Through Americans for the Arts’ ArtsU and with partner organizations in the field, Animating Democracy has offered a wide range of practical and thought-provoking webinars and virtual events on a range of arts for change topics. Here is an archive of webinar recordings on past topics of interest.
Animating Democracy: REFLECTING FORWARD
A fall 2022 three-part series in partnership with Art2Action. Livestreamed on HowlRound
The REFLECTING FORWARD series considered 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 brought 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 articulated 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.
- animating democracy: Voter Mobilization & the Arts
- Art, Race & Dialogue
- Artistic Imagination as a Force for Change
animating democracy: Voter Mobilization & the Arts
Voter suppression, disinformation, the turning over of laws protecting women’s rights. U.S. democracy is in distress. With 2022 mid-term elections approaching, this session explored the role of artists and organizers working together to motivate voting and civic participation centering on two projects: #HTownVotes was a partnership between Houston in Action and Art2Action and Sojourn Theatre’s THE RACE, exploring what the U.S. wants in a leader, and how we decide our leaders.
Featuring: Frances Valdez, executive director, Houston in Action; Michael Rohd, theater artist, director, Co-Lab for Civic Imagination (CCI) at the University of Montana/Missoula; Andrea Assaf, writer, performer, director, and cultural organizer; artistic and executive director, of Art2Action Inc.
For details and recordings visit:
Art, Race & Dialogue Art, Race & Dialogue
In the context of countless murders of Black people, racially motivated assaults on Asian and Arab Americans, and continuing systemic and structural racism against Black, Indigenous/First Nations, and people of color communities, art and artists can play crucial roles to advance meaningful, transformative dialogue and racial reckoning. What should our expectations be for art as a change agent, and what is the role of dialogue in the pursuit? Kim Pevia facilitated an exchange between artists Katrina Browne and James Scruggs to examine the role of art to disrupt narratives, reveal complicity, deepen dialogue, and make progress toward truth and reconciliation.
Featuring: Katrina Browne, producer and director of the film Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, consultant, Episcopal Church's Becoming Beloved Community program; Kim Pevia, facilitator; writer; principal, K.A.P. Inner Prizes; curator, Lumbee Film Festival; James Scruggs, writer, performer, producer, and screenwriter; writer/creator, upcoming NPN Project OFF THE RECORD: Acts of Restorative Justice.
For details and recordings visit:
Artistic Imagination as a Force for Change
The late Detroit-based activist & cultural worker Grace Lee Boggs inspired artists, arts organization & community leaders, & activists with her speech at Animating Democracy's 2003 National Exchange on Art & Civic Dialogue. Enumerating conditions perpetuating inequities & injustices in America, she implored, "Can we create a new paradigm of our selfhood & our nationhood?" Inspired by Grace, this session explored artists’ imaginative power to grow the personal and collective soul and how artistic strategies and emergent strategies can bolster movements and make progress toward change.
Featuring: adrienne maree brown, author of multiple books including Emergent Strategy and Pleasure Activism; Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder/visioning partner, @UrbanBushWomen; Sage Crump, culture strategist, artist, director of Racial Justice & Movement Building, National Performance Network; Roberta Uno, theater director, writer; Founding Director, Arts in a Changing America; Founder/Artistic Director, New WORLD Theater, UMass/Amherst
For details and recordings visit:
Continuum of IMPACT in Action! Teaching Artists Addressing Climate Change around the World
Through its groundbreaking ITAC IMPACT: Climate initiative, the International Teaching Artist Collaborative (ITAC) is supporting teaching artists around the world to engage students and their local communities around pressing issues of climate change. Teaching artists from Brazil to Alaska to the Philippines and beyond are designing and leading innovative projects in schools and communities to raise awareness, educate, change minds and behavior, and to activate participation around a local climate challenge. Having impact around this pressing issue is imperative and evaluation is an integral part of the work for both ITAC and the teaching artists. To help, ITAC has embedded Animating Democracy’s Continuum of IMPACT as a central tool for sharpening desired outcomes and indicators of change and guiding artists’ evaluation planning, implementation, reporting, and communication. Learn about this important initiative and three of the teaching artists’ projects.
For details and recordings of this two-part series visit: https://artsu.americansforthearts.org/products/continuum-of-impact-in-action-teaching-artists-addressing-climate-change-around-the-world
Evaluation in Action!
Evaluation in Action! 2013 addressed common evaluation challenges artists, arts organizations, and their community partners face. The goal was to sharpen evaluative thinking and build can-do capacity in evaluation methods that produce meaningful, useful information.
Co-presented by Christine Dwyer of RMC Research and guest practitioners, it included four sessions (90 minutes) each focusing on a skill area, an illuminating arts for change story of evaluative practice, and linking to outcomes from Animating Democracy’s Continuum of Impact.
Linking Your Work to Change – Most arts for change practitioners will never conduct scientific-level evaluation, yet they want to understand links between outcomes and arts for change efforts. Learn techniques to establish connections between arts endeavors and social outcomes.
Credible Qualitative Design & Analysis – Stories and qualitative information are critical to giving a full sense of impact of arts for change work, but they are often considered “soft” evidence. Learn how to collect and analyze qualitative data that’s credible.
Meaningful Numbers! – Sometimes numbers convey meaning even better than words. Learn what you can and should quantify!
Mapping Long-term, & Cumulative Effects – The effects of arts for change work often occur after project timeframes or grant periods end and are catalytic to other effects such as new connections and deepened relationships. Learn ways to map and assess cumulative and long-term outcomes.
In Evaluation in Action! 2014, guest arts practitioners and evaluators presented specific stories, techniques or tools, along with conceptual frameworks to guide evaluation design.
Art-Based Evaluation Methods
May 28, 2014
Don’t leave your creativity at the evaluation door! Story, poetry, mapping, movement…these and more creative expressions are the work of art but can also elicit information and data useful to assessment and evaluation. This webinar looks at ways to integrate creativity and art making into all stages of evaluation process, from being a method of data collection to a means for sharing findings that make intangible outcomes visible and meaningful.
Collecting Evidence of Outcomes and Impact
May 7, 2014
To capture what you need by know, you need to know what to look for Indicators are specific changes that can be seen, heard or read to show progress or demonstrate that an outcome is being met. It is useful to identify indicators in order to know what you want to measure and what data to collect. This webinar walks you through the process of devising relevant indicators and identifying practical data collection methods for creative change projects.
Assessing Social Impact: Practical Insights from Tucson, Arizona
April 2, 2014
What has the Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC) learned through four studies and three reports on its PLACE Initiative? Nationally recognized, PLACE (People, Land, Arts, Culture, and Engagement), has supported individuals and organizations who implement arts-based civic engagement projects that address critical community issues in the southwest. Learn about what kind of framework cultural workers are creating to assess work that engages community constituents as essential collaborators, and “place makers”, not solely as audience members.
Public Art Evaluation: Principles & Methodology for Measuring Social Impact
August 16, 2012 (60 minutes)
In this webinar, we discuss the challenges facing public art administrators when demonstrating the impact of the arts.
Beyond Good Intentions: Public Art Practices for Achieving Civic Engagement & Social Change
July 19, 2012 (60 minutes)
A follow up to the social engagement session of the 2012 Americans for the Arts convention’s Public Art Pre-Conference, this webinar looks at how to engage communities and how public art programs can support artists who do socially engaged work.
Reclaiming the F-Word: Folk Arts, Shifting Populations & Civic Engagement
June 14, 2012 (60 minutes)
This webinar discusses the importance of folk and traditional arts, highlighting how they connect individuals to their communities, foster dialogue between groups, and build cultural and civic capacity.
Trend or Tipping Point: A New Report on Arts & Social Change Grant making
May 10, 2011 (60 minutes)
Learn about Animating Democracy’s 2010 report: Trend or Tipping Point: Arts & Social Change Grantmaking that assembles a first-time portrait of arts funders, social change funders, and others supporting civic engagement and social change through arts and cultural strategies.
Arts & Civic Engagement: Policies and Actions for Strengthening the 21st Century Community
March 11, 2009 (90 minutes)
The 2008 National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual forum of Americans for the Arts and the Sundance Preserve, examined important and timely opportunities for the arts to promote civic engagement toward building healthy communities and a healthy democracy.
Social change is a broad umbrella to encompass a range of typical social and civic outcomes from increased awareness and understanding, to attitudinal change, to increased civic participation, the building of public will, to policy change that corrects injustice. Acknowledging that social change must start with the individual, the term emphasizes impact that happens at a broader institutional, group, or community level.