Animating Democracy E-News May 2008
Animating Democracy News and Updates

Americans for the Arts 2008 Annual Convention, June 19–22: Civic Engagement Track
New Audio Blogs
Engage Now! This year, as part of the Civic Engagement Track at the Americans for the Arts Convention, Animating Democracy is offering a series of audio conversations with practitioners and professionals who will convene sessions at the event. Posted audio blogs include:

  • an exchange with Nora Berger Green, theater programs producer at the National Constitution Center and David Bradley, living news director exploring their innovative use of theater to engage local youth around questions of citizenship and civic participation through the lens of the Constitution; and
  • a discussion with Amy Skillman, Institute for Cultural Partnership’s vice president and director of arts and heritage programs, and Laura Marcus, independent consultant and folklorist, which addresses ways in which arts and cultural professionals can partner with social service agencies to assist recent immigrants in the resettlement process towards building local community, while maintaining connections to their countries of origin.

The registration deadline is June 6, 2008; all registrations after June 6 must be done on site. More information about the Civic Engagement track, as well as other tracks and sessions at the 2008 Convention can be found online at

News from the Field

Denver Mayor launches Dialog:City
Earlier in May, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper launched Dialog:City, an official public program of the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee, organized by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs. Inspired by the occasion of the Democratic National Convention, Dialog:City uses contemporary art and design to encourage civic engagement in neighborhoods throughout Denver, consisting of 10 site-specific public art exhibits the week of August 21–29. Dialog:City is the first event of its kind at a political party convention.

Intiman Theatre seeks American Cycle apprentice
Intiman Theatre, a Seattle-based theater company, seeks a full-time apprentice to deliver programming for The American Cycle, a five-year series of American stories, free public programs, and civic dialogue. Job responsibilities include participation with the social justice mission; production; and coordination of Rough Eagles, the high school youth program. Candidates must have experience in either teaching, directing, choreography, devising original work, playwriting, or acting. Deadline for applications is May 30, 2008.

What's the Big Idea? a new project exploring identity in Oakland
The Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts (CCA), in collaboration with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, will present What’s the Big Idea?: Identity Shifts, a new exhibition exploring concepts of identity, culture, and humanity towards rethinking how we know who are, “now that traditional definitions of race, gender, and nationality are breaking down and becoming open to interpretation.” Opening May 22, the exhibition features work created in collaboration with youth and community focused on the development of new models of practice in community-based art, cultural diversity, learning, and youth development through the arts.

Imagining America extends deadline for The Curriculum Project Survey
The Curriculum Project, a research initiative of Imagining America, is seeking respondents for their survey to research and assess current practice and future potential for excellence in community arts education. Desired respondents include: community artists and arts/cultural organization leaders; community organization partners (representatives of community groups receiving student placements or collaborating with educational partners on community-based projects); educators (in higher education and in community settings); current students and recent graduates; and friends of the field (basically everyone else with an interest).

This short survey can be completed at A project report will be published this fall and offer findings from the survey. Deadline to respond has been extended to June 1, 2008.

Leeway Foundation announces search for program director
The Leeway Foundation, a Philadelphia-based foundation which funds projects which…. is currently looking for a Program Director. The position is responsible for administering the foundation’s grant programs in accordance with its mission and grantmaking criteria, and for managing relationships—both internally and externally—which sustain and promote these programs. Full details and a job description can be found on Leeway’s website. The deadline for applications is May 30, 2008. 

Articles and Publications

New on the Community Arts Network: Bridge Conversations
Last month, the Community Arts Network launched a new series of essays detailing conversations between professionals who bridge the worlds of the arts and other sectors. Conversations include La Pena’s Paul Chin and Vanessa Whang talking about crossing the lines of culture and politics, race and ethnicity, and the local and the global; The Christensen Fund’s Ken Wilson and Caron Atlas talking about cultural context and creative philanthropy; Isao Fujimoto and Tim Marema on the power of “edgewalking”; and Caron Atlas and Mark Ritchie talking about balancing work and life. Check out the full collection of conversations online.

The project is directed by Caron Atlas and coordinated by R. Lena Richardson.
These conversations were commissioned by the Center for Civic Participation’s Arts & Democracy Project and the Community Arts Network to highlight a diverse group of people—including artists, community activists, educators, funders, political leaders and scholars—who build bridges and create hybrid and integrated programs, strategies, and lives. The project is directed by Caron Atlas and coordinated by R. Lena Richardson.

Corporation for National & Community Service releases Volunteering in America: 2007 City Trends and Rankings
A new resource for evaluation, Volunteering in America: 2007 City Trends and Rankings—a recently released study—supports and details efforts to increase volunteering in communities by providing a first-time analysis of volunteer trends by ranking and presenting detailed profiles of volunteering in each of 50 major metropolitan areas. The full report can be downloaded online—and used by organizations to develop tools and strategies to increase the level of individual engagement in volunteer activities, and build the infrastructure of nonprofits and communities to support more volunteer opportunities. 

Events on the Horizon

Aesthetics as Resistance: The Act of Community Building
The Community as Intellectual Space Symposium
Dates: June 13–15, 2008
Chicago, IL
Now in its fourth year, this year’s Community as Intellectual Space Symposium explores notions of the “art” of community building in a cultural context. Program activities include Community Informatics Initiative in Action workshops exploring the concept of "Curating Identity"; the premier of the third play in a trilogy by noted Puerto Rican author and playwright Tato Laviera; and a mural tour of downtown Chicago. Invited speakers include Dr. Margaret Burroughs, founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History, and muralist and artist Pablo Marcano.

Public Engagement in a Diverse America: Layers of Place, Movements of People
The 2008 Imagining America Conference
Dates: October 2–4, 2008
Los Angeles, CA
Public Engagement in a Diverse America: Layers of Place, Movements of People—the 2008 Imagining America Conference—will explore the question of how peoples, places, and disciplines intersect and shape the work of public engagement. Conference activities include a special workshop for participants on community-based theater arts, a keynote address by Judy Baca, and an opportunity to meet with “Voices from the Cultural Battlefront: Organizing for Equity,” an ongoing international conversation about the role of art and culture in the struggle for human rights. Sessions on Saturday will take place in a cluster of sites of community-based research and practice in Los Angeles, including the Japanese American National Museum, the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, the Hellman-Quon Building, part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, and Cornerstone Theatre Company.

Early-bird registration is available now through September 1. For more information, contact Associate Director Juliet Feibel at

Call for Proposals: National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation
Dates: October 3–5, 2008
Austin, TX
The National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation—hosted by the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD)—brings together leaders and practitioners in public engagement and conflict resolution to share resources and strategies, build lasting relationships, increase the visibility and effectiveness of their work, tackle challenges facing this emerging field, and initiate collaborative projects. In preparation for this year’s conference, participants have several opportunities to contribute content, share their work, and make progress on issues they care about—by submitting proposals for concurrent workshops, innovations, and networking topics. Details for all three  opportunities and forms to submit proposals can be found on the NCDD website at

With support from the
Ford Foundation
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