Open Studio

Making a Collaborative Protest Poster

by , September 2018

Our Objective:

How do you publicly express your passion for a social issue you care about? Protest posters are a great way of creatively using text and images to demonstrate your stance on a problem, controversy, or debate. Historically, these types of posters have engaged the social and political themes of their time and place. A collective effort, this is your chance to find an ally, decide on an issue, and create your protest poster.

Resource: Sanctuary City Timeline


Painting, drawing, mixed media


Poster board (any size), scissors, paint and brushes

Download This Activity

PDF | Word Document

How to make a protest poster:

Part 1: Find a cause
What are you passionate about?
Find an article on that issue.
Within that article, find a sentence or a set of words that resonate with you.
In six words or less, what would you tell someone about this issue?

Part 2: Ask your community
Talk to people about this issue, and ask them the following questions:
– Why is this important to you?
– How much do you know about this?
– What else do you think people need to know?

Part 3: Write down eight words
Based on your interactions with others, decide what you want to say about this issue, and write it down in eight words or less.
Hint: Your words should be immediate and easy to understand.

Part 4: Make your poster
How can you best illustrate the words you have just written? Use paint or markers and write your words on your poster board. Choose a color that’s vibrant! Make sure that all the letters fill in the page. (The letters do not have to be the same size.) And voilà, you’ve made your protest poster.

Part 5: Distribute your poster
Find a place where you think people need to read this message and place the poster(s).

Extra credit—make your poster a silk screen:

1. Create your image in Photoshop.
2. Send the file to a silkscreen shop like Ape Do Good in San Francisco (apedogood.com) or Forthrite printing in Oakland (forthriteprinting.com).
3. Follow these instructions to print your poster.

About Open Studio

Designed by practicing artists, the Open Studio classroom activities aim to connect high school teachers and students with key ideas and issues in contemporary art. See all of the Open Studio activities.

Chris Treggiari

Chris Treggiari

Born 1978 in Concord, MassachusettsCurrently lives in San Francisco, California Treggiari's artistic practice seeks to investigate how art can enter the public realm in a way that connects a wide range of people and neighborhoods across a variety of communities.