Part 2: conNECKted: Imaginings for Truth and Reconciliation
To embody platform point 8, “Adopt a Cultural Impact Study,” in South Carolina, the Charleston Rhizome Collective proposed “conNECKted: Imaginings for Truth and Reconciliation.” The project aimed to engage Charleston residents in using “maps as a way to understand where we belong and promote an awareness of our rights to remain here. We are promoting a travel in the past, marking the roads of today with our places of living, worshiping, shopping, learning and public transportation, so that we can learn about our future.”
Part 3: BeCville: Arts-based Participatory Budgeting
Speaking to three different platform points, Matthew Slaats—an artist, producer, Creative Director of PauseLab, and PhD candidate in Civic innovation at the University of Virginia—submitted a Policy Prototype proposal for BeCville. The Charlottesville, VA-based proposal focused on “an arts-based participatory budgeting project that pairs artists and community members together to use the arts as a means to make neighborhood investments based on resident needs.”
Part 4: STICK + MOVE: Commemorative Justice in Richmond, VA
When Free Egunfemi proposed the STICK + MOVE project for one of the USDAC’s Policy Prototype micro-grants, she explained that the title refers to the “quick, nimble installation of breathtakingly illustrated wheatpaste collages to beautify the boarded-up windows and doors of the city's vacant properties…, inspiring communities by seeing people who look like them artfully represented in their neighborhoods with stunning visuals that correspond with fascinating lost historical narratives from the bygone era.” Speaking to Platform point 5— Invest in Belonging and Cultural Citizenship—Free, founder of Untold RVA and more recently, the Richmond, VA, USDAC Outpost, characterized this work as an alternative to expensive, time-consuming, and resource-intensive traditional monuments.
Part 5: Belonging Bandwagon: A Performance Art-Driven Dialogue for Culture’s Sake
Cristina Cabeza Kinney’s Policy Prototype proposal called for a “Belonging Bandwagon” project in Crestone, a tiny town in southern Colorado best-known for the large number of Buddhist, Hindu, and other spiritual centers in the area. Speaking to Platform point 5—Invest in Belonging and Cultural Citizenship and Platform point 8—Adopt a Cultural Impact Study—Cristina highlighted the challenges of collaboration between Crestone, a municipality of around 150 residents, home to the commercial district serving the whole area including the much larger adjacent Baca Grande subdivision with about 2000 residents, managed by a homeowner’s association.
“Playback Theatre” is a type of interactive improvisational theater work that has attracted practitioners around the world (learn more here). It is often used in group work to address conflicts and spur dialogue. In her Policy Prototype proposal, Heidi Winters Vogel described a series of storytelling events in communities of migrant workers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, places where the residents were often unaware of the extent of their legal rights and the groups that exist to pursue them. This partnership between Inside Out Playback Theatre at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA (where Heidi taught theater for many years; she’s now at Wabash College in Indiana) and the Legal Aid Justice Center of Charlottesville, VA, yielded a Participatory Theatre with Migrant Workers Toolkit the Justice Center plans to share with other groups serving migrant workers.
Part 7: Remember2019, Memory and Reflection on Mass Lynching in Phillips County, AR
The proposal submitted for a one-off USDAC Policy Prototype micro-grant by Ashley Teague, a theater director with extensive community experience, focused on the critical issue of commemorative justice (as did the STICK + MOVE project featured earlier in this series). Partnering with Mauricio Salgado, co-founder of Artists Striving to End Poverty and Arielle Julia Brown, founder of The Love Balm Project, Remember2019 lives in South Phillips Country Arkansas where in “1919 arguably the largest mass lynching in American history, took the lives of more than 230 African Americans in less than 72 hours.”
Part 8: Art-Powered Places in Philadelphia, PA
Lisa Jo Epstein applied for a one-time Policy Prototype micro-grant as the leader of Just Act, a theatre-based catalyst for healing change and activism with the mission of build a just world. The work is rooted in the principles of Theatre of the Oppressed and other arts-based methods to ignite critical thinking and unite community members for collective action.