Author(s): Americans for the Arts
Date of Publication: December 2005

Representatives of the 12 small and mid-sized organizations participating in Americans for the Arts Exemplar Program convened in December 2005 in Santa Fe New Mexico. Recognized for outstanding cultural work in their communities and in the field based on their participation in Animating Democracy and the Working Capital Fund, the groups explored topic areas related to aesthetic investigation, institutional health and capacity, and civic engagement.  From the convening, a report was compiled highlighting the event from beginning to end.  With implications for the entire field, the

Author(s): Atlas, Caron
Date of Publication: August 2007

In May, 2007, grantees from the Artography and Animating Democracy/Working Capital Fund Exemplar programs, both supported by The Ford Foundation, met together in Chicago to share their experiences and consider ways they might draw on the collective power of their work.  The resulting report, Shaping a Critical Discourse, written by Caron Atlas, explores the topics of aesthetics, new ways of working, and leadership taken up at the cohort-designed gathering. The convening revealed and embraced the creative tensions and contradictions of working in the context of changing

Author(s): Holo, Selma
Date of Publication: Nov 17, 2021

Animating Democracy invited museum studies scholar Selma Holo to write an article from ideas and themes she found compelling at the Animating Democracy Learning Exchange held in Seattle in May 2002. Her article responds to the arts-based civic dialogue work of the three museums participating in the Animating Democracy Lab--the Andy Warhol Museum, the Jewish Museum, and the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington--comparing it to other museums whose efforts have intersected with the sphere of civic ideas and issues.

Author(s): Mount, Lisa
Date of Publication: 2007

Cornerstone Theater Company and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange have each experienced founding artistic director transitions in the recent past, although the nature of those processes—and leadership results—have differed. Over the course of ten months—from December 2006 to August 2007, key individuals from Cornerstone and Dance Exchange gathered for three conversations facilitated by Lisa Mount that investigated what an artistic founder transition or evolution was and is like—primarily for the new leaders of the organizations, secondarily for the founders themselves. In

Author(s): Whang, Vanessa
Date of Publication: February 2008

In the spring of 2004, an anonymous donor made a five-year gift to underwrite the National Black Arts Festival’s (NBAF) use of venues on the The Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center’s campus—which includes the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, High Museum of Art, and Young Audiences.  The gift (and its forthcoming expiration) served as the impetus for NBAF to explore possible ways of working with The Woodruff that would institutionalize a relationship of mutual benefit and enhance the sustainability of both organizations.

Author(s): Shephard, Mikki
Date of Publication: February 2008

 To build organizational capacity and provide sustainability, the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) board and executive staff leadership considered a range of diverse strategies. Recent discussions between NBAF, the Woodruff Arts Center (The Woodruff), and local supporters resulted in a sustainability strategy that would consider a more formal relationship between NBAF and the Woodruff. With this strategy on the table, a research process was launched by NBAF to survey and learn more about the long-term relationships of other arts organizations to inform the negotiation and

Author(s): Stern, Mark J. and Seifert, Susan
Date of Publication: June 2009

Grounded in a recent strategic plan, the Tucson Pima Arts Council is moving to advance civic engagement in the city and county through its programming, funding, and partnerships. As part of Animating Democracy’s Art & Civic Engagement Impact Initiative, and in addition to the qualitative focus reflected in the evaluation inquiry with Maribel Alvarez, TPAC wanted to know what concrete measures are reasonable to use to understand the civic engagement effects of its work as an agency. The objective of the collaborative inquiry with Mark Stern and Susan Seifert of the Social Impact of

Author(s): Gilbert, Judith E.; MacDonell, Martha S.; Weis, Mary F.
Date of Publication: 2008

This case study documents Sojourn Theatre Company’s intervention at Lima, OH, Senior High School following a tragic shooting in 2008 that resurfaced racial tensions in the community. Lima City Schools enlisted Allen County Common Threads, a locally based volunteer group promoting arts-based civic dialogue and Sojourn Theatre Company to implement an immediate arts-based project to help students process the tragedy. Sojourn interviewed students, and wrote, performed, and recorded theatrical monologues expressing student perspectives on the incident and the racial tensions exposed

Author(s): Dwyer, Chris and Pottenger, Marty
Date of Publication: January 2009

Art & Soul is a project of the Orton Family Foundation. The Orton Family Foundation, in partnership with the Town of Starksboro and the Vermont Land Trust hypothesize that, by getting in touch with deeper community values and connections to place, citizens will be able to improve upon traditional approaches to planning and make better decisions about the future of their communities. With the Art & Soul Civic Engagement Project they are testing whether the use of different forms of art will catalyze articulation of the unique assets of a community, in turn impacting community

Author(s): Jackson, Maria Rosario and Malpede, John
Date of Publication: 2009

Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) is a Skid Row-based theater organization, founded and directed by artist John Malpede. LAPD has distinguished itself by its longstanding commitment to making change in L.A.’s Skid Row community, particularly regarding the homeless, through theater-based civic engagement work. Many have observed LAPD’s apparent potent effects on individuals and on social relations in Skid Row, and acknowledge its contributions to influencing structures, systems, and even policy.   As part of Animating Democracy’s Arts & Civic Engagement Impact