Arts & Democracy's briefing calls and webinars present compelling work in the field and facilitate conversation and resource-sharing. We announce call dates/times and topics and share follow-up resources via our e-newsletters. Sign up here. Access the archive of our resource newsletters here.



Storytelling in Crisis

The virtual dialogue, Storytelling in Crisis, presented by Storyline, Arts & Democracy, The Laundromat Project, Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY (NOCD-NY) and US Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) explored strategies for crafting storytelling responses that center care and connection, amplify resistance, and support resiliency. We heard from storytellers who have learned from their experience of making work grappling with pandemics; epidemics; and natural, social, political and economic disasters. Michael Premo (Storyline) facilitated a discussion with Steven Thrasher (Northwestern University), Nick Slie (Mondo Bizarro, Cry You One, I -10 Witness Project), and Regina Campbell (Rikers Public memory Project).  

Activating the Cultural Power of a Movement

On Oct 9, 2020, Arts & Democracy, The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, and NOCD-NY convened Activating the Cultural Power of a Movement, an event that showcased inspiring, movement based organizations across the country. The webinar featured presentations by leaders from racial justice, environmental justice, immigrant rights, and economic justice groups including Michelle Ramos (Executive Director, Alternate ROOTS), Angeles Solis (Director of Worker Organizing, Make the Road Action), Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson (a member of Movement for Black Lives’ policy table leadership team), Charon Hribar (Revivals Coordinator, Poor People's Campaign), and Nina Eichner (Creative Projects Manager, Sunrise Movement).

Artwork by Melanie Cervantes, Dignidad Rebelde

We Decide: Arts, Culture, and Voting Power

Arts & Democracy joined with The US Department of Arts and Culture to convene We Decide: Arts, Culture, and Voting Power to learn how arts, culture, and creative media can reimagine our democracy and revitalize civic participation, with a focus on historically disenfranchised communities. We heard from artists and cultural organizers working in Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin as well as those working nationally. Presenters included Andrea Assaf, Dr. Rob “Biko” Baker, Trupania “Trap” Bonner, amalia deloney, and Savannah Romero and call participants shared their work as well.

Artwork by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya

Walking the Talk: Putting Racial and Cultural Equity Values into Practice

It's an important step to state our beliefs in racial and cultural equity in these fraught times. It's a bigger one to change what we do to make those beliefs a reality. The webinar, cosponsored with NOCD-NY and PolicyLink illustrates community-based and public sector approaches to putting equity values into practice. It features Libertad O. Guerra, Loisaida Center; Kathy Hsieh, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture; and Keryl McCord, Equity Quotient.

Above and Beyond Borders

The webinar, cosponsored with No Longer Empty and NOCD-NY featured artists and cultural organizers from Chicago, IL, Douglas, AZ and New York, NY who are actively working to envision a life of dignity for immigrants, detainees and prisoners, and individuals who have been violated and rendered invisible. Featured programs and presenters included: Maria Gaspar's 96 Acres Project and Radioactive: Stories from Beyond the Wall, M Jenea Sanchez's Border Arts Corridor, 
and members of the New Sanctuary Coalition's art wing. It was facilitated by Raquel de Anda, No Longer Empty.

Creative Housing Activism and Engagement

Creative Housing Activism and Engagement focused on how artists and other creative activists are addressing the need for truly affordable housing and the impacts of displacement in our communities through creative alliances, cross sector partnerships, artmaking, and oral history. The call was coponsored with Naturally Occurrng Cultural Districts NY.

Toolkits for Creative Change

May 19, 2015, 1-2pm EST, 10-11am Pacific

This call featured: Envisioning Development by the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP); Making Waves by The Culture Group; and the People's Creative Toolkit/Herramientas Populares, Arts & Democracy's soon-to-launch collaboration with SEIU Local 26, Rogue Citizen, and Line Break Media.  

Climate Justice: Arts, Culture, and Creative Action

September 12, 2014

This call featured presentations on creative projects leading up to the People's Climate March and beyond. It was cosponsored by the People's Climate March Arts Team.

Just Economies: Part 2

Just Economies: Creative approaches to building & strengthening
just and democratic economies Part 2, July 22, 2014

In the face of growing economic inequity, people around the country are coming together to reimagine and rebuild their economies and communities based on the values of equity, democracy, cooperation, self-determination and sustainability. This New York City focused call featured the POINT, Solidarity NYC, Trade School, Our Goods, and The Rockefeller Foundation's support of the area of work. The call was cosponored by NOCD-NY.

Just Economies: Part 1

Just Economies: Creative approaches to building & strengthening
just and democratic economies Part 1, July 10, 2014

In the face of growing economic inequity, people around the country are coming together to reimagine and rebuild their economies and communities based on the values of equity, democracy, cooperation, self-determination and sustainability. This nationally focused call highlighted examples from Jackson Mississippi, Eastern Kentucky, and from Native communities across the country.

Strategies for Cultural Planning

May 13, 2014

Municipalities, arts councils, and community-based organizations around the country engage in cultural planning in order to better engage their communities, identify and build on resources, and integrate the arts and culture into larger community development strategies. This call featured presentations from two veterans of cultural planning: Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Co-Director, Animating Democracy, and Tom Borrup, Principal, Creative Community Builders.

Rural Engagement

March 21, 2014

This call featured of panel of people with deep experience in rural engagement:  Ben Strand, University of Wisconsin Foundation, former development director for Young Auditorium in Whitewater, WI; Maria De Leon; Executive Director of National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, and NEA Council member;  Bob Gates, folklorist, formerly of KY and LA Arts Councils, and winner of a lifetime achievement prize from the American Folklife Society; and Frumie Selchen, Executive Director, Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, and 2013 Governor's Award honoree for Arts Leadership. NOTE: the beginning of this call was dropped due to technical difficulties.  The first speaker is Maria De Leon.

Education for Liberation Through Arts and Culture

February 6, 2014

This call brought together Khmer Girls in Action (KGA), Save Ethnic Studies / Xican@ Institute for Teaching & Organizing, and Project HIP-HOP (Highways Into the Past, History, Organizing, and Power), all supporting liberatory educational practices through engagement with culture and the arts. They explored the possibilities and challenges of practicing — and fighting for — culturally relevant, creative, liberating education.

From Media to Action: Creative Engagement and Organizing Strategies

July 22, 2013

As Working Films says, "we know that stories lead to action." From Media to Action: Creative Engagement and Organizing Strategies featured: Fruitvale StationHerman's HouseLand of Opportunity, and 13 in the Hole. The newsletter includes additional strategies for creative community engagement and campaigns for social change that move people to action.

Forced to Flee: Exiled Voices & Visions for Justice

June 11, 2013

Emotions conveyed and evoked by art and culture can open hearts and minds, heal and transform, build community across difference, and promote peace, equality and justice, advancing positive social change. In Forced to Flee, we heard from refugee artists, artists forced into exile, cultural organizers and their allies, as they spoke about how they are using the power of art and culture to amplify the voices and visions of those forced to flee their countries of origin. 



Stories & Places

March 5, 2013

Cultural practice and artistic expression breathe life into communities.They create opportunities for individuals and institutions to transform their sense of self and relationships with one another, and share their local traditions and ways of being.   

This conference call looks at the power of place-based culture to create community narratives, advance racial and economic equity, promote participatory democracy, and foster self-determination and inclusion in rural communities.  We will hear from five presenters about culturally-based work in a diverse range of contexts addressing themes that include traditional practice, opportunities for young people as emerging leaders, cultural economies, ecological and cultural stewardship and cross-sector partnerships.

Artist and architect Bill Mackey’s project maps transit routes based on people’s actual uses and place names

Placemaking and Belonging

February 13, 2013

We hear a lot about creative placemaking these days. Some like the term and others don't. On this conference call, presenters discussed what sorts of creative placemaking practices strengthen self-determination and belonging within a community. The call illustrated the power of place-based arts and culture as an integral part of equitable, democratic, and culturally vital communities and explored placemaking in the digital sphere.

Relief & Recovery: The Transformative Power of Arts & Culture Conference Call

November 28, 2012

We know the power of arts and culture to heal and transform, connect people and build community. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, artists and cultural organizers stepped up to use their creativity to rebuild the city and rebuild community. They are helping people tell their stories and sing together, offering cultural and wellness activities in evacuation shelters, organizing benefits, and providing leadership to recovery efforts. They've helped to restore dignity, build community, make connections, and heal.

Election Call: This is What Democracy Looks Like

September 20th, 2012

This call highlighted the great work that is happening in civic participation, arts and culture. It addressed elections as well as the ongoing work to strengthen our democracy. The call featured presenters from across the country who are working to protect voting rights and make sure that those who have been historically disconnected from decisionmaking have opportunities to participate.

Cultural Organizing: Integrating Arts & Culture with Organizing

July 24, 2012

Cultural organizing is a core practice of the Arts & Democracy Project that exists at the intersection of arts, culture and activism. Cultural organizing integrates arts and culture into organizing strategies. It is also about organizing from a particular tradition, cultural identity, and community of place or worldview to advance social and economic justice. This call will focus on four different approaches to to this practice.

Creative Engagement: From Civic Dialogue to Direct Democracy

March 7, 2012

The conference call focused on creative engagement through civic dialogue, cultural asset mapping, and participatory budgeting.

Arts, Culture & Environmental Justice Organizing

January 24, 2012

This conference call focused on how people and organizations across the country are bringing the power of arts and culture to bear on the environmental devastation that is disproportionately affecting poor communities and communities of color. 

Occupy Movements: Art, Culture & Creative Action

December 2011

This conference call focused on how arts, culture and creative actions are being used as part of the 99% movement across the country.

Creative Responses to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

August 2011

This conference call focused on the 10 Year Anniversary of 9/11 and the programs, cultural convenings and artwork that have helped to heal, facilitate dialogue, build community and move us forward.

Radio for Community, Art and Culture

July 2011

This conference call focused on the power of radio in fostering art, culture and community. It provided informattion about an exciting upcoming opportunity for community groups to start their own radio stations.

Arts & Economic Justice

May 2011

This nation-wide conference call was focused on the role of the arts, culture and media in economic justice organizing and movement building in communities across the U.S.

Pro-Democracy Organizing in the Middle East & Beyond

February 2011

Focusing on events in Egypt and the extraordinary pro-democracy movements sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East, this conference call highlights how artists, art spaces and cultural organizers in the region and in the U.S. are participating and responding, and how more cultural workers can engage in positive ways.

Arts & Equitable Development

November 2010

This conference call focuses on the arts and equitable development work that is being conducted in Brooklyn, NY; Harlan County, KY; Skid Row, Los Angeles; and beyond.  

Arts & Culture Resources for Election Participation

September 2010

This newsletter offers nonpartisan resources, opportunities, and events that join creativity and civic participation - during the election cycle - and beyond.

Immigrant Rights Organizing

August 2010

As ongoing immigration battles are waged in our own backyards, this resource newsletter shares information and cultural organizing resources that are related to migrant and immigrant justice.

Image from the Art Dept. Chronicles  

Open Internet

May 2010

A free and open Internet has become a necessity, not a luxury, for all aspects of art and democracy.  As laws tighten and access is further limited, this newsletter offers resources that assist in understanding issues and offer opportunities to take action.