Animating Democracy October 2011 E-News

Animating Democracy Out and About

Presenting the Arts as Solution at the National Arts Policy Roundtable

Innovating for Impact: Arts-Based Solutions for a Stronger America was the topic for the 2011 Americans for the Arts National Arts Policy Roundtable, held last month in Utah. The Roundtable, held in partnership with the Sundance Institute, convened high power artists, foundations, business, and government leaders to explore the role of the arts on critical social issues, such as alleviating economic disparity, supporting at-risk youth, improving health and education, and reinvigorating neighborhoods. Artists at this year’s gathering included filmmaker, Herman’s House, Angad Bhalla; actor Jane Alexander; President and CEO of Move the Crowd, LLC Rha Goddess; First Violinist, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Founder/Director, Street Symphony Robert Gupta; filmmaker, The Bully Project, Lee Hirsch; director and playwright, The Laramie Project, Moises Kaufman; YoungArts Level I Winner in Writing-Poetry Delali Ayivor; and YoungArts Silver Winner in Writing Victoria Newton Ford. Animating Democracy’s Arts and Social Change Mapping and Arts and Civic Engagement Impact Initiatives provided a foundation for discussion.

Discussing the Paradox of Arts Labels at Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) Conference

At the recent Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) Conference in San Francisco, Americans for the Arts organized a successful discussion addressing the paradox that the arts are simultaneously perceived and labeled as elitist and left-leaning. “Too Progressive, Too Elite: Public Value and the Paradox of the Arts” asked, what truths are inherent in these labels? What do we need to address as a field? What role can funders play in unpacking the paradox? This salon session opened with a short, lively documentary play by GIA’s Tommer Peterson and KJ Sanchez of American Records Theater Company, based on interviews with individuals with divergent opinions on the topic. The play was performed by actors Britney Frazier, Elise Hunt, and Sean San Jose.

Pam Korza on the Road

In August, Animating Democracy Co-Director Pam Korza participated in Creative Change, a retreat offered by The Opportunity Agenda that brings together artists, advocates, funders, and media makers to explore issues and solutions at the intersection of arts, cultural organizing, and social justice. Highlights include : stories of cultural activism by writer and artist Gan Golan (The Adventures of Unemployed Man), Rha Goddess on Transportation Equity, Jose Serrano McClain’s artist activist work at the Queens Museum, and many others.

Pam attended the Network of Ensemble Theater’s Micro-Fest USA in Minneapolis exploring Race, Culture, and Aesthetics. Highlights include : a brilliant catalyst speech by Ricardo Levins Morales and a useful unpacking of social media strategies by artist and social media specialist Anthem Salgado.

In September, Pam returned to Minneapolis for Imagining America’s annual conference, What Sustains Us? Highlights include : a plethora of rich sessions, site visit to Juxtaposition Arts, and the honoring of Community Arts Network’s Linda Frye Burnham and Steve Durland. Pam co-presented a session, “Realizing Integrated Assessment,” about assessing community impacts of public scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design.

Animating Democracy offered a workshop led by Pam Korza for youth advisory councils that are part of Rutgers’s University’s Transitions for Youth, a statewide initiative to address the needs of youth transitioning out of foster care in New Jersey. The councils are exploring arts strategies in their public education and advocacy work.

Check Out Two Exciting Webinars from Americans for the Arts This Month

Creative Conversation: Community Engagement in the Arts
October 25, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. EDT, 12:30 p.m. CDT, 11:30 a.m. MDT, 10:30 a.m. PDT

How do you change the conversation in your community by activating creativity to engage residents and increase participation in community events? Americans for the Arts is hosting its own Creative Conversation, in honor of National Arts and Humanities Month, to encourage creative community engagement that taps into a community's arts assets. Hear arts and community leaders share examples of how they are getting creative with community engagement and connecting the arts with larger community initiatives.

Midwife, Drill Sergeant, Curator, Oracle: The Roles of a Public Art Project Manager
October 26, 2011 at 2:00 PM EDT, 1:00 PM CDT, 12:00 PM MDT, 11:00 AM PDT

Two project managers (Cath Bruner, 4Culture and Lee Modica, Florida's Art in State Buildings Program) and two artists (Dan Corson and Janet Zweig) discuss building successful relationships and developing skill sets that lead to the best art project while cultivating creative thinking and problem solving.

Animating Democracy Is Hosting Its Inaugural Blog Salon This November
November 7-11

The broad theme for Animating Democracy’s November Blog Salon is the current and future role of the art, culture, and design in cultivating civic engagement and creating a sense of place on a local level. What principles should we hold onto and what are the shifts that need to occur? President and CEO of the Orton Foundation Bill Roper; Program Manager for the Mayor’s Institute on City Design Radhika Mohan; Public Art and Community Design Director for the North Carolina Arts Council Brendan Greaves; Project Director for State Voice’s Arts & Democracy Project Caron Atlas; and architect and artist Bill Mackey are just some of the creative voices that will be contributing to discussion. Join us for some lively blogging on this important topic!

News from the Field

ArtPlace Announces First Grants for Promoting Creative Placemaking

At the end of last month, a consortium comprised of the National Endowment for the Arts, top national foundations, and various federal agencies, led to the distribution of almost $24 million in grants to 26 cities across the United States to fund “creative placemaking” initiatives. In their own words: “ArtPlace believes that art, culture, and creativity expressed powerfully through place can create vibrant communities, thus increasing the desire and the economic opportunity for people to thrive in place. It is all about the local.” ArtPlace will continue to distribute grants periodically to organizations producing groundbreaking work in creative placemaking.

New Publications & Resources

Fusing Arts, Culture, and Social Change: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has recently published a report on high impact giving in the arts. The report most notably finds that arts and culture giving in the United States does not reflect the cultural diversity of communities. The report argues that while large arts organizations with budgets of over $5 million make up only 2 percent of the real work of the arts in America, they account for 55 percent of foundation funding. This marked divergence from the reality of the providers of the arts also extends to the demographics served, which the report suggests heavily favors wealthy, white Americans over more diverse, underserved populations—and goes on to explain why this is particularly significant when using the arts as a form of community engagement. The PDF of the report is available for purchase on the website, but you can check out the executive summary here:

White Paper from 2011 Interactive Workshop: Using the Arts & Humanities in Community Health

UWM’s Center on Age & Community (CAC) recently released the white paper, 2011 Interactive Workshop: Using the Arts & Humanities in Community Health. It represents a summary of a half-day, interactive workshop held on March 18, 2011 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) campus.

UWM’s Center on Age & Community (CAC) and Imagining America invited national and local leaders, including Animating Democracy’s Pam Korza, to UWM to explore model projects and discuss challenges, resources, next steps and future support needed to further community engaged research in the arts and humanities in the field of community health.

The think tank was scheduled during the culmination of The Penelope Project, a collaboration between UWM’s Department of Theater, Center on Age & Community, Sojourn Theatre, and Luther Manor. The Penelope Project used the story of Penelope from Homer’s Odyssey to engage an entire long term care community in creativity and learning, including the performance of Finding Penelope, a professionally produced play staged inside the care facility and involving residents and staff of Luther Manor. The project’s process and performance fueled conversation at the workshop and influenced the final white paper.  Check out the white paper at

New TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project website

The TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project recently launched a new, interactive storytelling website at, a powerful and free resource for professional and family caregivers alike. It aims to provide training and resources for those interested in using interactive storytelling to help people with cognitive disabilities like dementia.

Philanthropy In/Sight: Arts

This new resource partners with Google Maps to provide an interactive tool for organizations seeking or disseminating arts funding. The map takes the broad-based power of the Foundation Center’s original Philanthropy In/Sight tool, but shows funders who are specifically supporting the arts. This dynamic, real-time, arts-focused map can be accessed for free for one month.

Calls for

Second Annual Philadelphia Knight Arts Challenge
Deadline: October 31, 2011

The Knight Arts Challenge is Philadelphia’s three-year, $9 million initiative to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals seeking to transform the community through the arts. Filling out the application can be done in just 150 words, and the rules for a proposal are simple—it has to be about the arts, it has to benefit Philadelphia, and it has to find matching funds. The deadline is coming up, but it’s not too late! Link to the complete RFP:

The San Francisco Foundation: Arts & Culture Grants
Deadline: November 7, 2011

The main goal of the San Francisco Foundation is to “support projects and organizations that nurture artistic creativity, strengthen arts education, and deepen diverse cultural participation in order to enrich, develop, and celebrate communities in the five counties we serve.” To that end, the Foundation offers four grants in the arts, for projects ranging from cultural innovation to faith-based art, and from low-cost financial assistance for arts organizations to grassroots arts initiatives. Additionally, the Foundation offers Art Awards, which help foster individual artistic growth, as well as offering the Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative, which encourages sustainable structural change in the way Bay Area arts institutions interact with changing audiences. To learn how to apply during the open grant cycle, visit

MacArthur Foundation: Open Call for Documentary Film Proposals
Deadline: December 2, 2011 (Proposals will not be accepted until November 1)

The MacArthur Foundation is currently seeking documentary entries focused on social issues and intended for a broad audience. The Foundation is highly selective, and will support the production and distribution of a small number of documentaries that address important, contemporary social topics, either domestic or international. For a full description of qualifications and specifics, visit the website

Events on the Horizon

October Is Funding for the Arts Month!
Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC

Throughout October, the Foundation Center is offering the opportunity to learn more about arts funding at special events, free classes, and webinars.  As one of the leading resources for funders and those seeking funding, The Foundation Center provides a wide array of resources this month, benefitting everyone from the most well-established nonprofits to those innovative thinkers whose ideas have yet to be officially incorporated. Live events and free classes are taking place across the United States, in San Francisco on the West Coast, Cleveland in the Midwest, Atlanta in the South, and New York and DC on the East Coast. Much more content is also available on the website, including free webinars for anyone, anywhere! There are links to specific calendars for each city on the website, along with publications, conversations, and videos.

Arts & Health: A Global View

Society for the Arts in Healthcare’s 23rd Annual International Conference
May 2–5, 2012
Hosted by Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, MI

This annual conference focuses on the role of the arts in healthcare, and the multifaceted ways in which the arts can be used to further health in a particular place as well as to
foster a broader conversation about its ability to communicate best practices in health across geographic areas. Speakers will be announced in November, and the schedule will be set later this winter. Keep up with event details on the conference website: