Deputy Agent Justine Craft, photo-phenom, tech-tackler, planner
Deputy Agent Jake Friedman, poet, poet scribe, planner
Deputy Agent Christina Lopez, consults, planning, facilitation
Deputy Agent Nicole Underwood, welcome station, poet, planning
Deputy Agent Kirstin Van Cleef, planning, facilitation, balloon shepherd
Deputy Agent Shannon Youso, chief prompter, antlered project guide, planner
Youth Agent Amelie, assistant prompter of magic happenings
Citizen Artist Bryn Corbett, sound installation artist & videographer
Citizen Artist Sylvia Frost, sound installation artist assist
Citizen Artist Rico Pagliuca, improviser & story-wrangler
Citizen Artist Jared Duran, poet
Citizen Artist Melissa Dunmore, poet
Citizen Artist Lindsay Kincade, impromptu event consult & pillar
Citizen Artist Adam King, impromptu helping hands
Deputy Agent Rachel Cheeseman, videographer
Citizen Artist Hannah Langmade, assistant photo-phenom
Deputy Agent Rashaad Thomas, observation maker, question asker, consult
Citizen Artist Linda Essig, agent provocateur
Citizen Artist Emily Spetrino-Murtagh, food
Citizen Artists Adriene Jenik & Peter Bugg, facilities
Deputy Agent Josselyn Berry, consults & planning
Deputy Agent Connor Descheemaker, consults & planning
Practical Art, prizes & materials
The Duce, after-party
*A big thank you goes out to the USDAC Organizing Team & Action Squad, and the Cultural Agents now dotting the National map—their support, skill-sharing, and encouragement have been integral to this process.
So, what IS ahead? Well, here are some of the issues that surfaced and were echoed by many at the IMAGINING:
1. No Silos!
How do we foster diverse communities, audiences, participants, constituents, and leadership? There is a tendency for groups to clump by social markers (visible or non-visible): race, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, health, age, interest, education, et al.; this clumping can inadvertently self-perpetuate, shielding those on the interior from exterior ideas, perspectives, and experiences. How do we begin to generate a greater porousness of ideas, knowledge, interest, and interaction between groups to create a healthy, happy, and inclusive community?
2. A Robust Ecosystem/Economy for Creative, Cultural Work!
Does this look like STEAM v. STEM? What about living wages for facilitators of creative programs beyond academia? Is AZ on the map for tech innovation? Should the government implement a basic income program? Can we create or support studies identifying the economic benefits and value of creative cultural work? Shouldn't every person have the opportunity to earn a living through meaningful work?
3. Climate Control: Ecologically-Savvy Infrastructure & Design!
Can this desert heat-island be walkable and bike-friendly? Could our neighborhoods blossom, the smog lift, our allergies dissipate, with less freeways, or dare we say, solar roads!? Can we minimize our water consumption with more xeriscaping? What if we grew more of our own food, used solar panels, had pocket parks? What if our daily experience, mood, health, is impacted by our environment?
That's a start. And there are already agents and community partners mobilizing on these issues. Part of this initiative is to use these conversations to connect these concerns, and others, to the local change-makers who are already on the ground with them, organizing, brainstorming and implementing solutions, and who could, quite possibly, need more help. USDAC also gives us the opportunity to connect nationally with other populations battling some of the same issues—we can share strategies, solutions, support. This will help a new voice—a positive, innovative, empathetic voice—rise up from Arizona and shift the national perception and story of our Ssate.
Here are some upcoming projects and events, and how to get involved:
USDAC ACTION CHARRETTES
First, you must enlist as a Citizen Artist, identify the topic and the facilitator that will lead the conversation (yourself or others), secure a space (USDAC can assist) for the chosen date and time, and submit that information to the Director of Flow (email@example.com) at least two weeks ahead of time. The information will be processed and forwarded to the Chief Charrette Officer to be disseminated. To organize a charrette, you must also be committed to documenting and reporting back on the discussion, and making available the action plans formulated by the group. There is a need for action charrettes based-on-or-stemming-from those topics listed above, but organizers and facilitators are certainly not limited to those topics. If you are interested in hosting, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ACTION CHARRETTE. Support materials will be made available.
USDAC WORKSHOPS AND SKILL-SHARES
Similar to the action charrettes, enlisted Citizen Artists are encouraged to host Workshops and Skill-Shares. As a grassroots, all-volunteer effort, our greatest resources are our numbers, our knowledge, and our creativity. Let's exchange! Already, we have a WIDE range of expertise and interests, so there's lots to share. And, this is a great framework to engage outside-of-area or field, cross-pollinate ideas, and learn collectively. Can you teach dance? Improv? Grant-writing? Marketing? To organize an USDAC Workshop/Skill-Share, you must: enlist as a Citizen Artist, identify the skills-to-be-learned and the facilitator that will lead the workshop (yourself or others), secure a space (USDAC can assist) for the chosen date and time, and submit that information to the Director of Flow (email@example.com) at least two weeks ahead of time. The information will be processed and forwarded to the Officer of Growth to be disseminated. To organize a SkillShare, you must also be committed to documenting and reporting back from your event. If you are interested in sharing a skill, or would like to place a call out for a skill you would like to learn, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line SKILL-SHARE. Support materials will be made available for hosts and facilitators.
USDAC NOT-SO-SECRET MISSIONS
This is an event with a specific mission that interacts with the world outside of the USDAC. A USDAC Mission might include organizing members to apply for a specific grant, to participate in a protest, to conduct a creative action at City Hall, to mount an exhibition or play; any and all of that! To organize an USDAC Mission, you must: enlist as a Citizen Artist, identify the mission and the point-person to lead the action (yourself or others), secure a space if needed (USDAC can assist) for the chosen date and time, and submit all the information to the Director of Flow (email@example.com), ideally, two weeks or more ahead of time. The information will be processed and forwarded to Chief Mission Control to be disseminated. To organize a Mission, you must also be committed to documenting and reporting back from your event. If you are interested in proposing a mission, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line SSHHHH SECRET MISSION. Support materials will be made available for hosts and facilitators.
Part Skill-Share/Part Mission, Deputy Agent Orange Rhymes will be leading a mission to barrage the annual Coachella Festival with proposals from Arizona. Learn what their application process entails, how to best craft your proposal, and exchange ideas or band together with other artists in attendance. Stay tuned for more details.
Cultural Agent Wunderkammer is proposing an Adopt-A-Politican Mission in the style and spirit of the Adopt-A-Road civic program. Stay tuned for more details.
Deputy Agent Jakefruit Barbacoa is formulating an other-arts-infused, literary performance event for November. Stay tuned.
And more! Other platforms for engagement are in the works, with events like: more IMAGININGS, potlucks, story-shares, show-n-tells, mailer projects, mobile field offices, and flash mobs. We'll be developing an e-newsletter: with featured community initiatives, ways to participate, events, and links. There'll be a USDAC-PHX Calendar for our events and as a hub for Arizona cultural events and calendar shares. The bones for a Cultural Compendium is already in the works, and the info will be garnered through a crowd-sourcing push late summer and early fall. What else? It's up to you! If you're interested in lending a small measure of your time and skills to the nation's newest, people-powered department, the USDAC, then first and foremost:
Do you hold the following truths to be self-evident?
Culture is a human right.
Culture is created by everyone.
Cultural diversity is a social good and the wellspring of free expression.
Culture is the sum-total of public, private, individual, and collective action.
The work of artists is a powerful resource for community development, education, healthcare, protection of our commonwealth, and other democratic public purposes.
That's our Statement of Values, and if you fully embrace 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, then enlist as a citizen artist. You'll be linked in to the happenings, actions, and thought-swirls of this radically-inclusive, grassroots movement on the local and national levels. You'll be linked to the Cultural Compendium, Calendar, Newsletters, The Department of Tiny Folders, and have opportunities to host Action Charrettes, Skill-Shares, Missions, and other shenanigans up to your imagination.
Let us know if you're interested to work within any of the following roles, teams, and tasks, locally (you would also be communicating with the associated officer at the national level, and those in related positions in other communities):
Support Materials Hunter/Gatherer/Distributor
Newsletter Development Team
Social Media Wizard
Website Development Team
Action Charrette Overseer
Cultural Compendium Magistrate
Officer of Growth (Skill-Share Oversight)
Chief Mission Control (Mission Oversight)
Director of Monies (Treasury)
Chief Archivist (Coordinates Documentation)
And here's the link for needs at the National level: http://usdac.us/action-squad/
Remember, many hands make light work! These roles should only encompass 1-5 hours a week of work (play?), position dependent. Forward this call to your friends—and specifically your friends who are leaders in systemically under-represented communities. Let's be intentional about our desire for TOTAL INVOLVEMENT.
There'll be some bumps and lags, fits and spurts, as we craft this creatively-inspired civic machinery, but let's keep in mind that failure, like success, is a natural consequence of taking action. It can happen and we can learn. I invite you all to learn as we grow, and move, move, move forward. I cannot convey how personally excited I am for this new avenue of connection and momentum. Please, do not hesitate to respond to this letter with your comments, suggestions, questions, or concerns.
And, folks, let's not forget to have fun!