This July 2016 petition delivered to members of the Democratic Platform Committee in advance of the Convention in Philadelphia, calls on elected officials and policy-makers to invest in artists and community development. A healthy democracy embraces the right to culture, engaging us as whole people, not just workers or consumers, but as creators and communicators. This platform shared with the DNC demands equitable investment in cultural infrastructure and in artists who put their gifts at the service of community.
On 27 January 2017, a presidential executive order was issued blocking refugees and restricting immigration from Muslim countries. Protest has been immediate and massive.
History teaches us that authoritarian regimes start their mission of domination with the right to culture: limiting cultural communities’ freedom of movement and practice; condemning or restricting press freedom; condemning or restricting artistic expression; and denying the fullness of belonging to all but a privileged few. Artists and creative activists have key roles to play.
Join over 1,000 artists and allies who have already signed the pledge.
Following a 6-month training program, volunteer Cultural Agents hosted Imaginings—large-scale arts-infused civic dialogues in which a community envisions an ideal future and identifies creative tactics to get there.
In the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, in August, 2014, the USDAC called on all artists and creative activists to join in the movement to demilitarize the police and bring justice to victims of publicly funded racism. Find links and resources to other post-Ferguson activist projects here too.
This February 2015 statement called on artists, cultural organizers, elected officials and policy-makers, on all people of goodwill to stand in support of the movement to preserve sacred Apache lands, in the name of the first principle of cultural values establishing the USDAC: that culture is a human right.
In November, 2015, the USDAC called on all artists and creative activists to use our gifts for compassion and justice, sharing images, performances, experiences, writings, and other works of art that raise awareness, build connection, cultivate empathy, and inspire us to welcome those who are forced from homes that are no longer safe.
The statement was adopted at a time that more than four million Syrians have been driven from their homes, becoming refugees, while many U.S. governors issued statements rejecting Syrian refugees within their borders and polls showed that many Americans opposed accepting them.