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

NEW RESOURCE: The Arts and Civic Engagement Tool Kit
Animating Democracy is pleased to announce the release of a new field resource: The Arts and Civic Engagement Tool Kit: Planning Tools and Resources for Animating Democracy in Your Community. The CD features customizable worksheets containing thoughtful questions, clarifying sidebars, and examples to help users plan, design, and partner to create meaningful engagement activities. Resources on the CD include:

  • A context for understanding the possibilities at the intersection of art and civic life;
  • Definitions of common terms and diagrams to situate arts-based civic engagement work in a broader context of arts and community engagement;
  • Imagine, Define, Design—a series of worksheets designed to help users define a project’s core artistic elements and civic or social concern;
  • Worksheets on forging effective partnerships;
  • A framework to create meaningful dialogue at arts events; and
  • A compilation of civic engagement resources including organizations, websites, and publications.

Through December 31, 2008, order a copy of the Arts and Civic Engagement Tool Kit and a copy of Civic Dialogue, Arts and Culture: Findings from Animating Democracy together, and receive 15 percent off your complete order. To order a copy of this extraordinary resource, contact the Americans for the Arts Store at 800.321.4510.

Call for Project Profiles: Arts, Democracy, and the Election
Animating Democracy is seeking to document examples of art projects that promoted democracy, voting, and civic participation at local and regional levels during the recent election cycle. Profiles 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 have been used to encourage civic participation in the election, visit the Center for Civic Participation’s Art and Democracy project at

Updates from Animating Democracy
Workshops in Champaign-Urbana, IL
In late October, Animating Democracy presented the workshop Animating Democracy: The Power of Arts and Civic Engagement in partnership with 40 North | 88 West, Champaign County’s Arts, Culture and Entertainment Council in Champaign-Urbana, IL. The workshop brought together 40 arts organization leaders, artists, and community agencies, ranging from Zoo Theatre Improv Group to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to Champaign Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice, to learn concepts, principles, and best practices of arts-based civic engagement and dialogue. The full-day workshop co-presented by Pam Korza and artist Sandy Agustin was followed by a half-day of one-on-one clinics with individual groups to explore particular questions and ideas related to their own work.

Bulk copies of Animating Democracy: The Artistic Imagination as a Force in Civic Dialogue available for free!
This fall, Americans for the Arts has been clearing its shelves to make room for new products and publications, and as a result, we’ve uncovered extra copies of Animating Democracy: The Artistic Imagination as a Force in Civic Dialogue which are available for complimentary distribution (bulk orders only). In 1996, The Ford Foundation awarded a grant to Americans for the Arts to profile a selection of artists and cultural organizations whose work engages the public in dialogue on key issues. The resulting report — a pivotal resource for the field —mapped practice across disciplines at that time, identified issues and trends, and suggested funding and policy opportunities.

To receive a shipment of this exceptional resource, please contact Animating Democracy Project Manager Michael del Vecchio at 202.371.2830 or Minimum order: 25 copies. Copies are not packaged for resale. Recipient will be responsible for shipping costs.

Join Americans for the Arts Today!
Americans for the Arts is the leading national organization dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Join today and through your membership, you will have direct access to tools to help you work toward your community’s goals. Members receive discounts on items in our Store, including Animating Democracy publications and resources; the print quarterly newsletter, Arts Link, which provides valuable research and information on the state of the arts field; access to more than 15 listservs covering a wide variety of topics, including public art, emerging leaders, and community development; and reduced registration fees to online professional development opportunities, Knowledge Exchanges, and the Annual Americans for the Arts Convention.

For more information on membership at Americans for the Arts, contact Theresa Cameron, Director of Membership at or 202.371.2830.

News from the Field

Leveraging Investments in Creativity announces next cycle of ARTOGRAPHY
America is changing. Dramatic demographic changes are altering the way we think about rapidly shifting categories like majority and minority in our cities, towns, states, and regions. As America changes, so are its arts. The arts connect the private and public realms of our lives. They are also a barometer of our ideas, dreams, anxieties, and aspirations.

This month, New York-based Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) is launching a new cycle of grants open to all exemplary, diverse American arts organizations through its grantmaking program, ARTOGRAPHY: Arts in a Changing America. Through this program, grantees will navigate a deeper understanding of the ways in which art-making in America reflects and frequently helps people negotiate new opportunities and challenges of population changes in their communities among art audiences, participants, and creators,

Two-year grants under the ARTOGRAPHY program will include funds with a special focus on how the selected organizations can be more actively engaged in documenting what they do and sharing the lessons nationally. Mid-size arts organizations that fit the scope of this program are encouraged to submit a preliminary grant proposal. Proposals must be submitted by January 30, 2009.

ARTOGRAPHY is offered by LINC with funding from the Ford Foundation. LINC is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to enhance the capacity of artists to create work, build social capital, and contribute to democratic values.

Wing Luke Asian Museum presents Ho’omau Ka Huaka’i
In November, the Seattle-based Wing Luke Asian Museum opened Ho’o Mau Ka Huakai The Voyage Continues—a new exhibit for the museum and Asian Pacific Islander American community which explores the experiences of Native Hawai’ians in the Pacific Northwest from past to present day. Artifacts, photographs, multimedia, and first-hand stories from Native Hawai’ian civic and cultural leaders are featured. The exhibit is the result of a one-year collaboration among Native Hawai’ian community members representing a host of Native Hawai’ian civic and cultural groups in the Puget Sound.

Articles and Publications

Arte Público Press launches
Arte Público Press, the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors, has launched The World of Latino Culture and Arts—a new virtual library offering a multitude of resources about the history and cultural development of Hispanics in the United States. This free-of-charge online collection offers downloadable texts, sound recordings, videos, and other historical and cultural materials for download and review. In addition, selected texts from Arte Público Press are available for purchase from the site.

New Research from Irvine: Broadening the Definition of Cultural Engagement?
Through October 2008, The James Irvine Foundation commissioned WolfBrown and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts to investigate patterns of cultural engagement in California’s San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire areas. Researchers surveyed more than 6,000 people of diverse backgrounds to uncover cultural activity ranging from participation in music, dance, and theater and drama to reading and writing, visual arts, and crafts–much of which occurs off the radar of the traditional infrastructure of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and facilities. Through the resulting study, researchers describe a detailed picture of this broadened definition of cultural engagement and suggest new opportunities for cultural service providers and funders. (Thanks, Community Arts Network.)


Events on the Horizon

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.

With support from the
Ford Foundation
Washington, DC Office
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