Who Do You Trust?

Ask a group of teachers to write a mission statement for their work in education and almost every person will write that they want to be trusted by their students. As teachers we can turn this around and ask, “Are we trustworthy? Do we share the same concerns as the students? Are we willing to stand up for (or simply with) the students and their communities when things get tough?

Posters in your classroom can send a powerful message to students that this is a place in which their concerns will be understood and respected. A political poster can send the message that this classroom is a safe place where racist or homophobic language is not acceptable.

As visual art teachers we know that visual stimulation is an important component of education. By displaying a changing array of posters in your classroom, you create non-curricular opportunities for contemplation and discussion.

What do you believe? Put it up on the wall.

The following sites are good sources of aesthetically and politically interesting posters.

Northland Poster Collective is dedicated to promoting a socially just world through the use of art. We create, find, distribute and encourage art that will make a positive contribution. There are many ways to make a difference. Our art ranges from fine art prints on themes of equality and dignity to educational posters that tell an important story to T-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers that express the vital issues of the day with humor and pizzaz. Our posters grace walls in many parts of our continent and planet and our organizing products are used in workplaces and communities wherever people organize to improve their conditions. Northland has grown from a small group of artists working in a makeshift basement studio to the headquarters for labor art that it is today.

For more information on the history of the Northland Poster Collective and how a group of artists decided to organize themselves and distribute their work so that their art would have an impact on the world:

To order posters from Northland Poster Collective:

Child Labor U.S.A.
by Ricardo Levins Morales

Children in nineteenth century USA working in mines. Today more child laborers are at work then at any previous time. Based on historic photo.

Text on this poster:
Young boys sitting bent over for 10-hour shifts picking up pieces of coal; children sewing for hours in crowded, stuffy sweatshops; orphan boys injured through "personal carelessness" in hot glass factories. Laws designed to prevent such terrible exploitation of children in the U.S. were passed during the first third of this century following years of campaigning by the labor movement. Today we are still finding children exploited for their labor. Some are middle class, looking to supplement their allowances. Others are low-income children helping to support their families or undocumented immigrants trying to make a living. In any case, the practice of child labor deprives youth of their childhood--of their education to prepare for more than a life of drudgery. It robs young people of their future.

History is Too Straight
by Laurie Casagrande

Black and white photo portraits of famous Gay and Lesbian people: Cole Porter, Eleanor Roosevelt, James Baldwin, and seven others. What isn’t taught in U.S. History or Literature classes?

To order these and other posters from NPC:


The Guerrilla Girls are a group of women artists, writers, performers and filmmakers who fight discrimination. Dubbing themselves “the conscience of culture,” they declare themselves as feminist counterparts to the mostly male tradition of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Batman, and the Lone Ranger. They wear gorilla masks to focus on the issues rather than their personalities. They use humor to convey information, provoke discussion, and show that feminists can be funny. In 16 years they have produced over 70 posters, print projects, and actions that expose sexism and racism in the art world and the culture at large. Kindred spirits who consider themselves Guerrilla Girls too have passed their work around the world. The mystery surrounding their identities has attracted attention and support. They could be anyone; they are everywhere.

The site includes a great picture inventory of some of the best Guerrilla Girl posters. Most posters are available for purchase.

Also, great for teachers! Now available: a 10-slide set of Guerilla Girls greatest hit posters.

Contact the Guerilla Girls at:


Syracuse Cultural Workers (SCW) is an educational and cultural organization founded in 1982. Our mission is to help sustain a culture that honors diversity and celebrates community; that inspires and nurtures justice, equality and freedom; that respects our fragile Earth and all its beings; that encourages and supports all forms of creative expression.

We see cultural work as an essential part of and support for political and economic change. Many of our materials celebrate movements for social change and their leaders, thus helping to legitimize history that is largely ignored or trivialized by commercial media and school textbooks. SCW also helps to unite socially concerned artists with a growing audience hungry for meaningful artwork.

Contact the Syracuse Cultural Workers website for a catalog: