transportation and meals for the Great Labor Arts Exchange.


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