Artist Joey Hartmann-Dow '08 Empowers Young Adults with Comic Book Series

During a residency in Washington, DC with Quaker-lobbying organization Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), artist Joey Hartmann-Dow ’08 recently brought to life the first issue of a young-adult comic book series about the importance of citizen lobbying to create social change. Inspired by FCNL’s mission, “The Seeks Series” aims to empower anyone, no matter their background, to engage with their representatives to effect change through policy.

“When I asked Congressional staffers about their most memorable lobbying visits, so many times their answers involved kids or when they had a group of students come into their office,” said Joey. “This is because it’s really different when young people want to communicate with their representatives. I thought it would be cool to show teenagers and young adults exactly what a lobby visit would look like, and in a more accessible medium than just written.”

Quickly after beginning her residency in February 2018, Joey realized her original goal of producing multiple books during her short two-month residency wasn’t feasible - and she ended up only producing the first installment of the series.
“It was incredible to me how much goes into a comic book,” noted Joey. “Storytelling is crucial to making a connection with your staffer or with a representative’s office. It took me a while to pin down the story I wanted to tell, but pulling from my own experiences made the process easier and made the story feel more authentic.”

Shortly after the first issue was published in April 2018, she had the opportunity to lead a workshop with a group of seventh-grade students.

“I was surprised at how engaged the class was...The comic book series is different than a brochure, pamphlet or a website because I can bring it into places, like coffee shops and comic book stores, where you wouldn’t normally see a resource about lobbying,” added Joey.

“When I was at Moravian Academy, I loved the art program, but I never thought I would be an artist because, at the time, I didn’t see how I could make an impact with art,” said Joey. “Later on, I figured out I could help people through art, but I would have to use my creativity. If I wasn’t creative, I wouldn’t be able to send a message through a comic book, a painting, a drawing, or any project that I am working on.”

To view “The Seeks Series,” visit Joey’s website at www.usandweart.com.
 
This article appeared in the Winter 2019 Moravian Academy Journal's "After Moravian: Creative Paths" section on page 27.

Merle Smith Campus

Downtown Campus