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

WEBINAR: Public Art Evaluation: Principles & Methodology for Measuring Social Impact
Thursday, August 16 at 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Register Now

When public art administrators are asked to make the case for their program, it is beneficial for them to look at both the economic and social impact of the artworks within the larger urban, social, and cultural context. Is there a reliable framework that can be the basis of good public art evaluation? And what are some simple yet effective evaluation methods that public art programs can implement? We hope you will join us for this important conversation.

Presented by recent Americans for the Arts Public Art Network and Animating Democracy Blog Salon contributors:

  • Professor in Practice, Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech, Alexandria campus Dr. Elizabeth Morton;
  • Public Art Administrator, Arlington Cultural Affairs, Arlington, VA Angela Adams;
  • Artist and Programs Manager at Smack Mellon Gallery, New York Katherine Gressel; and
  • Co-Director Animating Democracy, Americans for the Arts Pam Korza.

For more information, please visit the Americans for the Arts webinar page or register now.

Animating Democracy Attends Corporate Community Involvement Conference and LISC National Meeting

Last month, co-directors Pam Korza and Barbara Schaffer Bacon skipped to Boston for two convenings. The Conference Board’s 2012 conference on Corporate Community Involvement examined how corporations are doing good by teaming up with social entrepreneurs, environmentalists, and social and civic organizations to tackle issues such as obesity, urban violence, and health and housing issues in Haiti. Corporate leaders and their partners described evolving principles and practices in corporate social responsibility that respond to cultural values rather than just complying with regulations and that produce return on community (R.O.C.) not just return on investment (R.O.I.). Session highlights included “The Weight of the Nation,” a partnership between Kaiser Permanente, HBO Documentary Films, Inc., the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and the East Bay Community Foundation that addresses obesity as a public health issue. 

Barbara and Pam also participated in a roundtable discussion about the role of arts and culture in community development work facilitated by Erik Takeshita of the Twin Cities LISC. This was part of the annual national conference of LISC staff.

News from the Field

12 Boston Organizations Receive $650,000 Culture for Change Grant

The Boston Foundation and the Barr Foundation announced that 12 organizations will share $650,000 in grants to begin a new phase of the Culture for Change initiative. The program, originally piloted in 2008 by the Barr Foundation, is a unique approach to out-of-school time youth development. Centering on partnerships between professional artists and youth workers, Culture for Change enables youth to build fluency in an art form while both exploring and taking leadership on issues of racial justice that are of importance to them. Read the full press release.

Timothy Eatman and Scott Peters Named New Imagining America Co-Directors

Syracuse University and Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA) announce the appointments of Timothy K. Eatman and Scott J. Peters as IA co-directors, effective August 1.

Eatman has provided national leadership as IA’s director of research for the last eight years, and since 2007 has been assistant professor of higher education in SU’s School of Education. He continues as a faculty member in the Higher Education Department.

A distinguished scholar of the history of American higher education’s public purposes and work, Peters comes to IA and SU from Cornell University, where he is an associate professor of education. He will have an appointment in SU’s School of Education as a professor in the Cultural Foundations of Education Department and will also be a faculty affiliate with the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

New Publications and Resources

Check out a new resource on the IMPACT page!
Philanthropy, Evaluation, Accountability, and Social Change
By John Bare, Ph.D. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

This article suggests that the accountability movement is “setting a floor for minimum standards” and has consequences for effective social change work. Foundations, in particular, measure impact in terms of attentiveness to accountability standards, but this is a false measure of success. Instead, the organization’s focus should be on its transformative value to society. Bare gives significant attention to the area of education as a study in evaluation, accountability, and social change. After a review of this complex area with examples of failures and successes, he suggests eight imaginative tools to advance social change.

Innovative Evaluation Tool!
Visual Aid for the Story-based Program Evaluation Method
By Marc Maxson, Innovation Consultant for GlobalGiving

Through the use of computer-generated maps, Maxson offers an innovative tool and visual aid for story-based program evaluation (similar to a word tree or tree map).  Driven by an analysis of text, these maps show the “overlap between how an organization describes itself (to donors) and how storytellers describe the organization or some relevant social problem.”  Most importantly, what these visual aids reveal is that some “donor communications have little in common with project beneficiary stories.”  Social change organizations could use this visual mapping exercise to understand how their purposes and goals align or misalign with their constituents and their understanding of a complex social issue.

Music2Life Releases New Social Change Music Database

Introducing Song Source, new music discovery tool that allows you to search a rich database of songs that speak to hundreds of causes and concerns—from tolerance and equality to peace and freedom to economic and social justice. The Music2Life Song Source lets you sort by artist, genre or cause to learn more about today's music of meaning. Don't see a song in the database? Add it! You have the power to help us grow the soundtrack for social change. Let's bring this music to life for people around the world—artists, activists, DJs, fans, journalists, nonprofits, music pros—who can put it to work for positive change.

Music2Life was founded by Noel "Paul" Stookey (of the trio Peter, Paul and Mary) and daughter Liz Stookey Sunde. The organization aims to harness the power of music — through technology, artist engagement and education — to support musicians, fans and their social causes. 

Calls for Proposals

BCideas Competition: Solutions for Stronger Communities
Deadline: September 12, 2012

Introducing a collaborative, competition based in British Columbia, where social entrepreneurs enter their ideas and programs to gain funding and support. This competition seeks innovative solutions to health, social, and environmental challenges facing BC communities today and in the future. More than $250,000 in investments will be awarded to top entries. Entrants will also have the opportunity to access additional investments following the competition.

Please join us in congratulating the two early entry investment recipients, Our Local Markets and Swan Bay Rediscovery, and mini-growth investment recipient, Gen Why Media! These entries demonstrate innovative and effective ideas for strengthening their communities. Read more about the early investment awawrds and the mini-growth award.

Live in BC? Curious about the submissions? Review entries or submit an idea. All submissions due by September 12 and funding will be determined through an online competition, starting October 19.

Cast Your Vote for the Make GOOD Art Challenge!
Deadline: August 23, 2012

The GOOD Arts & Culture hub explores how creativity is used as a force for good, and it's looking to you for further inspiration and action. GOOD Maker has gathered proposals from artists, performers, teachers, and community members on how they would use $5,000 to inspire their community through the arts. Now GOOD is calling on you to determine which project should be funded. Voting runs from August 9 through August 23. Browse more than 130 inspirational ideas, such as a bicycle-pulled art classroom that travels to under-served neighborhoods and a program that would bring participatory art experiences to seniors in assisted centers. Rally your colleagues and friends to join the GOOD community in selecting the winner.

Review all project submissions and cast your vote.

Events on the Horizon

Culture Project Presents the IMPACT 2012 Festival
July 14–August 26
New York, NY

The IMPACT 2012 A Festival of Political Art consists of documentaries, satirical political comedy, music, theater, and new art created by emerging and established artists along with provocative conversations focusing on subjects crucial to the decision-making process and the preservation of our democracy and Constitution. Now through August 26, artists, activists, musicians, directors, economists, provocateurs, filmmakers, patriots, and visionaries come together on the Culture Project stage. View the full schedule and event details.

As a venue for acclaimed, prize-winning performance, Culture Project is dedicated to addressing critical human rights issues by shining an artistic spotlight on injustice. By fostering innovative collaboration between human rights organizations and artists, Culture Project aims to inspire and impact public dialogue, encouraging democratic participation in the society’s most urgent matters.

Nicholas Cohn Art Projects Presents Art and Social Activism
August 1–25, 2012
Queens, NY

Nicholas Cohn Art Projects is pleased to present Art and Social Activism, a group exhibition featuring an international roster of artists working in a range of media, from painting and sculpture to video and performance, connected by their focus on social issues of national and global concern.

In collaboration with chashama, Nicholas Cohn Art Projects will transform an industrial building in Long Island City into a venue for socially motivated visual art. Art and Social Activism will highlight issues of community development, identity, discrimination, and the environment.

Music2Life Stand Up & Sing Open Master Class
September 6, 2012
Pennsylvania State University

Music2Life will be sponsoring the Stand Up & Sing Open Master Class at Penn State on September 6 as part of the upcoming conference on American folk singer Woody Guthrie. The special event welcomes Pennsylvania musicians of all genres and ages to audition online for a special night of social change performance and discussion with another legendary singer-songwriter. Artists interested in auditioning for the open Master Class should submit a YouTube link or MP3 of their social activism song no later than August 29.

2012 Art and Social Justice Conference: Arts, Crisis, and Social Transformation
October 7–8, 2012
Basque Country, Spain

The Gernika Peace Museum, Gernika Gogoratuz Peace Research Center, and the Culture House of Gernika are organizing the Third Annual Art & Social Justice Conference October 7–8 at The Gernika Peace Museum in Spain. The choice of location is a significant to the theme of art, crisis, and social transformation since this year marks the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Gernika.

In a time of crisis, art manifests itself in different forms through critical thinking and a heightened sense of challenging injustice, hypocrisy, and inequalities. Artists play a key role in transforming people, societies, and cultures simply by reflecting on what is going on around them. The 2012 Art and Social Justice Conference will explore issues of governance, change, morality, freedom, justice, individual rights, sustainability, and society. Join practitioners from around the world for collaborative workshops, innovative discussion sessions, unique performances, and extraordinary displays of artistic work.

Registration is open! Find our more about this conference or e-mail

With support from the
Ford Foundation
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