Animating Democracy July 2010 E-News
News from the Field

“Anatomy of an Experiment”: New Insight into The Laramie Project

When members of the Tectonic Theater Project returned to The Laramie Project, the docudrama's sequel became a collective creation seen and heard around the world.  Moisés Kaufman, the artistic director of Tectonic Theater Project, talks about the creative process and looks to the future of both The Laramie Project and this new method of creating national dialogue.  His fascinating written analysis and reflection appeared in the July/August issue of American Theater Magazine, published by Theater Communications Group (TCG).

Kaufman asks some provocative questions in the summary of his article:

…Is this a valid model that can be repeated or used in other situations?...Could we develop an entirely new play in this fashion?

If so, what would that entail? When we present the work in this manner on a national scale, are we able to affect the impact that theatre can have on a national dialogue? If in fact we created a national audience that was "together" even though they were geographically separated, how do we maintain and foster this kind of collectivity? When the Federal Theatre Project dreamt of creating a national dialogue and infusing our democracy with the civilizing and enlightening influence of the arts, were they giving us the keys to ignite our own propositions? Do we now finally have the means to propel that early dream forward?

From El Salvador to Guatemala: Replicated Model to Heal Communities

The School of Art and Open Studio of Perquin is a community-based, collaborative art project in El Salvador that is now expanding to Guatemala, Columbia, and Canada.

This summer, Bernardi, an international artist and faculty member at the California College of the Arts, along with four local Salvadoran artists and teachers, are applying their successful practices from Perquin in the neighboring country of Guatemala. Bernardi and her fellow art teachers are collaborating with the Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial (ECAP) (Community Studies Team of Psychosocial Action) and people in the community to create art and murals based around memories of the victims of the 1978 massacre at Panzos, Alta Verapaz.

Walls of Hope: Guatemala is supported in part by the Ford Foundation through a grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Transnational Cultural Remittances Grant Program.

The Nature of Cities Installation Exhibited at Shanghai World Expo

Art Works For Change is proud to announce The Nature of Cities, a group video installation created for the United Nations Pavilion at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China. Guided by the Expo theme “Better City, Better Life” the exhibition presents 16 short videos from artists, animators, and architects from around the world addressing the theme of urban biodiversity. The exhibition illustrates the relationship between the urban and natural environments, proposing new ways forward that acknowledge the necessity of human habitats and the fragile state of our ecosystems. Created with design and pre-visualization by Zoetrope Aubry Productions, the exhibition is presented as a series of six looped videos played across six separate monitors. The exhibition is presented through the generous support of the Adobe Foundation and will be the first created by Art Works for Change in Asia.

Conflict Kitchen Serves Up Political and Cultural Discussion

Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with. The food is served out of a take-out style storefront, which will rotate identities every four months to highlight another country.  Each Conflict Kitchen iteration will be augmented by events, performances, and discussion about the culture, politics, and issues at stake with each county.

The first iteration of the Conflict Kitchen project is Kubideh Kitchen, an Iranian take-out restaurant that serves kubideh in freshly baked barbari bread with onion, mint, and basil. Developed in collaboration with members of the Pittsburgh Iranian community, the sandwich is packaged in a custom-designed wrapper that includes interviews with Iranians both in Pittsburgh and Iran on subjects ranging from Iranian food and poetry to the current political turmoil.

Calls for Proposals

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department Announce Two New Funding Opportunities

Pre-application Deadline: August 23, 2010. On July 7, 2010, a joint webinar was held by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department announcing two new funding opportunities that welcome the arts community to apply. NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman has been spearheading negotiations with multiple federal agencies to broaden their grant guidelines to include components for arts and culture.

The webinar went through both funding streams, highlighting the opportunities in which nonprofit arts groups can participate.  The full PowerPoint can be found at  For more information, please see HUD's press release at:

If I Had a Trillion Dollars Video Project

Deadline: November 30, 2010. The American Friends Service Committee and National Priorities Project are sponsoring a youth video project to help young people ages 13-23 enter a discussion about the cost of war.  Share your ideas about what you would do—for yourself, your family, and your community—with $1 trillion by making a short, 1-3 minute video by November 30, 2010.

If you are age 13-23 or if you work with youth or in schools, this is a chance to get  involved in making a video with the theme “If I Had a Trillion Dollars.” The videos already submitted for this project are available on their YouTube channel.

Events on the Horizon

The Hartford Project: Portraying America
April 29–August 1, 2010

Portrait of America (POA), by Joe Standart, initiates monumental, interactive public art exhibitions to engage communities in a constructive dialog that triggers positive change. The exhibitions hold a mirror up to a community to reveal what's already there—the inherent dignity and promise of its people. POA partners with established community organizations to ensure a broad community outreach, meet the needs of the city, and establish relationships and programs with a lasting presence and impact.

Portrait of America's most recent iteration, The Hartford Project, is a celebration of the dignity and diversity of Connecticut's capital city. The exhibition has invigorated the city's downtown district, transforming it into a vibrant interactive photo exhibition, which comes to life in the streets, cultural institutions, local businesses, and other public spaces. The Project uses the power of the arts to facilitate civic engagement, with the goal of animating democracy—bringing diverse people into dialog, promoting compassion and understanding.

Register for the Open Dialogue 2010 Conference
August 12–14, 2010
Chicago, IL

The Association of American Cultures (TAAC) invites both established and emerging leaders to Open Dialogue 2010 to formulate agendas and action items to promote equity in cultural policy, funding, and leadership in the 21st century.
At Open Dialogue 2010, participants will discuss policies and programs which individuals, organizations, foundations, and policymakers are encouraged to strategize and organize around in order to further advance cultural democracy and cultural equity platforms and programs in today's new era of change. Recognizing some quantitative progress in equity and diversity issues over the last three to four decades, it is most urgent at this historic time of change to evaluate and set forth agendas and action items around TAAC's foundational pillars for real, substantive, long-term change.

For more information, including a schedule of events or to register today, please visit

With support from the
Ford Foundation
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