Submitted by San Benito County, the San Benito County Arts Council, Youth Alliance and Community Foundation for San Benito County:
The San Benito County Arts Council, Youth Alliance, Community Foundation for San Benito and County of San Benito recently came together to brainstorm creative ways to encourage local residents, especially hard-to-count communities, to participate in the 2020 Census.
The 2020 Census is so much more than just a head count; it’s an opportunity for San Benito County to be counted. It is a picture of America which defines how many congressional seats are apportioned, how state and federal dollars are dispersed, redistricting, where businesses chose to open new stores.
After seeing different arts-based activities take place in other communities, local county and nonprofit leaders got together to brainstorm opportunities to bring awareness to the Census with the goal of encouraging residents to fill out the Census before it’s too late. Local artist, Bryan West, who is also a teaching artist with the Arts Council, was selected to design a vibrant, pop-culture inspired Census poster based on his existing graphic design work featuring pop icons from the 80s and 90s.
West stated: “I drew inspiration from old Lucha Libre trading cards and colorful Luchador masks, blending those flavors with a pop art sensibility that I think will make them really stand out.”
The Census posters, which were created in English and Spanish and paid for with funding from the California Complete Count-Census 2020, have been installed in the County bus shelters, county buses and will be displayed in storefronts, local schools and businesses through the end of September.
Reflecting on the process, West said, “This was a really exciting project to work on. Often when you are creating designs for a social cause or civic duty there is a desire to make everything look plain or ‘official’. I appreciate that San Benito County, The Arts Council, Youth Alliance and Community Foundation wanted something more dynamic and playful. The open-ended nature of this project freed me to create something that I really think will get people’s attention and hopefully motivate them to take action.”
Every Californian has the constitutional right to be counted. The count needs to be accurate to display who we are, what we look like, and what our needs are as these are a key factor in defining the distribution of resources to our country.
An undercount of the population would have far-reaching consequences for San Benito County, as every individual not counted impacts of $2000 per year in lost resources, over a 10-year span than $20,000 for each individual not counted.
English version below: