In response to Walmart’s attempt to open a store in our hometown, we ran an election campaign for Town Council as an activist performance. This included Mike visiting homes, campaigning in the streets and at bus stops and me working in the studio designing and updating our website, cordinating volunteers, printing and distributing pamphlets and yard signs. We had two "meet the candidate" events, one which included the screening of the movie "Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price". We interracted with the local press, the Watertown Patch and the Boston Globe. We printed and distributed 5,000 postcards throughout Watertown with the help of more than 40 volunteers.
At the end of the 14 day campaign Mike was short of 90 votes, so we organized a recount. By that time, many in town knew what was at stake and thus the campaign had been successful in spreading the news that Walmart wanted to come to Watertown.
After the election we continued our work: In the winter of 2012 we started an online fundraising to raise money for a billboard at the spot where the proposed store was to be. By March we had enough money to fund the billboard for 2 consecutive months. Our billboard "imagine" was up May-June 2012. In July Walmart announced they were pulling out of Watertown.
See companion piece:
Books Abound - Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge MA - Mar 2015
CAMBRIDGE ART ASSOCIATION, CAMBRIDGE, MA | MARCH 2015
by Charlie Breitrose, Nov 17, 2011
BOSTON.COM Watertown write-in barely loses election
by Jaclyn Reiss, Nov 13, 2011
WATERTOWN TAB Letter: Mandel campaign sent message to Walmart Nov 10, 2011
WATERTOWN TAB Unofficial Watertown election results: Incumbents win Town Council race Nov 9, 2011
BOSTON GLOBER Walmart foe opens write-in bid by Megan McKee, Nov 2, 2011
by Jaclyn Reiss, Nov 2, 2011
by Erin Baldessari, Nov 2, 2011
WATERTOWN PATCHMan running for Town Council oppose Walmart by Charlie Breitrose, Oct 26, 2011