Artists Vs. Big Oil Exhibition Brings Communities Together to Raise Millions for the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California, Working to “keep the Law” Protecting Neighborhoods From Toxic Drilling

Eric and Wendy Schmidt, and Chairman Greg Sarris, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Give $10 Million to Support Community Leaders in Their Fight to Protect Neighborhoods from Big Oil  

Los Angeles, CA (April, 12, 2024) — On Tuesday, April 9th, renowned artists joined with environmental justice advocates and frontline community members to release a new exhibit supporting the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California in their David vs. Goliath fight against Big Oil to protect neighborhoods from toxic oil drilling.

Hosted by Christie’s, environmental activist and actor Jane Fonda, and art museum owner Larry Gagosian, this gathering showcased contemporary artworks donated by the collective “Artists vs. Big Oil.” Funds raised from these works, donated by more than 30 renowned artists including Shepard Fairey, Charles Gaines, Frank Gehry, and Marilyn Minter and to be auctioned by Christie’s in May, will support neighborhood leaders standing up to oil companies to protect where they live, work, go to school and play from dangerous oil wells.

“This is a human issue, a family issue. It’s about the right of everyone in California, no matter where they live, to healthy air, uncontaminated soil and clean water,” saidWendy Schmidt, president and co-founder of the Schmidt Family Foundation, who with her husband Eric has committed $10 million to match funds raised for the campaign. “The days of Big Oil operating toxic drilling sites with impunity–literally in our backyards where children play–are over. It’s time the health of our families, children and communities comes first, and that’s why we need to keep the law.”

“It’s vital for Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria to be part of this effort to protect California neighborhoods from toxic oil drilling. Our people have cared for California – its shoreline, wildlife, natural resources and all those who live in the state – for millennia. Supporting the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California is an important way to advance the tribe’s mission of social justice and environmental stewardship,” stated Greg Sarris, Tribal Chairman, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

This evening, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria donated $5 million to the campaign, and the Schmidts matched the donation with an additional $5 million to the campaign.

Big Oil has already spent more than $53 million to try to undermine a law (SB 1137) that protects communities from toxic drilling, and is expected to spend upwards of $200 million through the November election.

“For years my art and activism have focused on a vision for the future where people’s health and well-being come before oil industry profits. I’m honored to join frontline community members battling against Big Oil’s deceptive campaign to poison them in their own neighborhoods,” said Shepard Fairey, American contemporary artist. “Grassroots people-power, combined with artists’ support and creativity, provides the momentum needed to uphold the law that protects California communities from toxic oil drilling. I’ve seen and heard directly from the people who have suffered devastating health impacts from neighborhood drilling and firmly believe that Califorians will agree: we must preserve this common-sense law and vote for a safer, healthier California.”

“Youth and working families in frontline communities across California, have the right to breathe clean air and live in safe neighborhoods free from the constant health harms caused by oil drilling such as respiratory infections, asthma, reduced lung function, and childhood leukemia,” said Darryl Molina-Sarmiento, Executive Director of Communities for a Better Environment. “We have organized against Big Oil in our neighborhoods and in the Legislature and we are organizing with these incredible artists to defeat them again!”

The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California is a coalition of health professionals, environmental justice groups, community and faith leaders, and youth joining together to stand up to Big Oil and make sure that no Californians have to endure health hazards from living just steps from dangerous oil wells.

For more information on the campaign, visit