The RNC protests were animated with creative art resembling the carnival atmosphere of the anti-globalization protests during the 1990s. The festive atmosphere contrasted sharply with the overwhelming police presence during the convention.

The streets were filled with dozens of cardboard peace doves, witty signs and handmade posters. Each day there was something interesting and different happening that captured people’s and the media’s attention. It was truly inspiring to participate in a protest that coupled creativity with sharp political criticism.

Political art can be the most personal and effective forms of public protest because people are drawn toward appealing colors, shapes and sounds. Theatrical and cultural protests engage audiences demanding a response. And actions utilizing shock value never fail to attract people’s eyes.

Activists organized by ACT UP blocked traffic around Madison Square Garden. They took off their clothes to reveal hand-painted signs on their bodies that read "Drop the Debt" and "Stop AIDS," demanding a real solution to the epidemic of AIDS in Africa. It caused strong reactions from bystanders and enough commotion so that several corporate media outlets covered them and it was talked about long after it happened.

Humor is a very enticing art medium, and the Billionaires for Bush know it. Mocking the elite profiting from the war, they dressed up as wealthy socialites who without shame declared their support for Bush with signs such as "4 More Wars."

Some art forms draw immediate compassion and sympathy from witnesses. One theater group dressed up as mothers carrying their dead sons, with others tolling a bell. Dressed in brown, they evoked a somber and dark mood, which caused a hushed silence in the crowd.

The Subjective Theater Company staged The White Plague at the "unconventional theater festival" during the RNC. Written in 1936 by Czech author Karel Capek the play uses Adolf Hitler’s language—which bears an eerie resemblance to the rhetoric Bush used to entice people to support the war in Iraq. "We want to marry the world of art and politics," said director Zach Mannheimer.

Creating art means that you have delved into your imagination to create something different. Expressing your emotions or opinions in ways other than with words can have a universal appeal. Making political art is a consuming process. It is threading together different parts of your imagination to understand an issue and propose an alternative. Creating art and beauty is expressing what we envision in the future; it is a positive outlook, a welcomed alternative to a discourse of fear, hatred and destruction. It allows us to dream and hope for a possible future.