Imagine an army of creatives - artists, cultural workers, heritage bearers, and others - working to advance peace, equity, sustainability, empathy, and social justice through art and culture. This force is already out there. We want to help bring it together and to expand its ranks. Whether you're already performing this work or you're eager to begin, we invite you to join in the imaginative barn-raising of the U. S. Department of Arts and Culture, as a founding member of the Culture Corps.
Working at both a local and national level, the Culture Corps will move art and culture from the margins to the center and spark a self-perpetuating movement dedicated to cultivating equity, empathy, and social change through creative, cultural action. A lofty aspiration? Yes. Do we know exactly how we'll do it? No. Rather, it's a path we'll make by walking it together. And we must begin somewhere. Why not begin by imagining what's possible...?
On March 1st, 2014, we will begin to recruit Cultural Agents, passionate about culture, creativity, and social change, to enact the USDAC at a local level by organizing an Imagining. Part performance, part facilitated dialogue, and part community celebration, an Imagining brings together artists, organizers, and others to 1) envision their communities and the country in the year 2034, when art’s transformative power has been fully integrated into all aspects of public life and 2) spark creative ideas about how to get there, starting now. Cultural Agents will go through a month-long online training program and build solidarity across sites. Together, these events, held in 10 communities across the country, will serve to spark a vibrant national conversation about culture as the container for societal renewal and about cultivating the imagination and empathy we need to create a future we want to inhabit. More information about the Imaginings will be posted here soon. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to be informed of next steps.
Other initiatives in the works include:
Cultural Agents' Bootcamp
In Fall 2014, the USDAC will offer a training course on community cultural development. A mix of online classes with leaders in the field, local missions, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities, this course will cover such topics as: Cultural Policy 101, A History of Socially Engaged Art, Creative Facilitation Tactics, Community-Based Project Design, and more. Those who complete the course will become certified Cultural Agents with the USDAC. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to stay posted and learn more.
USDAC Field Offices
A USDAC Field Office is simply a group of three or more Citizen Artists in a given locale exploring the question: How might we move art and culture from the margins to the center and spark a local movement dedicated to cultivating empathy, equity, and social change through creative, cultural action? We've prepared a Field Guide complete with a local organizing strategy, a sample cultural policy, and list of resources to help you get started. Learn more about opening up a USDAC Field Office here.
HI-LI Project Database
We're currently developing a catalogue of "High-Impact Low-Infrastructure" projects for building creative community. Each idea/project we feature will be, by definition, participatory, replicable, and adaptable. We will create a navigable database, a map to show the spread of these ideas, and host online trainings led by the originators of the ideas. But first we need to surface these projects. And for that, we need your help! Learn more about the USDAC HI-LI project criteria, see examples, and submit your ideas here.