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

Americans for the Arts 2009 Annual Convention: Civic Engagement Innovator Jawole Willa Jo Zollar & Urban Bush Women
Renewable Resources: Arts in Sustainable Communities will convene arts and culture professionals from across the country in Seattle to network and participate in more than 75 field-crafted sessions—plus the opportunity to see the Public Art Year in Review and hear from keynote speakers.

The 2009 Civic Engagement Innovator, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, is founder and artistic director of Urban Bush Women (UBW), a woman-centered dance company that brings to light untold histories and stories of disenfranchised people through dance. Through performance and residencies, UBW taps the power of dance to encourage social responsibility. Zollar has received a 2008 fellowship from USArtists, a Bessie Award for her work dedicated to African-American dance pioneer Pearl Primus, and the Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award from Florida State University where she is the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor in Dance. She was recently awarded a 2009 Creative Arts Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography and was featured on the cover of the March 2009 issue of Dance Teacher as Urban Bush Women celebrates 25 years of creating art as a catalyst for social change. Check online for footage of Zollar and company members at the Dance Teacher photo shoots.

Zollar will be joined by Maria Bauman, a long-time company member who coordinates UBW’s extensive community engagement and education projects. Bauman is a choreographer, performer, and dance teacher and is currently working on a piece inspired by many facets of the Sean Bell tragedy.

New details for convention are being updated regularly. Check out the convention homepage for more details as they become available, and keep an eye out for another installment of the Civic Engagement Track audio blogs, available through the Americans for the Arts blog in the next few weeks. Deadline for general registration is May 22, 2009.

Animating Democracy on the road
In early April, Animating Democracy Co-Directors Barbara Schaffer Bacon and Pam Korza each travelled to conferences where they made keynote presentations . At the Association of Arts Administration Educators conference, Barbara presented Impact: Seeking Solutions for Assessing and Reporting on Arts-Based Civic Engagement. There, she discussed the Arts and Civic Engagement Impact Initiative, including findings and challenges, and suggested ways that academic programs and practitioners could contribute to and learn from local arts-based civic engagement and social change projects.

At Convergence: The Intersection of Art and Activism, co-sponsored by the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University and Massachusetts Campus Compact, Pam provided an overview of recent national policy discussions, including the 2008 National Arts Policy Roundtable on art and civic engagement, to more than 200 students, faculty, administrators, and working artists interested in exploring the ways in which the arts can advance social change. Further, Pam presented an overview of Animating Democracy's work as it has supported and documented arts-based efforts toward social justice.

Interested in bringing one of the Animating Democracy co-directors to your meeting to present on arts and civic engagement? Check out information online about workshops and services offered by Animating Democracy and contact Animating Democracy Project Manager Michael del Vecchio at

National Arts Policy Roundtable Webinar available online
The 2008 National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual forum presented by 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.

During this webinar (now available on demand), Senior Director of Culture Initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts Marian Godfrey and Americans for the Arts' Director of Arts Policy Marete Wester discuss Roundtable recommendations to ensure a vital civic role for the arts in regard to cross-sector alliances, policies and investment, research and evaluation, and messaging and case-making. The webinar also features Susan Patterson program director for Charlotte, NC, at The Knight Foundation, presenting Crossroads Charlotte, an innovative multi-year arts-based civic initiative, and Barbara Schaffer Bacon and Pam Korza, co-directors of Animating Democracy, who offer a primer on arts-based civic engagement.

Join Americans for the Arts today to watch this webinar (and others in the Leadership Series) for free! For more information, contact the membership team at 202.371.2830 or

Video from the 22nd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy available online
As part of the the 2009 Arts Advocacy Day roundup, Americans for the Arts has posted a video of Wynton Marsalis delivering the 22nd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts & Public Policy online. A world-renowned trumpeter and composer, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Marsalis inspired audience members with a moving lecture titled “The Ballad of American Arts.” Through his address, Marsalis expressed the value of culture in the ongoing recalibration of American identity, interspersing performance (with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra) with prose to a capacity crowd at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on the eve of Arts Advocacy Day. Visitors to the 2009 Arts Advocacy Day online roundup can also read about the Congressional Arts Breakfast and the Congressional Hearing (entitled "The Arts=Jobs") by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior.

New! Get all the latest updates from Americans for the Arts via Twitter.

News from the Field

National Trust for Historic Preservation on places that matter
This Place Matters is a new campaign of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, sponsored by Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, which seeks to showcase the diverse places that matter to people everywhere before they are endangered. Through uploading photos to the This Place Matters slideshow and planting each site on its map, the project seeks to spark dialogue and bring attention to historic places where great moments from history took place.

Arts Presenters announces new round of Creative Campus Innovations Grant
The Association of Performing Arts Presenters invites colleges and universities to apply for the second year of its Creative Campus Innovations Grant program. Supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the program supports partnerships between higher education institutions and arts organizations that seek to make the arts available across campus, within the academic curriculum, and within the community. In 2010, 10 one- to two-year projects will be awarded, each receiving $100,000–$200,000. The deadline for applications for Round I is June 30, 2009. (Thanks, Foundation Center).

Drift: New project from Liz Lerman Dance Exchange
Commissioned by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Local Dance Commissioning Project in 2008, Drift tells the human story of how land changes over time, portraying the shifting geography of framing, faith, and commerce in America. Heavily influenced by her deep Georgia roots, Meador was inspired when a plot in her Augusta hometown changed from a farm to a strip mall, a strip mall to a Piggly Wiggly super market, and from a Piggly Wiggly to a place of worship. Combining elements of dance, video, and shifting installations, Drift is created in collaboration with artistic partners from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, set designer Shane Meador, and partners from fields as diverse as art, geology, ecology, and history. Drift opens at Dance Place in Washington, DC, June 27–28, 2009.

Articles and Publications

New from New Village Press: Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame
New from artist, activist, educator, and writer Beverly Naidus, Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame offers a personal look at the motivations and challenges of teaching socially engaged arts. Through a candid examination of her own university teaching career—as well as broader social and historical perspectives, Naidus examines ways in which polarized groups can work together to solve social and environmental problems and to raise consciousness. The text guides the reader through a progression of steps to help students observe the world around them and craft artistic responses to what they see. Interviews with more than 30 arts education colleagues provide additional strategies for successfully engaging students in what, to them, is most meaningful.

For more details, check out the review of Naidus’s book by Anusha Venkataraman—new on the Community Arts Network.

Call for Chapters: A Way Out of No Way: The Arts as Social Justice in Education
A Way Out of No Way: The Arts as Social Justice in Education is an effort to center the need for social justice in education and the value of the arts in that endeavor through arts education, arts integration, and aesthetics. Intended for researchers, theorists, teachers, teacher educators, graduate students, and policymakers interested in the ways that the arts might address issues of equity and excellence in education; the text will include conceptual work and examples of practice and experience. Interested researchers and practitioners should submit a one to two page chapter proposal by May 29, 2009. Accepted chapters are expected to be completed by February 1, 2010.

For a list of suggested topics or for other inquiries and submissions, contact the editors: Dr. Mary Stone Hanley, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University (; Dr. George Noblit, School of Education, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (; Dr. Thomas Barone, College of Education, Arizona State University (

Events on the Horizon

Dialogue Facilitation Workshops from Public Conversations Project
Staying Grounded When on the Spot: A Skill-Building Workshop on Meeting Facilitation
Dates: April 30–May 1, 2009
Watertown, MA
Meeting facilitators, trainers, civic and religious leaders, and committee chairs—anyone who facilitates meetings—can be thrown "off balance" when difficult moments arise. In this skill-building workshop, participants will practice making constructive, purposeful responses to challenging moments, whether those moments are in the form of violations of ground rules, challenges to the process and purpose of the meeting, or challenges related to your role and credibility. Participants will also reflect on how the personal, social, and cultural attributes you bring to the facilitator role may help or hinder you in "staying grounded" when working with people whose identities, world views, or communication styles differ from yours. Workshop fee is $250–$500 (sliding scale), and registration is limited to 18.

The Power of Dialogue: Constructive Conversations on Divisive Issues
Dates: June 11–13, 2009
Watertown, MA
Learn to foster constructive conversations on divisive issues. Focus on shifting communication and relationships, rather than changing others’ beliefs. Through brief presentations, experiential exercises, and an extensive dialogue simulation, learn how to apply the key elements of the Public Conversations Project’s approach to dialogue: creating a space for new ways of speaking and listening; collaborating with dialogue participants; reflecting on dialogues to shape what happens next; preventing destructive debate; and fostering conversations that build relationships, understanding, and trust. Workshop fee is $375–$650 (sliding scale), and registration is limited to 20.

Call for Proposals: ReGenerating Community: Arts, Community and Governance
Dates: September 2–4, 2009
Melbourne, Australia
ReGenerating Community: Arts, Community and Governance will examine the ways in which global issues are addressed locally through collaborations between artists, communities, and local government. Hosted by the Globalism Research Centre, RMIT University, and the Cultural Development Network, the conference will discuss local governments’ responses to creating new models of civic engagement to generate higher levels of civic involvement and discussions. Arts-based projects tackling the big issues through community cultural engagement will be the springboard for discussion led by leading national and international speakers, commentators, community leaders, officials, politicians, academics, and artists.

The Cultural Development Network has issued a call for papers and presentations. For more information, contact Kim Dunphy, Applications are due April 30, 2009.

15th Annual International Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference
Mad as Hell? Now Move (or Draw, or Act...), Organizing for Social Justice
Dates: May 18–24, 2009
Minneapolis, MN
The fifteenth annual International Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference will focus on civic engagement and organizing through popular education and the arts. Invited speakers include theater artist and scholar Augusto Boal, popular education scholar Dr. Deborah Barndt, and Dr. Ananya Chatterjea's Minneapolis-based women of color dance group. In addition, presentations will include more than 100 papers, workshops, and performances led by members and participants. For more information, contact Sonja Kuftinec at

Call for Graduate Student Fellows: Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life
Tenth Annual National Conference: Culture, Crisis, and Recovery
Dates: October 1–3, 2009
New Orleans, LA
Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life invites graduate students in the arts, humanities, and design with a demonstrated interest in public engagement to apply to be Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) Fellows at Imagining America’s 2009 national conference. First-time fellows will receive a $600 stipend to attend the conference and will have their conference registration fee waived; attend the preconference PAGE Summit (Thursday, October 1), devoted to sharing the theoretical and practical language with which to articulate public scholarship; attend the general conference sessions; and have an opportunity for individual mentorship with leaders in the field of public cultural practice.

Graduate students at all stages of their M.A./M.F.A./Ph.D. programs are eligible to be PAGE Fellows, or if they have received their degree in the last two years. To apply, send a brief letter of interest and a one to two page CV to: Robin Goettel (, assistant director, Imagining America, Syracuse University. Applicants should address their specific interest in this year’s conference theme (check the web for more details) and their active investments in public engagement. Priority will be given to Imagining America member institutions, although all applications will be considered. Deadline for applications is June 5, 2009.

Call for Proposals: Split This Rock Poetry Festival
Dates: March 10–13, 2010
Washington, DC
The 2010 Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness invites “poets, writers, activists, and all concerned citizens to Washington, DC, March 10–13, 2010, for four days of poetry, community building, and creative transformation as our country continues to grapple with two wars, a crippling economic crisis, and other social and environmental ills.” A call for proposals has been issued in search of readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, and activism. More information about the proposal process is available online. Deadline for proposals is May 30, 2009. (Thanks, Community Arts Network).

With support from the
Ford Foundation
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