The next round of Imaginings will take place in the spring of 2015. Stay tuned for dispatches, and in the meantime, enjoy learning about last summer’s Imaginings.

 

During the summer of 2014, the USDAC's founding Cultural Agents, hosted Imaginings across the country. An Imagining is a vibrant, arts-infused gathering in which a community envisions its ideal future and identifies creative tactics to get there. Part performance, part facilitated dialogue, part celebration, these first Imaginings brought together diverse groups of artists, organizers, and community members to imagine what their neighborhoods (and the world) might look like in the year 2034, when art’s transformative power has been fully integrated into all aspects of public life. How might the face of education, environmental protection, health care, community development and other essential social goods change when the USDAC’s Statement of Values is fully embedded in society? And, what will it take to get there? The ideas, images, and visions generated during this pilot round of Imaginings will be documented and fed back to inform the USDAC’s emerging national story and strategy.

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In the summer of 2014, Imaginings were held in the following places:

  #ImaginingStLouis

#ImaginingStLouis

  #ImaginingGermantown

#ImaginingGermantown

  #ImaginingPhoenix

#ImaginingPhoenix

  #ImaginingDC

#ImaginingDC

  #ImaginingSanAntonio

#ImaginingSanAntonio

   #ImaginingBayArea

#ImaginingBayArea

THE IMAGININGS IN CONTEXT

The USDAC is like a sandwich: on one side, grassroots organizing to engage and affect local communities in their own conscious cultural development; on the other side, a national vision of truly democratic cultural policy and intervention, fueling that local development and much more. In between, 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. 

Nationally, we foresee a range of related initiatives rolling out over time:

  • A cabinet of key leaders committed to USDAC values to monitor, comment on, and propose alternatives to existing cultural policy and initiatives.
  • Videos, publications, social media and other communication initiatives to stimulate and nurture the necessary new national conversation.
  • A crowd-sourced project to derive an encompassing national vision from which a new cultural policy proposal will be synthesized. It starts with the Imaginings described above.
  • Training initiatives, online dialogues, and other resources for local cultural development  made accessible via the USDAC website.
  • Eventually, think-tanks and conferences engaging cabinet members and others who care about culture and democracy in envisaging the best strategic approach to adoption of new cultural policy—to making the USDAC not just a performance, but a reality. 

Locally, we are supporting communities in articulating their own culture needs and envisaging their own futures, linking lived grassroots realities to a national vision and conversation. On the ground, these communities are laboratories for cultural democracy, demonstrating what is possible at the grassroots level. We’re beginning with these Imaginings.