Animating Democracy February 2009 E-News
Animating Democracy News and Updates

Arts and Civic Engagement Webinar: Recommendations from the 2008 National Arts Policy Roundtable
The 2008 National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual forum of Americans for the Arts and the Sundance Preserve, examined important and timely opportunities for the arts to promote civic engagement toward building healthy communities and a healthy democracy. Through this webinar led by organizers and participants from the 2008 Roundtable, learn what business, government, philanthropy, education, and arts leaders recommend in areas of cross-sector alliances, policies and investment, research and evaluation, and messaging and casemaking to ensure a vital civic role for the arts.

Special Offer! Join as a professional member of Americans for the Arts by June 30, 2009 and receive one free webinar registration for Measuring Social Impact: Tools and Findings from the Arts & Civic Engagement Impact Initiative. Call 202.371.2830 or e-mail to join and receive the webinar code to use during checkout.

Americans for the Arts launches program and registration for 2009 Convention
Early-Bird Deadline: February 23, 2009
Details for the 2009 Americans for the Arts convention program have been posted online!
Renewable Resources: Arts in Sustainable Communities will convene arts and cultural professionals from across the country in Seattle to network and participate in over 75 field-crafted sessions—plus the opportunity to see the Public Art Year in Review and hear from keynote speakers.

Details for the Civic Engagement Track are near final! New sessions have been added online, as well as new confirmed speakers. Check out the schedule online for more information and to register. Further information about additional program tracks—including the Diverse Cultures and Public Art Program Tracks—is also now available. Deadline for early-bird registration is February 23, 2009.

Americans for the Arts Public Art Network announces Call for Submissions for the 2009 Year in Review
Since 2001, the Public Art Network’s Year in Review award has annually recognized outstanding public art projects through an open call submission and curation selection process. This year, submitted public art projects for the Public Art Year in Review will be reviewed by artists Janet Echelman and Mildred Howard, and will be presented at the 2009 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in Seattle. Selected projects will also be included in the 2009 Year in Review CD and the upcoming public art online image database being created by WESTAF.

Public art projects (temporary or permanent) completed in calendar year 2008 are eligible for submission. The deadline is Wednesday, March 25, 5:00 p.m. (MT). Full details on the application process and requirements can be found online.

News from the Field

Crossroads Charlotte: The Movie premiers locally
Crossroads Charlotte, a major community initiative in Charlotte, NC, which offers a series of stories about Charlotte’s future as a catalyst for civic dialogue, premiered Crossroads Charlotte: The Movie in local communities earlier this month. The four stories represent a range of futures, from the very bleak “Fortress Charlotte” to the optimistic and progressive “Eye to Eye”—potential portraits for the community in 2015. “The arts have been key to Crossroads Charlotte since its beginning, and the film offers yet another way for people and organizations to experience four possible futures for Charlotte and to inspire them to do what they can do to help steer our community towards a positive future and away from a negative one,” said Crossroads Charlotte Executive Director Patricia Zoder. Following the initial screenings, community members engaged in facilitated discussion about the film.

To view a trailer of Crossroads Charlotte: The Movie, visit

San Francisco Film Society announces new filmmaking grants program
The San Francisco Film Society (SFFS), with support from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, has announced a new series of grants awarded for feature films being made in the San Francisco Bay area. Grants are designed to support films that use plot, character, theme, or setting to significantly explore human and civil rights, anti-discrimination efforts, gender and sexual identity, and other urgent social justice issues of our time, and will be awarded in the spring and fall of each year. Grants awarded in 2009 support screenwriting and script development, pre-production, and post-production expenses. In addition to the grant, recipients will receive a range of benefits through the film society's filmmaker services programs.

Visit the SFFS website for complete program guidelines and eligibility details. February 23, 2009 is the deadline for a Letter of Intent. 

Articles and Publications

Arts & Equity Initiative releases 2009 Police Poetry and Photography Calendar
The Arts & Equity Initiative (AEI) led by artist Marty Pottenger seeks to improve municipal government through strategic art projects between artists, city departments, unions, elected officials, and the community. Launched in 2007 in Portland, ME, the initiative includes art-making workshops led by Pottenger and local artists within the city’s Public Works, Health & Human Services, and Police Departments. AEI's working hypothesis is that it's useful for people to make art about their work and lives, and that doing so increases their chances to come up with better solutions to longstanding problems.

The Police Poetry Project paired poets and photographers with members of the Portland Police Department (PPD) to write poetry and to address two key challenges—the relationship between police and the public and low department morale. The 2009 Police Poetry and Photography Calendar publishes the poems and photography created through the collaboration—the first of several citywide arts projects planned. "This project's already had a good impact on our department,” said PPD Chief Joe Laughlin, “The poems in the hallways, reading poems at roll calls—it's brought us a different sense of who we are and what we do…And now we have this calendar with beautiful photographs and powerful poems about the work that our officers do every day. Now it's up to the public." Copies of the calendar are available for purchase online at

AEI is participating in Animating Democracy’s Arts & Civic Engagement Impact Initiative. Working in a collaborative inquiry with Chris Dwyer of RMC Research, AEI is developing an approach to assessing and communicating the civic impact of the initiative’s creative efforts.

Events on the Horizon

Call for Proposals: collaborACTION: Arts Marketing, Sponsorship, and Fundraising Strategies That Work!
Dates: October 30–November 2, 2009
Providence, RI
The National Arts Marketing Project Conference is an internationally recognized annual event by and for arts marketers and fundraisers which sets the standard for helping you and your colleagues increase earned revenue, fill the seats, or increase your visitors. Featuring over 90 speakers, 27 sessions, and a multitude of networking opportunities, this year’s conference theme CollaborAction: Arts Marketing, Sponsorship and Fundraising Strategies that Work! will focus on skill-building opportunities designed to provide attendees with concrete tools that have immediate practical application in the field.

Americans for the Arts has announced a call for proposals for sessions to be featured at the event. Opportunities to present include conference sessions, show & tell poster presentations, and roundtable discussions. Sessions may be proposed and led by a variety of arts, nonprofit, marketing, and fundraising professionals from all arts and cultural backgrounds, and may range in skill level from basic to advanced.

For more details on submitting a proposal, visit the conference homepage. The deadline for proposals is February 20, 2009.

Systems of Sustainability: Art, Innovation, Action
Dates: March 27–29, 2009
Houston, TX
The performing, visual, and literary arts can be tremendously effective in posing solutions to our biggest global challenges. Part arts festival, part academic symposium, Systems of Sustainability: Art, Action, Innovation explores creative enterprise as an integral tool for cultural growth and social change. The program will present a range of innovative practices from local, national, and international participants including prominent artists, researchers, activists, and scholars such as Liz Lerman, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Helen Lessick. Featuring many opportunities for dialogue, conference events include site-specific projects, participatory activities, lectures, and scholarly panels—all designed toward advancing conversation about what it means to sustain our planet, our culture, and our creative enterprise.

National Arts Advocacy Day
Dates: March 30–31, 2009
Washington, DC
Bringing together arts, education, entertainment, and policy leaders, National Arts Advocacy Day highlights the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. A new administration and Congress brings the promise of bold, new leadership for the arts in America. However, during these uncertain economic times, it is important to let congressional leaders know that the arts are an economic engine for development and a priority for every American.

This March, join hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country in legislative training sessions, the Congressional Arts Breakfast on Capitol Hill, the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the Kennedy Center, and meetings with your members of Congress on important arts-related issues. Your involvement does make an impact! Register today!

Save the Date: Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute 2009
Dates: July 31–August 9, 2009
New Orleans, LA
The Summer Leadership Institute, hosted by Urban Bush Women, connects concert professionals and community-based artists together in a learning experience to better maximize the possibilities of the arts as a vehicle for social activism and civic engagement. The 2009 Leadership Institute will be held in New Orleans. Through the institute, Urban Bush Women and participants will contribute to the city's rebuilding effort in partnership with local artists and activists including the 7th Ward Neighborhood Center, The People's Institute for Survival & Beyond, ArtSpot Productions, Junebug Productions, and representatives of the Tulane, Xavier, Dillard, and University of New Orleans communities.

More information about program, and registration rates and deadlines can be found online.

Devising Civic Theatre: Performance, Social Practice, Participation & Dialogue
The 2009 Sojourn Theatre Summer Institute
Dates: June 26–28 (Washington DC), July 6–11, 2009 (Portland, OR
Now in its tenth year, this workshop explores the techniques & strategies Sojourn Theatre artistic director Michael Rohd uses to devise performance material; build community through theater-based civic engagement; examine the potential of site-specific activity; and explore social and political issues through collaborative conceptual, improvisational, and physical investigations.

In conjunction with the Portland-based Institute, participants will have the option of working with and observing Sojourn company members and guest artists as part of Sojourn's research and development for the upcoming multi-community, site-specific project On The Table. Artists and designers looking to expand ways of examining performance-integrated multimedia strategies will also have the opportunity to participate in a partner set of workshops.

Register early, space is limited. For information or registration, e-mail

With support from the
Ford Foundation
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