frequently asked questions

Is this actually a governmental agency?  

Nope. 

Then what is it? 

This is democracy in action—citizens standing up for something they see as missing and needed. The USDAC is an act of collective imagination.  

Who's involved in making this? 

Artists, activists, scholars, and thinkers across the country have been involved in shaping this initiative. Take a look at the Cultural Agents and the organizing team (scroll down to see other contributors). 

How can I take part?

What does the USDAC actually do? 

The USDAC is like a sandwich: on one side, grassroots organizing to engage and affect local communities in their own conscious cultural development; on the other side, a national vision of truly democratic cultural policy and intervention. In between, a vibrant national conversation about culture as the container for national and community renewal, about cultivating the imagination and empathy we need to create a future we want to inhabit. 

Local organizing includes:

  • Appointing and training Cultural Agents based in communities across the U.S.
  • Supporting Cultural Agents and their communities in articulating their own cultural needs and envisaging their own futures, beginning with art-infused community dialogues called Imaginings.
  • Working with Cultural Agents and other USDAC activists to create and connect local Field Offices to promote, disseminate, and enact USDAC values at the local level
  • Working with participating students, staff, and faculty to form College Hubs and develop arts and social change initiatives on their own campuses and communities while building connective tissue and collective impact across sites.

National organizing includes:

  • The National Cabinet, a policy-oriented leadership group committed to USDAC values to monitor, comment on, and propose alternatives to existing cultural policy and initiatives. For example, see An Act of Collective Imagination. In November 2016, the USDAC will release our first major policy platform.
  • Videos, publications, social media and other communication initiatives to stimulate and nurture the necessary new national conversation.
  • Training initiatives, online dialogues, and other resources for local cultural development  made accessible via the USDAC website.
  • CULTURE/SHIFT 2016, our first national convening, 17-20 November in St. Louis, bringing people across the nation together to learn, exchange, plan, and act. 

What are the goals?

In the short term: the growth, connection, and support of communities engaged in art for social change, and the spread of powerful ideas that can bolster the field.

In the long term: nothing short of a paradigm shift from a consumer to a creator culture, from 'me' to 'we', from a society based in fear, isolation, and competition, to one that is based in equity, empathy, and interconnectedness and that invites everyone's creativity, imagination, and collaboration .