Author(s): Haft, Jamie
Date of Publication: 2012

A growing number of colleges and universities are expanding and deepening the role that publicly engaged scholarship in the humanities, arts, and design can play in contributing to positive change in the communities and regions within which higher education institutions exist. This paper provides an overview of how this is happening, largely through mutually beneficial partnerships between campuses and communities. Such collaborations aim to leverage assets as well as tackle local problems through the unique capacities of humanities, arts, and design while enhancing faculty teaching and

Author(s): Boggs, Grace Lee
Date of Publication: 2003

In October 2003, Detroit-based activist, cultural worker, and octogenarian Grace Lee Boggs energized and inspired a national gathering of artists, arts organization and community leaders, and activists with her speech at Animating Democracy's National Exchange on Art & Civic Dialogue. Boggs described a United States that is increasingly jobless; that jeopardizes its youth in a problem-wrought education system; and that is resented for its economic, military, and cultural domination. "Can we create a new paradigm of our selfhood and our nationhood?" she implored. In Boggs&

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): Lacy, Suzanne
Date of Publication: 2002

In November 2001, artist, writer, and educator, Suzanne Lacy participated in an Animating Democracy Learning Exchange in Chicago. She joined more than a hundred artists, cultural organization leaders, community partners, and scholars from around the country who were involved in arts-based civic dialogue work, most through the Animating Democracy Lab. In the shadow of September 11th and stimulated by artist Marty Pottenger’s exploration of the meaning of U.S. citizenship at the gathering, Lacy considers anew what it means to participate as an artist in civic life. Her essay, &ldquo

Author(s): Americans for the Arts
Date of Publication: December 2005

Representatives of the 12 small and mid-sized organizations participating in Americans for the Arts Exemplar Program convened in December 2005 in Santa Fe New Mexico. Recognized for outstanding cultural work in their communities and in the field based on their participation in Animating Democracy and the Working Capital Fund, the groups explored topic areas related to aesthetic investigation, institutional health and capacity, and civic engagement.  From the convening, a report was compiled highlighting the event from beginning to end.  With implications for the entire field, the

Author(s): Atlas, Caron
Date of Publication: August 2007

In May, 2007, grantees from the Artography and Animating Democracy/Working Capital Fund Exemplar programs, both supported by The Ford Foundation, met together in Chicago to share their experiences and consider ways they might draw on the collective power of their work.  The resulting report, Shaping a Critical Discourse, written by Caron Atlas, explores the topics of aesthetics, new ways of working, and leadership taken up at the cohort-designed gathering. The convening revealed and embraced the creative tensions and contradictions of working in the context of changing

Author(s): Holo, Selma
Date of Publication: Nov 17, 2021

Animating Democracy invited museum studies scholar Selma Holo to write an article from ideas and themes she found compelling at the Animating Democracy Learning Exchange held in Seattle in May 2002. Her article responds to the arts-based civic dialogue work of the three museums participating in the Animating Democracy Lab--the Andy Warhol Museum, the Jewish Museum, and the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington--comparing it to other museums whose efforts have intersected with the sphere of civic ideas and issues.

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): Stewart, Shannon
Date of Publication: January 2011

In towns all across the United States, young people are using music and art to make interesting, creative, and positive things happen in their communities. They are punks, rappers, educators, singer-songwriters, artists, and community organizers who carve out safe creative spaces for people to come together. This paper by Shannon Stewart characterizes youth-based music organizations that are fostering civic engagement through music. Stewart provides a current view of these groups as preface to the 2007 All-Ages Movement Project Project Report. The All-ages Movement Project (AMP), a network

Author(s): Premo, Michael
Date of Publication: October 2012

As artist, cultural worker, and organizer, Michael Premo offers a prismatic lens through which Detroit appears as an “incubator of possibility,” a place where an affirmative path forward is being forged by creativity.  He reflects on the exemplary work of The Alley Project, Detroit Summer, Matrix Theatre Company, and Detroit Future Youth to highlight how young people are stepping up as the next generation of artist-activists, leaders, and perpetuators of the character and spirit that is uniquely Detroit.  They are adding their own fresh vision on creative process and