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

Call for Project Profiles: Arts, Democracy, and the Election
Animating Democracy is seeking to document examples of projects which use the arts, democracy, politics, and/or the upcoming election as a platform to encourage civic participation on the local and regional levels. Projects from across the country will be included in Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Policy Database (NAPD). The NAPD summarizes stories and best practices of artists and arts and humanities organizations and serves as a reference tool for professionals who are incorporating civic engagement and dialogue into practice.
Completed profiles will describe the artistic and/or engagement goals of the project; artistic component or activity; public programs; populations engaged; key partners; artistic, civic, or organizational outcomes of the project; and lessons learned. Animating Democracy is especially interested in any projects that are conducting evaluation to understand effects on civic participation or other outcomes.
To contribute to the collection of project profiles, send related information about your project (press releases, news articles, resources developed, etc) and a brief narrative to Animating Democracy Project Manager Michael del Vecchio at or 202.371.2830.

For additional information about ways that the arts are being used to encourage civic participation in the election, visit the Center for Civic Participation’s Art and Democracy project at

Animating Democracy on the Road

Tales of Four Cities: Animating Democracy’s Session at Grantmakers in the Arts
In line with the conference theme, “Arts and the New American City,” Animating Democracy offered a session at the recent Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) conference in Atlanta featuring innovative efforts in which artists are working with and within city systems to reinvigorate public processes and advance civic goals. The session explored what difference art makes in public process and what is needed to deploy creative resources to reengage citizens in planning for their communities. Artist Marty Pottenger and Assistant City Manager Pat Finnegan described the Arts & Equity Initiative which is engaging local artists with Portland, ME's city departments in artmaking to foster cross-cultural understanding. Toward revitalizing a traditionally African-American neighborhood in Arlington, VA, Mary Briggs of Arlington Cultural Affairs spoke about the role a folklorist played to engage county staff and citizens in re-imagining the neighborhood’s central square.  Michael Rohd described Sojourn Theatre’s work in Chicago, Hartford, and Portland, OR using site-specific, game-based performances to stimulate civic engagement around issues of housing and urban growth. And, Betsy Rosenbluth of the Orton Family Foundation, described a pilot program in Starksboro, VT to integrate artists into community planning and envisioning processes.

Animating Democracy’s Arts & Civic Engagement Workshop in San Diego
On October 1, Animating Democracy presented an Arts & Civic Engagement workshop in San Diego on the invitation of the San Diego Foundation. The workshop was presented by Pam Korza and artist Sandy Agustin for grantees in the Foundation’s new Art Works for San Diego initiative. Launched in 2008, the initiative sets forth a vision for art-based civic engagement and community development grounded in evidence that “art and culture can be valuable engines of civic renewal and community development.” The San Diego Foundation believes that “the arts represent perhaps the most significant underutilized forum for rebuilding community and increasing civic engagement throughout the region. Arts and culture organizations encourage community involvement and participation; increase the potential for people to understand themselves; change how people see the world; and bolster neighborhood pride and identity.” The workshop was attended by initiative grantee organizations at the beginning of a planning year for projects. The workshop launched a learning community for these grantees as well as National Arts & Humanities month. Other cultural organizations and artists participated as well.

Celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month this October
Be one of the 10,000 communities and millions of people that celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM) every October. Coordinated by Americans for the Arts, NAHM is the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation.
Visit the NAHM website at for tips and ideas to help you take action, be inspired, and participate in the arts during NAHM. The NAHM Events Map allows you to upload information about your own event or find others in your area. You can also become a fan of NAHM on the social networking website Facebook. Americans for the Arts is encouraging our members and other arts groups to join Facebook to show support and promote the arts and humanities during NAHM. On the page, you can view videos and photos from NAHM events around the country or post your own. Be sure to leave a message on the Wall and read NAHM’s Twitter feed for the latest news.

News from the Field

Anna Deavere Smith to present The Arizona Project in Phoenix
In November, playwright/actor Anna Deavere Smith will present The Arizona Project—a one-woman show exploring women's relationships to justice and the law. Smith is among the artists inaugurating the Future Arts Research (F.A.R.) program, a new artist-driven research program at Arizona State University which launched this year. The Arizona Project presents interwoven monologues, drawing verbatim from interviews with more than 30 women who have a relationship with the American judicial system—including prison system employees, incarcerated women, lawyers, activists, and former Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Commissioned by Bruce Ferguson, director of F.A.R., The Arizona Project will run November 5–7, 2008.

Leading for the Future: Innovative Support for Artistic Excellence announces grant awards to address sector-wide changes
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Nonprofit Finance fund announced 10 grant awards for its new initiative Leading for the Future: Innovative Support for Artistic Excellence. Designed to tackle sector-wide challenges such as shifting audiences, decreasing funding sources, and new technologies, the $15.125 million initiative will provide grantees with significant funding, technical assistance, and advisory services as they explore innovations to strengthen their business models. Grantees include the National Black Arts Festival, which aims to expand their art and performance audiences online; Ping Chong & Company, which aims to explore a new financial model by franchising a community-organizing experimental theatre project; and Cunningham Dance Foundation, which will transition to a post-founder legacy period as it furthers the work of choreographer Merce Cunningham.

Articles and Publications

New Essays and Commissioned Writings from the Exemplar Program available online
Community-based Artistic Practice: Perspectives from a Gathering of Exemplar Artist Companies
In November 2007, artistic directors of Cornerstone Theater Company, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Sojourn Theatre, and Urban Bush Women gathered to share ideas about community-engaged art practices, and connection with and responsibility to audiences and young artists. This report, written by Hannah Treuhaft, a company member from Sojourn Theatre and participant at the gathering, recaps four themes of the conversation: methodologies and implications of entering and leaving communities through residency projects, annual training institutes and leadership training for citizen-artist participants, successes and challenges of corporate partnerships as a source of revenue, and the meaning and value of arts-based community practice for traveling artist companies and their relationship to home communities.

Strategies for Developing Organizational Sustainability: Long-Term Relationships in the Arts
The National Black Arts Festival and The Woodruff Arts Center Partnership Development Project


Toward Sustainability: A Partnership Case Study of The National Black Arts Festival and The Woodruff Arts Center

In the spring of 2004, an anonymous donor made a five-year gift to underwrite the National Black Arts Festival’s (NBAF) use of venues on the The Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center’s campus. The gift (and its forthcoming expiration) served as the impetus for NBAF to explore ways to institutionalize a relationship of mutual benefit and enhance the sustainability of both organizations. NBAF launched research to learn more about long-term partnerships of other arts organizations and to inform development of a partnership with the Woodruff and its divisions—the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Alliance Theatre, and Young Audiences.

The resulting report, Strategies for Developing Organizational Sustainability: Long-Term Relationships in the Arts by Mikki Shepard, focuses in detail on the conditions for forming relationships, strategies and process for favorable negotiation, perspective on benefits and challenges of forming partnerships, and reasons for success. In an accompanying case study, Toward Sustainability: A Partnership Case Study of The National Black Arts Festival and The Woodruff Arts Center, Vanessa Whang chronicles the process between NBAF and the Woodruff as they explored synergies and shared interests toward the development of a mutually beneficial relationship. Further, Whang deconstructs the elements of the partnership development process, including “partnership rules of thumb,” stumbling blocks, and success factors, in an effort to encourage and guide organizations beginning new partnerships.

Imagining America releases The Curriculum Project Report
With support from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Curriculum Project Report: Culture and Community Development in Higher Education has been published online. Through surveys and interviews throughout 2008, the project gathered information on the current state of community cultural development education, its strengths, and its needs in response to recognition of the field’s rapid growth in writing and documentation; educational programs; and work bridging culture, community development, and social change. The report includes a description of the field as a context for the report, and remarks on CCD education, current perceptions of the field, and ideas of what is needed now. Further, the report also contains a glossary of key terms and an extensive sampling of current courses and programs at higher educational institutions. For more information about the report, contact Program Coordinator Jamie Haft at 315.443.8765 or

Events on the Horizon

Priming the Pump: Fueling Integrated Arts Marketing, Fundraising, and Sponsorships to Optimize Revenue!
Dates: November 9–12, 2008
Houston, TX
In today’s economy, arts organizations are seeking innovative ways to generate new audiences and revenue, while operating in an environment when philanthropic dollars may be stretched. The 2008 National Arts Marketing Project Conference will gather more than 500 colleagues from around the country to discover fresh perspectives on marketing and fundraising techniques through intensive workshops, an open forum for new ideas, and sponsorship clinics led by top marketing and sponsorship experts.

Session and program details are now posted online. New this year! A track of four sessions on branding including Branding 101, Advanced Branding, a session on how to leverage your sponsor’s brand, and a session on how branding gives oomph to your fundraising efforts.

Districts & Culture
An Americans for the Arts Knowledge Exchange
Dates: December 5–6, 2008
Columbus, OH
Columbus calls itself the City of Districts. The districts encompass and promote artists, major arts and arts education institutions, smaller arts organizations, creative industries and arts and culture-related retail businesses. Districts & Culture will examine a variety of districts as a means to discuss leadership, programs, incentives, management, marketing and branding, collaboration and competition, as well as how to measure the impact and effectiveness of districts in supporting and promoting arts and culture. Over the course of two days, participants will share knowledge, grapple with key questions, and actively synthesize information for applicability to participant communities anywhere in the nation. Through the workshop, participants will gain a deeper sense of perspective on how their local efforts compare to those in other cities, as well as a variety of information immediately relevant for planning and programming—including a background paper tracing the evolution of cultural districts, a literature review, and six Columbus district case studies to be distributed before the event.

Public Art Master Planning: Developing a Plan for Your Community
An Americans for the Arts Knowledge Exchange
Dates: December 5–6, 2008
Reston and Arlington, VA
Nationwide, community leaders are looking to public art to improve public spaces and revitalize civic infrastructure. A public art master plan—and the community process by which a plan is developed—offers a way to define a community’s identity as well as address cultural and physical improvements within the context of broader urban and regional planning efforts. Public Art Master Planning will provide an in-depth exchange of insight and information among public art, urban planning and design, and private development professionals from across the country. A case study approach will examine the public art master plan currently in development for Reston, VA, alongside the well-established plan in Arlington, VA. Presentations and facilitated conversation led by Todd Bressi and Meredith McKinley (via Partnership) will focus on the development and planning process, gaining support, implementation, and lessons learned.

Mad as Hell? Now Move (or Draw, or Act…): The 5th Annual Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed Conference
Dates: May 18–25, 2009
Twin Cities, Minnesota
What makes you mad? What injustices compel us to act? What are the success stories? How do we organize long-standing and sustainable changes for the good of our communities? How might we use problem-posing to address the conflicts that confront us? How do we navigate the spaces between the ‘World As It Is’ and the ‘World As It Should Be’? Through the Annual Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed Conference activists, organizers, educators, and artists will explore these questions, share techniques, learn tactics, and pose questions that concern the ways that art and education can be socially transformative. Invited guests include Augusto and Julian Boal, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Ananya Dance Theatre. The PTO Board and the Local Organizing Committee request proposals for interactive presentations, panels, performances, dialogues, and workshops that wrestle with the organizational mission: To challenge oppressive systems by promoting critical thinking and social justice. Proposals should reflect participatory models of engagement that speak to broad audiences and cross the borders of environmental justice, immigrant rights, racial justice, growing poverty and wealth, militarism and peace, and the other great issues of our time and that bridge academic work and community organizing.

For more information contact, or call Conference Office Manager Ben Fink at 612.840.0141.The deadline for proposals is December 1, 2008.

With support from the
Ford Foundation
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