Animating Democracy January 2013 E-News


500 Flowers │ 500 Artists │ 500 Gardens │ 500 Historic Figures

ARTSblog Feature: Xavier Cortada writes about FLOR500, his art project that allowed Florida inhabitants to understand the multicultural origins of their state, its fragile biodiversity, and its threatened coastlines. Read the full post.



In the wake of the tragedy that visited Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, local arts organizations have come together to aid in the long-term healing and rebuilding of a community. Already, the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, supported by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA), has begun transforming a vacated strip mall into the Healing Newton Arts Center and established a website to provide a space for artists from across the United States to offer their assistance. An official arts healing fund has been established to support this work.

Their efforts stand as testament to the way that the arts can and do respond to crisis, as well as the power of the arts in helping to bring together and heal communities.

For those interested in learning more about how they can help and become part of the arts healing process, please visit For more information contact Executive Director of the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut Lisa Scails at 203.300.2607 or

What We're Reading

Two Great Twitter Discussions from HowlRound

Applied Theater and Theater for Social Change hosted Dominic D’Andrea on December 20 for an open forum via Twitter. Read great threads responding to questions like: how do we as artists engage with different populations who are “not artistic”? What kind of work do we do under different circumstances? How do we create conditions for others to engage in dialogue, growth, create conditions for change? What do these projects and processes look like (especially those that do not end in performance)? Check out this first conversation at

Applying theater skills to the world outside theater was the topic of a second discussion on January 3. Visit

NEW! What We Made by Tom Finkelpearl

What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation, by Tom Finkelpearl, is a series of 15 conversations in which contemporary artists who create activist, participatory work discuss the cooperative process. Colleagues from fields including architecture, art history, urban planning, and new media join the conversations. See a PDF and purchase the book at




Connections & Opportunities

At APAP: Building Parallel Spaces for Engaged Practice
Friday, January 11, 9:00 a.m.
New York City

At the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ annual conference in New York City, check out this pre-conference session open to the public which illuminates how the work of community engaged artists and arts organizations builds deep relationships within communities. Discussion will also touch on how these artists and organizations respond to emergencies such as Super Storm Sandy. For more information, contact Keryl at

Connect with Us at APAP! Animating Democracy Co-Director Barbara Schaffer Bacon will be at APAP Monday, January 14, 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. during the special interest sessions to present: Civic Engagement: Are You Animating Democracy? The know-how to create meaningful civic engagement is becoming a required skill set—as important as fundraising, planning, and marketing. This session unpacks the concept, maps the work, and considers what differences arts presenters can and do make.

Call for Proposals: 2013 Bruner-Loeb Forum
Deadline: January 28, 2013

The Bruner Foundation and Loeb Fellowship are seeking proposals from qualified individuals, organizations, and collaborative teams to serve as local host for the 2013 Bruner-Loeb Forum. The Bruner-Loeb Forum brings together distinguished practitioners from across the country to advance creative thinking about placemaking in American cities.

Looking@Democracy Digital Media Competition
Deadline: April 16, 2013

The Illinois Humanities Council, with support from the MacArthur Foundation, is sponsoring a nationwide challenge called Looking@Democracy to generate short, provocative digital media content designed to spark a national conversation about how we can all come together to strengthen American democracy.

At this early stage, they are also looking to relevant organizations and institutions to partner in efforts to build awareness for the upcoming competition. Organizations who commit to pass on the information will be listed as partners on the Looking@Democracy national competition webpage.  For communication tools to help you get the word out, go to

Call for Applications: Columbia’s Fellowship Program for Historical Dialogue and Accountability
Deadline: March 1, 2013

Columbia University is calling for applications for the 2013 Fellowship for Historical Dialogue and Accountability. Historical Dialogue places special emphasis on giving individuals the tools to deconstruct historical narratives for themselves, to challenge past myths, and to consider the evolution of specific narratives about the past and how they continue to influence political, social, and cultural structures. The comprehensive program provides fellows with the opportunity to hone practical skills in fundraising, advocacy, and leadership; to develop a deeper understanding of and engagement with the past; and to foster mutually beneficial relationships with their peers and with international and nonprofit organizations in New York.

The program is part of the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability (AHDA). For fellowship guidelines and application form, please go to

With support from the
Ford Foundation
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