How a ‘Somebody’ in DC got my ‘Anybody’ #NoKXL book for Obama

by Franke James

Franke James holds her Dear Obama book at CEQ office in DC on Feb 7 2014, Photo by Billiam James

How easy was it to give a ‘Somebody’ at the White House my ‘Anybody’ book about the Keystone XL?

Surprisingly easy, actually. I was in Washington for a presentation and panel at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The next day, I walked into The Council on Environmental Quality’s office near to the White House, and dropped off two copies of my ‘What can anybody tell Obama about the Keystone XL?’

One copy was for the Council’s Chair, Nancy Sutley, and the other was inscribed to President Obama.

photo of Anybody book with 1200 names in it

Chair Sutley serves as the principal environmental policy adviser to the President. Now, if I can get you to tweet to @WhiteHouseCEQ, or email them (FN-CEQ-OpenGov AT, maybe they’ll thumb through it and see the names of the 1,200 Anybodies who sent letters to Obama from my story saying “No Keystone XL”! (As Ms. Sutley will be leaving the CEQ on February 18th and will be replaced by her Chief of Staff, Mike Boots, another book will be mailed to his attention.)

My thanks to the 1,200 people (so far) who have sent letters to Obama from my story. In this custom-run edition, we printed the names of everyone at the back, plus the six “Oh No Canada!” posters which were exhibited in DC from October through to December. (The ebook is available for Kindle on Amazon.)

What is the CEQ?

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) coordinates Federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives. CEQ was established within the Executive Office of the President by Congress as part of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and additional responsibilities were provided by the Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970.

My Corcoran Talk: What can “Anybody” tell Obama about the Keystone XL?

At the Corcoran’s Artists on the Line event in Washington, DC, I read my story, “What can “Anybody” tell Obama about the Keystone XL?”


The Artists on the Line panel featured: (from left to right) Moderator Michael McCarthy, artist/documentary game creator David Dufresne, Corcoran Gallery of Art staff, author/artist Franke James, artist/teacher Mia Feuer, author/journalist Steve Mufson. (Mia Feuer’s evocative sculptural installation ‘An Unkindness’ is currently featured at the Corcoran.)

photo of Franke James by David Dufresne
photo of Franke James by David Dufresne
I inscribed in the book, “Dear President Obama, Our future depends on your leadership. Please see the 1,200 people who have signed my story to you.”

Related Content

Corcoran Art interview: Michael McCarthy interviews artists Franke James and David Dufresne.

Corcoran Interview Excerpt:

Michael McCarthy: How can the artistic community and an army of “anybodies” provoke change?

Franke James: Artists can be the change-leaders shaping society. But we need to speak up! Too many people are complacent in the face of social injustices. But complacency is complicity. Use your voice — fearlessly. Exercise your right to free expression and you will stand out. Believe me.

I think the democratization of the internet gives politically-minded artists tremendous power. We can create art that changes people’s minds—which is why we see some governments censoring our art. Artists can really throw a wrench in the system by speaking the truth that nobody else wants to admit.

Oh No Canada! Posters

More information on the posters and exhibit

Do Not Talk about Climate Change

Banned by Canada!
Large Poster (23″ X 33″)
Regular Poster (13.9″ X 20″)

Canada is the Dirty Old Man

Canada is the Dirty Old Man
Large Poster (23″ X 33″)
Regular Poster (13.9″ X 20″)

Oh Canada, what's going down?

Oh Canada, What’s going down?
Large Poster (23″ X 33″)
Regular Poster (13.9″ X 20″)

Canada’s Carbon pollution is rising

Fat Cat Canada’s Emissions
Large Poster (23″ X 33″)
Regular Poster (13.9″ X 20″)

Banned by Canada! A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship

Banned by Canada!
Large Poster (23″ X 33″)
Regular Poster (13.9″ X 20″)

No Keystone XL: The Tar Sands Eagle

No Keystone Eagle
Large Poster (23″ X 33″)
Regular Poster (13.9″ X 20″)


Photo credits:
Billiam James, Artist, writer and interactive storyteller
David Dufresne, filmmaker and creator of the documentary-game, Fort McMoney

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