Drawing Outside The Lines: Art, Activism & Journalism

Join Gray Area, Mission Local, Pulitzer Center & ZERO1 to discuss how community members, artists, data scientists, and designers can work together to report the news through creative methods.

This summer, Mission Local began documenting the experiences of undocumented immigrants during the coronavirus pandemic. The stories of COVID-19 are wide-ranging, and journalists have innovated to make sure dozens of important community voices are heard. Hear from artists and journalists Lydia Chávez and Molly Oleson about their Mission COVID project, an archive of community experiences during the coronavirus pandemic that has been critical in getting the city of San Francisco to rethink its approach in the Latinx community.

Artist Ram Devineni, the creator of interactive social-activist comic books, will also share his latest work: Priya’s Shakti. The artist-educator will present a behind the scenes preview of the next edition of the popular augmented reality comic book series, featuring India’s first female superhero who returns to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Priya's Mask will be released as an augmented reality comic book and animated short film featuring the voices of popular Hollywood and Bollywood movie stars and actors on December 2, 2020.

On December 6th, Ram Devineni will be teaching a free workshop on how to create graphic and comic journalism with Virtual and Augmented Reality. RSVP here.


Molly Oleson

Molly Oleson is a Bay Area-based multimedia journalist, editor, photographer and illustrator. She holds a B.F.A. in painting from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, and a master’s degree in journalism from U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Oleson has contributed to dozens of publications, and most recently, served as Editor of the Pacific Sun, the country’s longest continuously published alternative weekly newspaper. She aims to find creative ways of combining writing, illustration, photography and video to tell compelling stories.

Lydia Chávez

Lydia Chávez has been a Mission resident since 1998. Her earlier career was at The New York Times on the business, foreign, and city desks. Local has long been in her bones – her Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on NYC’s experiment in community boards. Now, she’s searching for a sustainable news model. She was a professor at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism until the spring of 2019.

​Ram Devineni

Ram Devineni is creator of the augmented reality social-activist comic books, “Priya’s Shakti,” featuring India’s first female superhero and named “gender equality champion” by UN Women.  

Shamsher Virk

As the executive director of ZERO1 and in various initiatives across the Bay Area arts ecosystem, Shamsher Virk amplifies the impact of mission-driven organizations with strategic community engagement, communications, program development, and design. As a creative problem-solver and diplomatic communicator, he guides projects that celebrate the beauty of collaboration. Shamsher has worked internationally on five continents in four languages, entering new communities with a sustained commitment to inclusive process, responsive adaptation, and shared leadership. He studied human ecology at College of the Atlantic where he immersed himself in social research methodology and interdisciplinary communication arts.


Mission Local

Since 2008, Mission Local has been all up in the Mission District reporting on everything from tacos to tech, crime to culture, murals to MUNI, recording the lives and changes in the city’s oldest (and arguably, best) neighborhood. We aspire to be a model of local, self-sustaining, fiercely independent neighborhood news. We hope to reflect the Mission in all its diverse, fun, conflicted, and fascinating brilliance. We plan to keep chronicling its many stories for years to come.

The Pulitzer Center

The Pulitzer Center raises awareness of underreported global issues through direct support for quality journalism across all media platforms and a unique program of education and public outreach.


ZERO1 is a nonprofit arts organization that aims to address complex social challenges by producing community-driven new media and digital art projects. We believe that artistic experimentation with emergent technologies inspires novel creative strategies and broadens our critical understanding of the world. Through a global network of partners, we bridge governmental, academic, corporate, and cultural worlds to build engaged and vibrant communities that drive social action.

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