Author(s): Assaf, Andrea
Date of Publication: February 2004

In “What Happened in New Orleans? Reflections on the National Convergence of Artists, Educators and Organizers,” Animating Democracy staff member Andrea Assaf reflects on her experience at the National Convergence of Artists, Educators, and Activists. Inspired by Grace Lee Boggs and conversations on art and social change at the Animating Democracy National Exchange on Art & Civic Dialogue, the National Convergence attracted more than 200 people to New Orleans inJanuary 2004. In her article, Assaf reflects on the impetus, unfolding, and impacts of this convening.

Author(s): Romney, Patricia
Date of Publication: Nov 15, 2021

Dialogue specialist and clinical/organizational psychologist Patricia Romney offers an accessible review of the ideas of selected historic and contemporary philosophers and dialogue theorists including: Socrates and Plato, Mikhail Bakhtin, Paulo Freire, David Bohm, and David Isaacs, and considers the implications of their ideas for arts-based civic dialogue practice.  Romney shares her observations about a production of West Side Story that was never carried out due to a polarizing debate that ensued in the community.  West Side Story was seen alternately as an extraordinary

Author(s): Treuhaft, Hanna
Date of Publication: August 2008

In November 2007, artistic directors from four artist-led organizations (Cornerstone Theater Company, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Sojourn Theatre, and Urban Bush Women) gathered to share ideas about community-engaged art practices, and connection with and responsibility to audiences and young artists. This report, written by Hannah Treuhaft, a company member from Sojourn Theatre and participant at the gathering, recaps and assembles themes and perspective from the four participating organizations.  Through discussion, four themes and conversations dominated: 1) methodologies and

Author(s): Pourier, Lori
Date of Publication: June 2012

For centuries, cultural assets have been inextricably linked with the wellbeing of Native peoples. Native arts and culture are fundamental to the societal fabric of tribal communities, and cultural expression is a means to ensure cultural continuity and the very survival of Indigenous peoples and sovereign nations. This paper describes how asset-based organizing in Native communities and nations focuses on cultural renewal as essential for creating systemic change. It provides context for a recent rebirth within Indian country regarding the role ancient traditions and teachings play in

Author(s): Atlas, Caron
Date of Publication: March 2013

Caron Atlas' essay on MicroFest: Appalachia focuses on the connections between civic capacity, imagination, and moral economy in Appalachia. Stimulated by the MicroFest workshop on cultural organizing led by the Highlander Center, a key Appalachian institution and gathering place, Atlas reflects on the work of Helen Lewis, activist scholar who is considered the mother of Appalachian studies and her essay, “Rebuilding Communities: A Twelve-Step Recovery Program,” in which Lewis outlines the values and assumptions that must underlie a responsible moral economy.  Atlas

Author(s): Bivens, Maranatha
Date of Publication: May 2013

Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced a wave of returning veterans suffering from both physical and emotional traumas as well as families, communities, and a society in need of ways to understand, adjust, and heal. Writer and “former military kid” Maranatha Bivens characterizes ways that art is raising awareness of the issues facing service members, bridging gaps in knowledge and communication between veterans and civilians, and offering veterans paths to healing and reintegration in family and community life. Artists are creating work that enriches the public

Author(s): Atlas, Caron; Korza, Pam
Date of Publication: 2005

Critical Perspectives: Writings on Art and Civic Dialogue is a collection of essays that explore art, civic dialogue, and reflective critical writing. Twelve essays focus on three compelling and very different projects supported by Animating Democracy that employed the unique capacities of theater, visual art, and historic preservation to initiate crucial conversations within communities.