The Los Angeles County Labor Federation, a coalition of 300 affiliated union and worker organizations representing more than 800,000 members in every industry and from every background, convened at the Westin Bonaventure for theirWorkers Congress. A sample of the 800,000 plus membership met to organize and strategize on matters concerning their movement in a pandemic era. Big Bowl of Ideas was proud to offer creative services to congress attendees.
Working with our partner organization, Dear Frontline, BBOI commissioned 4 artists from that project (Deborah Aschheim, Dan Buller, Kate DeCiccio, and Mer Young) to amplify workers’ voices via intricate portraits in varying styles. And we made an intentional creative choice that rather than label them or identify workers by cold, unemotional occupation titles, we instead applied relevant “character values” words to capture the state and traits of the labor movement today in Los Angeles.
Congress attendees were taken on a journey from entrance to foyer. Taking a cue from the shape of the LA Fed’s logo, the experience began with hexagonal vinyl appliques with inspirational axioms guiding their path to the registration area. Following that entry path, attendees entered the foyer where their eyes met two 20-foot-tall banners with this year’s theme of On Our Terms. The centerpiece was the Worker’s Portrait Gallery, an interactive experience composed of six 8-foot-tall panels surrounding an 8-foot-wide expression wall. Participants were able to share their interpretation on the conference theme and add it to our collective expression wall. Thus workers’ voices were amplified visually and in written form.
The feedback was very positive from attendees and LA Fed staff. We’d like to think its a great example of what organizations can do, even when confined to a blank overly neutral environment like hotel foyers and hallways, to enliven a space, give it vibrancy and energy and have their attendees feel like they are in ‘their home.’