With just under two weeks left in the U.S. Census, the San Benito County Arts Council, Youth Alliance, Community Foundation for San Benito County and the County of San Benito have come together to brainstorm creative ways to encourage residents, especially hard-to-count communities, to participate in the 2020 survey.
Bryan West, a teaching artist with the Arts Council, was chosen to design a vibrant poster based on his existing graphic design work featuring pop culture icons from the ’80s and ’90s.
“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,” West said.
The census provides the federal government with information needed to determine how many congressional seats are apportioned, and how state and federal dollars are dispersed in communities for childcare and nutrition programs, mental health programs, education, parks, roads and more. An undercount of the population could have negative impacts for San Benito County, as every individual not counted accounts for about $2,000 per year in lost resources.
Jennifer Laine, executive director of the Arts Council, said the organization looked for artists who had previously worked on outreach campaigns and thought West would be a good choice. West has previously worked with nonprofits and on fundraisers including Housing Matters in Santa Cruz.
“We are so happy with the posters,” she said, adding that she hopes the art encourages people to fill out the census.
The posters, which were created in English and Spanish and paid for with funding from the California Complete Count Census Committee, have been installed at bus shelters and county buses, and will be displayed in storefronts, local schools, and businesses through the end of September.
West said he was happy to be selected for the project and that he was glad to do what he could to help spread awareness about the nationwide count.
“This was a really exciting project to work on,” West said. “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.”
There are three ways to fill out the 2020 Census:
- Online at my2020census.gov
- By phone at (844) 330-2020 (a list of in-language options is available here)
- By mail if you received a paper form
The survey asks for information including name, address, sex, race and age. It’s confidential, and by law responses cannot be shared with other government agencies. Responses cannot be used for law enforcement purposes and cannot be used to determine eligibility for government benefits. The census will not ask about citizenship status, and information given cannot be shared with immigration enforcement agencies.
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