The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture is a people-powered department—a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging. 

A welcome message from Deputy Secretary Norman Beckett, inviting Citizen Artists to step up with the new people-powered department. (Watch more videos)

To create a just and welcoming world, all of us need social imagination, the capacity to envision and enact change. Yet as a society, we’ve failed to prioritize the programs and policies that cultivate creativity, empathy, and collaboration. Social institutions seldom allow us to show up as whole, creative humans. Too often, the stories we’re asked to accept limit possibility, depicting us only as consumers and workers rather than creators and communicators. 

Together, we can rewrite these stories. We affirm the right to culture and pursue cultural democracy that:

  • welcomes each individual as a whole person
  • values each community’s heritage, contributions, and aspirations 
  • promotes caring, reciprocity, and open communication across all lines of difference
  • dismantles all barriers to love and justice

To advance this vision, the nation’s only people-powered department*:

  • engages everyone in weaving social fabric and strengthening communities through arts and culture
  • builds capacity and connective tissue among socially-engaged artists and cultural organizers
  • generates momentum and public will for creative policies and programs rooted in USDAC values
  • infuses social justice organizing with creativity and social imagination
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Art and culture are powerful means of building empathy, creating a sense of belonging, and activating the social imagination and civic agency necessary to make real change. When we feel seen, when we know that our stories and imaginations matter, we are more likely to bring our full creative selves to the work of social change. That makes our work more effective—and more fun.

The USDAC's national actions invite everyone to perform a future infused with the transformative power of arts and culture. Our local organizing helps communities dream aloud and turn their dreams into reality. We connect people in an ever-expanding creative learning community by sharing vital information, generating inspiring actions, and devising cultural policies and programs to catalyze a profound culture shift in the service of social and environmental justice. Together, we’re creating new narratives of our power and possibility and scaling up strategies for equity and belonging.

The USDAC is not an outside agency coming in; it’s our inside agency coming out! Radically inclusive and vibrantly playful, the USDAC offers pathways of engagement for any individual or organization eager to deepen a commitment to creativity and social change. Culture shift is an all-hands-on-deck effort: whether you’re already performing this work or new to creative organizing, join the people-powered department today!


*The USDAC is not a government agency.