#DareToImagine!  — A USDAC National Action

Forging the world we want to live in requires social imagination, the capacity to envision alternatives to what is, together remaking reality. What if instead of another holiday commemorating the past, we took time to envision and celebrate the future?

THE ACTION: From October 10-18, 2015, the people-powered U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, along with dozens of partner organizations, dispatched “Emissaries from the Future” to create pop-up Imagination Stations in public spaces nationwide. Through a range of creative activities, Emissaries engaged passersby in exercising social imagination, envisioning the world we wish to inhabit and—looking back from the future—celebrating the work we did to bring it into being.  The resulting texts and images were all loaded to an online platform, yielding a crowd-sourced vision of the future, inspiring art, policy, and community action.   

Stations could be up for one day, the entire eight-day stretch, or anything in between. They could be movable (think ice cream truck), tiny (think lemonade stand), ad hoc (think of a circle of soapboxes in a vacant lot), or elaborately planned (think art installation in a gallery space). They could pop up at pre-existing meetings, markets, or performances, or offer their own programming, shining a spotlight on the people, projects, and solutions moving us from imagination to action, toward a more just and sustainable world. Whether or not they spent time at an Imagination Station, individuals were able to visit the #DareToImagine web portal to engage in this act of collective imagination and connect with partner organizations.   

WHY: Imagination is our birthright: everyone owns this power and everything created must first be imagined. But too often, we’re persuaded to believe our voices don’t count or that the future is determined by a powerful few. In these times, social imagination is a radical act, restoring personal and collective agency, shifting dominant narratives, and affirming that all of us make the future. When we have the audacity to dream in public, when we begin to unleash imagination and turn it into action, we can move the world.

While the DareToImagine action is over, the Toolkit can still be used as inspiration for anyone interested in creating an Imagination Station or engaging their community in dreaming up a better future.

Sponsoring Organizations Include:

  • Alternate ROOTS

  • Art for Amnesty

  • Arts and Democracy

  • Barry's Blog

  • Beautiful Solutions

  • Bioneers

  • Bowery Poetry

  • Brotherhood/SisterSol

  • Community MusicWorks


  • Cultural Organizing

  • CultureStrike

  • Evolver Network

  • Families United for Racial and Economic Equality

  • Forecast Public Art

  • Fourth Arts Block

  • Friends Center Corporation

  • GOOD Inc./CTZN

  • Gowanus Art Collective

  • Gowanus Conservancy

  • Great Lakes Commons

  • Hard Ball Press

  • JACK

  • Million Hoodies

  • Mondo Bizarro

  • Muhammad Ali Center

  • National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures

  • Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York

  • New Economy Coalition

  • Opportunity Agenda

  • Oregon Climate

  • Picture the Homeless

  • Providence Youth Arts Coalition

  • Social and Public Arts Resource Center (SPARC)

  • Spark Movement

  • Transition US

  • Tucson Pima Arts Council

  • United For A Fair Economy

  • VisualAIDS

  • WomenArts