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March Paint to Express at Atlas Defense

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

On March 19th, 2023, Memorialize the Movement (MTM) hosted the March Paint to Express workshop in collaboration with Atlas Defense. Atlas Defense is a person of color-led small business in North Minneapolis which focuses on community defense training courses that strive to empower Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color people to feel safe on their own terms. As a team of Black and Brown femmes, we always feel at home with Atlas Defense.

With Spring almost at our doorstep, we learned about creating seed bomb seedlings. Seed bombing is a practice of guerilla gardening which beautifies and increases tiny healthy oases of wildflowers and healthy green plants in and around a neighborhood. Seed bomb assemblage is quite simple. After soaking your seeds overnight, mix together five parts clay with one part compost and one part seeds. Make sure the seeds are native to the area, as you do not want your seedlings to upset your local ecosystem. Knead together with a little water and then roll up the mixture into individual balls that fit within the palm of your hand. Allow for the balls to dry overnight. The following day, throw your seed bombs into vacant lots, abandoned parcels of land, and anywhere with sufficient soil, moisture, and sunlight that will coax your seed bomb into growing plants (Sakugawa 2013).

Here is a helpful graphic created by Yumi Sakugawa to learn and apply techniques of seed bombing.

At this month’s PTE workshop, our attendants embodied what it means to be a community. We had great music by Dee Untethered and alkaline-based food by Keiko’s Kitchen. This workshop was one for the books as we had great vibes, food, and conversations.


These are some of the ways we believe PTE workshops create a significant impact on our community:

Art Therapy: We believe that painting is a great way to express emotions and healing for those who are struggling with their mental, physical, or spiritual health. Through the process of painting, attendants have the opportunity to express themselves visually through their art. By using colors and powerful imagery, individuals can express their feelings in a way that words may not allow. This can be particularly helpful for those who struggle with verbal communication. During this workshop, we laid out the card game Conversations About Safety created by Color of Change for attendees to use as a guide to begin conversations about community safety.

Representation: It is uncommon to find spaces that are not majority white owned, operated, and attended. Our PTE workshops are important because they are Black and Brown owned and operated, and almost exclusively attended by a majority of Black and Brown people. What sets PTE workshops apart from other events is that we embody true diversity in every event, meaning that there is an equitable representation of many different races and ethnicities at each workshop. The wheel of representation helps not only the current generation but also the coming generations to constructively acknowledge the erasure experienced by Black and Indigenous people in this country.

Control: Another way that painting can be used to heal is by providing a sense of control. When individuals are struggling with mental health issues, it can often feel like they have lost control of their lives. By painting, attendees regain a sense of control and create something beautiful in the process.

Sense of Belonging: PTE workshops are designed to foster a sense of connection and togetherness among participants while promoting creativity and sustainability. The workshops provide a safe space for people to come together and share their ideas, stories, and experiences while painting. Whether it's painting a powerful motto, making a hand-stamped design on plywood, or simply rejoicing in the beauty of nature, everyone is welcome to contribute to the collaborative art project comfortably.

Here is a video that captures how the event unfolded!


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