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

Exercise Your Right to VOTE Today…Twice!

Attention Members of Americans for the Arts: After you cast your vote for the next U.S. president, be sure to vote in this year’s Americans for the Arts Advisory Council elections. This is your opportunity to elect the nominees you want to lead your Network Council, so vote before elections close on Wednesday, November 21.

To view our current nominees and cast your vote, please click on any and/or all of the following council voting pages:

Please note that you must enter your Member ID in order to vote. If you are unsure of your Member ID, please log in to your account. Read more about our Advisory Council Elections.

NEW TREND PAPER: History Organizations and Engagement

Animating Democracy is honored that our work is cited and quoted in a new report, Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service, examining the practice and presentation of American history in the National Park Service and at its sites (page 115).  This national scan of civic engagement  is further explored in our newest Trend Paper, History Organizations and Engagement by Pam Korza and Barbara Schaffer Bacon for the Heritage Philadelphia Program.

Check Out the New NET Papers from MicroFest: Detroit

Animating Democracy is pleased to partner with the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) to commission writings on NET’s MicroFest: USA. In events taking place in Detroit, Appalachia (Knoxville/Harlan), New Orleans, and Honolulu, MicroFest looks at the role art and artists are playing in creating healthy, vibrant communities. Explore MicroFest: Detroit through these pieces on the Animating Democracy website:

Special Feature: Election Day Resources

How the Candidates Stack Up on Arts Issues

Curious about what your candidate is saying on arts-related issues? Check out this handy chart comparing Obama and Romney’s stances. Wondering how your representatives vote when it comes to support of the Arts? Take a look at their scores with the Arts Action Fund’s 2012 Congressional Arts Report Card and learn how elections affect the arts.


Rock the Vote works at the intersection of popular culture and politics to engage and build political power for young people in our country. This mission is accomplished by providing tools for organizations to hold voter registration drives including do-it-yourself guides, promotional items, and downloadable registration forms while also connecting musical artists to voter registration efforts.

FEATURED PROJECT: A Thousand Artists

A Thousand Artists is a public art-making installation on the Washington Mall, which will occur on January 20 and 21, 2013 concurrent to Inauguration festivities.  Artist of all kinds—painters, sculptors, radical knitters, dancers, collage artists, print makers—will descend on Washington, DC to document and reflect on the presidential inauguration. The goal of this project is to tie a pivotal historical event with the act of art-making, creativity, and reflection.

News from the Field

Knight Foundation Investing Nearly $20M in Detroit Arts

Arts groups in Detroit will share nearly $20 million donated by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, including $9 million to be awarded through a communitywide contest to boost the city's best arts ideas, the foundation announced Tuesday.

The foundation will use a communitywide contest in March to find and fund artists, organizations, and businesses with the best ideas for arts projects in Detroit or that benefit the city. It is committing $9 million over three years for those projects.

For more information, see the Knight Foundation's press release.

Ripple Effect: Currents of Socially Engaged Art
October 15, 2012 to January 13, 2013
Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC

The Art Museum of the America features collaborative, participatory, and social practice-based projects by artists from Latin America and the United States. The Ripple Effect: Currents of Socially Engaged Art positions artists as architects of change building creative entry points into conversations on broad themes such as environmentalism, social justice, and immigration, while providing poetic and often concrete solutions. Included artists will explore such pressing issues as the environmental blight of illegal dumping, the social stratification of Washington, DC, and the ongoing struggle against violence in Mexico.

New Publications and Resources

Bringing Citizen Voices to the Table: A Guide for Public Managers
By Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer

This important resource offers seven field-tested strategies for public managers to help them maximize citizen engagement as they implement the president's Open Government Directive. The core strategies for citizen engagement are:

  • Establish links to decision-makers;
  • Ensure demographic diversity;
  • Create opportunities for informed participation;
  • Maximize tools of facilitated deliberation;
  • Discover shared priorities;
  • Establish clear recommendations for action; and
  • Sustain citizen engagement.

The book includes project and leadership case studies from major federal agencies that elucidate the seven strategies in the context of real-world issues and challenges.

The First Steps to Meaningful Community Engagement
By Neeraj Mehta

The question of how to meaningfully and authentically engage community members in planning and development efforts is both difficult and important. Achieving equitable neighborhood revitalization takes fusing the hopes, dreams, wisdom, and creative problem-solving of community members with the expertise, resources, and knowledge of planners, community developers, artists, public officials, the private sector, and others working to strengthen our communities. Neeraj Mehta’s blog post, The First Steps to Meaningful Community Engagement, speaks to the challenges of collective problem-solving and shared decision-making and includes a set of four starting principles for deeper engagement.

Photo credit: A town hall meeting in West Hartford, CT. Credit: Sage Ross via Wikimedia Commons
Calls for Proposals

Call for Entries: 2013 Rudy Bruner Award
Deadline: December 10, 2012

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence celebrates urban places that are distinguished by quality design and their social and economic contributions to our nation's cities. Winners offer creative placemaking solutions that transcend the boundaries among architecture, urban design, and planning and showcase innovative thinking about American cities. One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 will be awarded.
Visit to learn more about the Award and to download the application.  For more information, questions, or to request a copy of the application or Call for Entries poster, send an e-mail to

With support from the
Ford Foundation
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