USDAC Lab is the U.S. Department of Art and Culture’s home for collaborations with public and private entities to research, design, implement, and disseminate projects that enact our aims and values. We seek opportunities to share our creative cultural development expertise, deep knowledge of civic engagement, and transformative storytelling with partners in experimentation.

The USDAC-NYC Field Office sets up shop at the Brooklyn Museum

The USDAC-NYC Field Office sets up shop at the Brooklyn Museum

HOW IT WORKS: USDAC Lab projects start either of two ways: (1) potential partners will bring Lab project ideas to us; and (2) the USDAC issues requests for partnership. Generally, USDAC focuses on design, in-process consultation, documentation and analysis; and partners handle on-the-ground project implementation. We together design each project selected for Lab development and raise needed funds. USDAC prepares, publishes, and disseminates findings at the conclusion of each project, working in collaboration with partners.

WHAT THE USDAC BRINGS: Respected cultural development thinkers and practitioners; a wealth of experience in participatory action research; creative writing talent to bring cultural development to vivid life for both general and expert audiences; and a nationwide action and communications network.

WHAT YOU BRING: A community, agency, or organization committed to creative innovation and cultural democracy values; desire and capacity to bring art’s transformative power to social and civic challenges; and willingness to share your learning to benefit others and enhance its visibility and impact.

USDAC LAB EXAMPLE: Art & Well-Being: Toward A Culture of Health.

This free guide for artists, creative organizers, healthcare providers, educators, funders, policy-makers, and communities responding to threats to well-being asks what can art do to nurture a culture of health?

Art & Well-Being began when The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported three arts organizations working with visual art, music, and performance to demonstrate the efficacy of arts-based education and engagement in cultivating a culture of health. Part Three of the guide focuses on case studies of the projects conducted by these three organization: The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, The San Francisco Mime Troupe; and Youth Radio in Oakland, CA. The USDAC was funded to coordinate these organizations and support best practices in engaging communities through the arts.

Based on that experience and extensive research into other culture of health-related work, Art & Well-Being includes a framework for understanding a culture of health, one that responds equally to all individual and community needs. Looking at the social determinants of health—such as race, class, and gender—it demonstrates how social justice is the single greatest factor in ensuring well-being. Beyond the three detailed case studies, the guide includes dozens of project descriptions, and hundreds of links to powerful arts projects, research resources, and detailed accounts for those who want to go even deeper. A section on right relationship covers ethics, partnerships, and much more. Read here:

Policy and Action Prototypes - Our newly launched  Standing for Cultural Democracy platform, features ten powerful points—policies and actions to advance equity and belonging through culture.  Now we must all push for many of these at the local level by starting conversations, building people-power, and partnering with allies in public agencies.  Learn more here > 

Want to explore a collaboration? Contact us:!