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Wed, Sep 28


Livestream on Howlround

animating democracy: Voter Mobilization & the Arts

The first in a new online series, "Animating Democracy: Reflecting Forward," this session explores the role artists can play in working with organizers to motivate voting, civic participation, and dialogue on the state of our democracy. Featuring Andrea Assaf, Michael Rohd, and Frances Valdez.

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animating democracy: Voter Mobilization & the Arts
animating democracy: Voter Mobilization & the Arts

Time & Location

Sep 28, 2022, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Livestream on Howlround

About the Event

animating democracy: Voter Mobilization & the Arts

September 28, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. ET

Ongoing voter suppression, disinformation, the overturning of laws protecting women’s rights: U.S. democracy is in distress. With mid-term elections approaching, this session explores the roles that artists can play in working together with organizers and organizations to motivate voting and civic participation and to promote dialogue about the state of our democracy. How can artists and activists navigate their different ways of working, and how can cross-training prepare them for strong collaborations and impactful results? What creative strategies have worked best? How do organizing bodies integrate the artistic imagination, and how can artists integrate organizing principles into their work? What’s needed to animate democracy right now?

This session centers two projects, #HTownVotes and THE RACE. #HTownVotes was a partnership between Houston in Action and Art2Action designed to mobilize youth and people of color to vote in the 2020 election. Through 10 artist-led projects, artists worked with organizers in Harris County, Texas, and nationally, creating culturally relevant (and mostly virtual) artistic works to inspire and mobilize voter engagement. In a case where numbers count, cultural organizing contributed to the largest voter turnout of people of color in the history of Houston.

Sojourn Theatre’s THE RACE was presented across the nation in the lead up to Presidential elections in 2008, 2016 and 2020. Sojourn Theatre devised this piece over the course of two years (2006-08) at the invitation of Georgetown University, using theatre to provide space for civic inquiry and civic dialogue on campus and in Washington, DC. The show blends performance, call and response, Q & A, a global Skype chorus, and dance and karaoke into a participatory, highly choreographed, and at times improvised exploration of what the U.S. wants in a leader, and how we decide our leaders.

Featuring: Andrea Assaf, Artistic/Executive Director, Art2Action Inc.; Michael Rohd, Co-founder/member, Sojourn Theatre, and Director, Co-Lab for Civic Imagination (CCI) at theUniversity of Montana/Missoula; Frances Valdez, Executive Director, Houston in Action

About the Series:

Animating Democracy: Reflecting Forward is a FREE three-event series co-presented by Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, and Art2Action, livestreamed by HowlRound.

For more than two decades, Animating Democracy has created spaces for critical exchange and catalytic learning in the field. In supporting projects on the ground, so many issues and questions were raised and addressed by artists, cultural organizations, and their community partners. Many of these issues and questions persist, but in a changed and more charged context. In three Fall events, the Animating Democracy: Reflecting Forward series considers the practice and progress of community-based and socially/civically engaged art and culture over recent decades, and its promise, now and into the future. Each session brings together trailblazing artists and cultural leaders from Animating Democracy’s founding years with a new generation of leading-edge practitioners and thought leaders from the arts and other sectors. Through the lens of their work, featured speakers and artists will help articulate critical questions of the day, and for the future of arts and culture work, as a spark, invitation, and space for social and civic change.

Register here to join us in the Zoom room, receive reminders, and request a FREE copy of the ground-breaking book Civic Dialogue, Arts & Culture: Findings from Animating Democracy


SESSION 2: Art, Race & Dialogue

October 13, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. ET

Featuring: Traces of the Trade filmmaker Katrina Browne, and multimedia theatre artistJames Scruggs, facilitated by Kim Pevia

SESSION 3: Artistic Imagination as a Force for Change

November 18, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. ET

Featuring: adrienne maree brown, authorand writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, and choreographer Jawole Zollar, founder and visioning partner of Urban Bush Women, facilitated by culture strategist Sage Crump

Click here for more details!

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