Animating Democracy April 2012 E-News
Animating Democracy News and Updates

Animating Democracy Blog Salon: Evaluating Social Impact
April 30–May, 2012

While the intrinsic and economic benefits of arts and culture are not to be diminished, policy-makers and community leaders need evidence of the contribution that arts-based civic work makes to individuals, communities, and society. The potency of the arts as a catalyst for civic and social change is widely observed, but can it be effectively documented and reported?

Join us for one of our most exciting Animating Democracy blog salons yet. We’ve challenged practitioners, experts, and innovative thinkers to answer the question: Can we validate the benefits of arts and culture in terms of social impact? It will run from April 30–May 4 on Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog. Contributors include:

  • Executive Director of New Urban Arts Jason Yoon
  • Senior Vice President for RMC Research Chris Dwyer
  • Baltimore Art + Justice Project Coordinator Kalima Young
  • Vice President for Sports Philanthropy and Affiliated Funds at the Arthur Blank Family Foundation John Bare
  • Director of Independent Media for Bay Area Video Coalition Jen Gilomen
  • University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Principal Investigator Mark Stern

We Want YOU: Animating Democracy Seeks Profiles in Areas of the Economy and Class, Housing and Shelter, Music, and More!

With the recent launch of Animating Democracy’s new expanded website, we are now eager to make you part of the LANDSCAPE of arts for change! A central hub of Profiles can make your work visible to the many stakeholders who are seeking information of arts for change projects, artists, and organizations. While our website door is open at all times to profiles highlighting the widest range of arts for change activity, Animating Democracy will periodically focus on soliciting specific disciplines, issue areas, populations, and settings in order to develop depth and to serve research interests. Right now we are encouraging Profiles in these issue areas—housing and shelter, veterans and war, race, the economy and class, and LGBTQ issues. In creative disciplines, we are looking for the widest range of applications of music to advance community, civic, and social change.

It’s easy to submit a Profile: create a user account on our website, fill out an artist statement (if applicable), and then add your organization or project profile. Please contact Animating Democracy Program Coordinator Joanna Chin ( with questions.

News from the Field

What’s Going On Now: A Kennedy Center Engagement Project

In May of 1971, Marvin Gaye released "What’s Going On." A year later, he performed it at the newly opened Kennedy Center.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this event, the Kennedy Center is leading a national conversation around the issues and ideas on the record. The Center is asking young people to think critically about these themes and respond in their own artistic voice.

New Publications and Resources

New Publication From WolfBrown: Making Sense of Audience Engagement

A new report from WolfBrown takes stock of the growing body of practice in the arts sector referred to as “audience engagement”—programs and activities such as lectures, open rehearsals, docent tours, and online forums—employed by arts groups to deepen participation and encourage repeat attendance.

To help make sense of this rapidly developing landscape, WolfBrown surveyed arts practitioners and conducted case study research on a wide range of engagement practices. The report, authored by Alan Brown and Rebecca Ratzkin, advances several theoretical frameworks for understanding audience and visitor engagement, and includes 11 brief case studies.

To explore evolving definitions of civic engagement, community building, social activism, and other types of engagement, check out “What Is Social Change” on Animating Democracy’s new website.

From Creative Industries to the Creative Place: Refreshing the Local Development Agenda in Small and Medium-Sized Towns

This report from Europe summarizes three years of learning exchange run by URBACT, a European exchange and learning program promoting sustainable urban development. Between 2008 and 2011, seven medium-sized cities jointly explored the options and put into practice policies that support creativity in local development.

Check Out: Art and Social Justice Education

Art and Social Justice Education offers inspiration and tools for educators to craft critical, meaningful, and transformative arts education curriculum and arts integration projects. Proposing that art can contribute in a wide range of ways to the work of envisioning and making a more just world, this imaginative, practical, and engaging sourcebook of contemporary artists’ works and education resources advances the field of arts education, locally, nationally, and internationally, by moving beyond models of discipline-based or expressive art education. Essays and a section written by and for teachers who have already incorporated contemporary artists and ideas into their curriculums help readers to imagine ways to use the content in their own settings. This book is enhanced by a Companion Website featuring artists and artworks, project examples, and dialogue threads for educators.

Calls for Proposals

Call for Proposals for New Book Series Demonstrating the Possibilities of Public Humanities
No deadline listed

University of Iowa Press recently announced a new book series, Humanities and Public Life, and is currently calling for authors to submit proposals. The nascent series aims to create a collection of excellent books that document the exciting publicly engaged projects in which artists and humanities scholars, especially in college and university settings, are working with community partners and cultural institutions to produce new knowledge while also contributing to the public good.

Imagining America recently featured an essay from Inside Higher Ed by Teresa Mangum on the University of Iowa’s new book series, Humanities and Public Life.

Events on the Horizon

The Gateway Cities Creative Placemaking Summit Webcast
(TOMORROW) Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Gateway Cities Creative Placemaking Summit is being webcast live on MassINC's website, beginning at 9:00 a.m. EST. The conference will bring together leaders from 12 Gateway Cities to explore how to utilize art and culture initiatives as key economic drivers. The day includes remarks by Massachusetts Lt. Governor Tim Murray and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, author of "Creative Placemaking," The Mayor's Institute on City Design white paper. A mayors' roundtable will feature Fitchburg, MA Mayor Lisa Wong, Holyoke, MA Mayor Alex Morse, New Bedford, MA Mayor Jon Mitchell, and Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien.

For more information on the webcast and the creative placemaking concept, visit MassINC's website or contact Christina Prignano at

It’s Not Too Late! Rustbelt to Artist Belt: At the Crossroads Convening
April 12–14
St. Louis, MO

The Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute of the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission (RAC) along with the Cleveland Community Partnership for Arts & Culture (CPAC) present Rustbelt to Artist Belt: At the Crossroads Arts-Based Community Development, a national convening to be held from April 12–14 at the Chase Hotel and Conference Center in St. Louis.

Come to the Animating Democracy session, Mapping the Landscape of Arts for Change, with Co-Director Barbara Schaffer Bacon and Bill Cleveland, Center for the Study of Art and Community. The interactive session will engage participants in mapping their work in the spectrum of community development, community building, civic engagement, social change, and social justice with the intention to explore issues of framing, language, practice, and standards. Taking a wide-angle view of arts for change work, participants will be prompted to consider intention, outcomes and accountability for the creators, investors, and communities involved.

GuideStar’s Webinar Shares Learnings from Charting Your Impact Project
April 24, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. EST

Defining and describing impact is crucial to success, and Charting Impact can help organizations think strategically, communicate effectively, and highlight results to key stakeholders and the public. In this webinar, participants will gain knowledge about why Charting Impact was created, find out what has been learned from testing about how to create a successful Charting Impact Report, and be guided through the Charting Impact website.

Arts and Criminal Justice Symposium
April 27, 2012
Philadelphia, PA

Mural Arts, with support from the Ford Foundation, presents the Arts and Criminal Justice Symposium, a forum for organizations and practitioners where they can share program findings, learn from others in the field, seek partnership with other organizations, and reduce institutional obstructions between nonprofits, academia, and the criminal justice field to foster a climate of collaboration and mutual learning.

Professionals from the Northeastern region, from Washington, DC to Boston, MA, will gather in Philadelphia for a day of workshops, engagement, and a mural tour. Howard Zehr, a noted restorative justice educator and photographer, will launch the day-long forum.

Association for Theatre in Higher Education 2012 Conference: Performance as/is Civic Engagement: Advocate, Collaborate, Educate
Washington, DC
August 2–5, 2012

The Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s 2012 Conference, Performance as/is Civic Engagement: Advocate, Collaborate, Educate, will take place August 2–5 with an all-conference plenary featuring Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch and two hands-on advocacy break-out sessions led by Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts Jay Dick and Arts Education Program Coordinator at Americans for the Arts Kristen Engebretsen. Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre will present a workshop, Devising Civic Theatre: Performance, Social Practice, and Dialogue and pre-conference options include the Interactive Theatre and Theatre as Social Change (TASC) Pre-conference (July 31–August 2, 2012).

For more info and to register for the main conference, visit For more information on the Interactive Theatre and TASC Pre-conference, please contact Cheryl Kaplan Zachariah at

With support from the
Ford Foundation
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