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Exhibition to commemorate ‘Bread & Roses’ strike

SEATTLE — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO announces the Bread and Roses Exhibition, a production of its MayWorks Project, which this year celebrates the centennial of the 1912 “Bread and Roses Strike” by textile workers in Lawrence, Mass. This eight-week strike by the mostly immigrant women was historic in its militancy, focusing the entire nation on the need for dignity as well as fair wages and working conditions.

The exhibition will be on display at the Folklife Festival at the Seattle Center on May 25-28 in the Lopez Room, which will be open Friday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit is comprised of two parts: “We Fight for Roses, Too” and “AND NOW BEHIND CURTAIN #2.”

“We Fight for Roses, Too” is a photographic exhibit that illustrates the experience of maintaining community and cultural identity while struggling to make a living within America’s workforce as an immigrant. This exhibit highlights two such stories: contemporary farm laborers from indigenous Mexican migrant communities (the vividly colorful work of photojournalist/labor activist David Bacon) contrasted with elegant black-and-white portraits of Filipino cannery workers from the 1920s and 30s (done by photographer John Stamets as part of the “Alaskeros Project”).

It will also include the poster art work of 16 students, all visual art novices and non-art majors, from Prof. Beverly Naidus’s Labor, Globalization and Art course (UW Tacoma-Spring 2012). The students’ work explores personal work stories, frustrations with the employment possibilities that the students face, and labor issues related to the human cost of corporate globalization.

“AND NOW BEHIND CURTAIN #2” is an interactive installation in the form of a large colorful fabric spiral with apertures, images and messages that viewers walk around and through. Created by artist/authoR/teacher/activist Beverly Naidus, the installation premiered at the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum in Duisberg, Germany, in 2005. This viewing will be the North American debut for the piece. Naidus’ work examines the tensions, fears and illusions promoted by the corporate media, the stories of individuals struggling to make sense of this economic and political moment, and invites the viewers to participate in a game that playfully explores the perils and rewards of activism.


At the 2011 Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, delegates voted to plan a celebration of workers’ culture during the month of May 2012 to be called “MayWorks,” a tradition long celebrated by the Canadian labor movement. The Bread and Roses Exhibition at the Seattle Folklife Festival is just one of many MayWorks events planned or the month.

Here are the other MayWorks events, including some that take place in April. (You can also download a PDF of the MayWorks poster that includes this same information.)

Emerging Leaders Conference – Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Washington State Labor Education and Research Center, SCCC Georgetown Campus
More information.

Images of Labor Exhibit – Wednesday, April 18 – Friday, May 18
Time: All Day
South Seattle Community College Library, West Seattle Campus

“We Do the Work” Film Contest  — Submission Deadline – Friday,  April 20
Get more information.

Meaningful Movies – “Locked Out” – Friday, April 27
Time: 7:00 PM
Keystone Church – 5019 Keystone Place, Wallingford, Seattle

International May Day March and Rally – Tuesday, May 1
Time: 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Judkins Park, 2510 S Norman St. Premiering the ELC Bread & Roses Float

Charlie King and Karen Brandow Workshop – Wednesday, May 16
Time: Noon
Western WA University, Bellingham

Charlie King and Karen Brandow Concert – Wednesday, May 16
Time: 7:30 PM
Roeder Home, 2600 Sunset Drive, Bellingham

Charlie King and Karen Brandow & Rebel Voices in Concert – Thursday, May 17
Time: 7:15 PM
South Seattle Community College Olympic Hall Auditorium, West Seattle Campus
A Pre-Concert Wine Reception, hosted by the Washington State Labor Council, will be held at 6 PM

“A Loud Noise in a Quiet Place” Performance – Thursday, May 17 – Tuesday,  May 22
Time: 8:00 PM
Triad Theater – 102 Yelm Avenue East, Yelm 98576
Call 360-446-2188 for reservations.

The 44th Annual Pacific NW Labor History Association Conference – May 18-19
Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma

— 1912 – Occupy Lawrence – The Great Textile Strike with Charlie King and Karen Brandow
Friday, May 18 at 7:30 PM

— The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti Workshop with Charlie King and Karen Brandow
Saturday, May 19 at 9:30 AM

— Songs for the 99% with Charlie King and Karen Brandow
Saturday, May 19 at 8:00 PM

Charlie King and Karen Brandow, Parody Song Writing Workshop – Sunday, May 20
Sponsored by the Seattle Labor Chorus and Washington State Labor Council
Time: 1:00 PM
Washington State Labor Council, 314 1st Ave. W., Seattle

at the Seattle Center

Bread & Roses Exhibition – May 25 – 28
Time: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM Friday – Sunday, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM Monday
Lopez Room
(see above)

Oral Histories -Interviews with Seattle Center Workers – Saturday, May 26
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Narrative Stage at the SIFF Cinema

Labor Show – Saturday, May 26
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 PM
Bagley Wright Theatre
Chris Chandler; Nina Laboy; David Rovics; Seattle Labor Chorus; Solidarity Notes; Citizens Band

We Do the Work Film Festival – Sunday, May 27
Time: Noon
Narrative Stage at the SIFF Cinema
Awards announcements and screenings of the top three videos

Bread & Roses, Then and Now Workshop – Sunday, May 27
Time: 5:00 – 6:00 PM
Narrative Stage at the SIFF Cinema
Video about the original strike and discussion with representatives of contemporary labor struggles

Voices of Occupy Concert Hosted by David Rovics – Sunday, May 27
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Intiman Theatre Courtyard
Al Bradbury; Danny Kelly; Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm; Desert Rat; Nina Laboy; Chris Chandler; Jim Page; Laura Love and excerpts from the U.W. Drama School’s “Harp Song for a Radical”

Bread & Roses Commemoration Concert: 100 Years of Justice and Dignity – Monday, May 28
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Center House Theatre
Rebel Voices; Jacque Larrainzar; ET and the Boy; Pat Wright; ELC Float and performance in Lobby

Bread, Roses, and Happiness Workshop with John de Graaf – Monday, May 28
Time: 5:00 – 6:00 PM
Narrative Stage at the SIFF Cinema

For more information about “The Bread and Roses Exhibition” or the other MayWorks events, call the Washington State Labor Council at 206-281-8901.

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