FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is this actually a governmental agency?  

Nope. 

Then what is it? 

It’s a people-powered department—a grassroots action network inciting creativity and social imagination to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging.

Who's involved in making this? 

Artists, activists, creative organizers, educators, and other community members  across the country helped to shape this initiative. For example, take a look at Organizing Team, National Cabinet, and Cultural Agents.

How can I take part?

  • Enlist as a Citizen Artist. It’s fast, free, and informative! You don’t have to be a U.S. Citizen or an Artist to be a Citizen Artist!
  • Enlist your organization as an Affiliate, joining value-aligned groups across the U.S.
  • Start a USDAC Outpost right in your own community!
  • More than 30,000 volunteer hours have been contributed in support of our values; write to hello@usdac.us to offer your help on the Action Squad.
  • Become Co-Conspirator to help sustain this work. 

What does the USDAC actually do? 

The USDAC is all about synergy. Grassroots organizing engages local communities in their own conscious cultural development. A national vision of truly democratic cultural policy and intervention inspires thought and action. Between them lives 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:

  • Supporting  communities in articulating their own cultural needs and envisaging their own futures, often toward forming USDAC Outposts to anchor local cultural organizing.

  • Once an Outpost has been active for six months, you can apply to become a  local Field Office, with even more support 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:

  • National Actions such as our annual civil ritual the People’s State of the Union, inviting individuals and organizations across the U.S. to take part in their own ways.
  • 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 Standing for Cultural Democracy: The USDAC’s Policy and Action Platform, released in November 2016.
  • Videos, publications, social media and other communication initiatives to stimulate and nurture new national conversations and creative actions. For instance, see Art Became The Oxygen: An Artistic Response Guide or #HonorNativeLand.
  • Training initiatives, online dialogues, and other resources for local cultural development  made accessible via the USDAC website.
  • National convenings, bringing people across the nation together to learn, exchange, plan, and act. CULTURE/SHIFT 2016, our first national convening, was held in St. Louis in November 2016.

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', to a society rooted in equity, empathy, and interconnectedness, one that invites everyone's creativity, imagination, and collaboration.