You’re Invited. The US Department of Arts & Culture’s Next National Action; #DareToImagine

You're Invited. The US Department of Arts & Culture's Next National Action; #DareToImagine

The US Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) is setting up imagination stations all over the country Oct. 10 -18 that will invite people to #DareToImagine the world they wish to inhabit. The deadline for participating is Sept. 10.

The USDAC is a people-powered arts organization for that believes “art and culture are among our most powerful and under-tapped resources for creating a more just, equitable, and vibrant world”. Their first organizational retreat was held at Blue Mountain Center in 2014. Adam Horowitz, the USDAC’s Chief Instigator, has worked with numerous organizations at the intersection of arts, education, and social change and traveled the world as a performer, musician, and researcher of intercultural barter. He’s currently an Artist Fellow with the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU.

Forging the world we want to live in requires social imagination, the capacity to envision alternatives to what is, together remaking reality. What if instead of another holiday commemorating the past, we took time to envision and celebrate the future?

SIGN-UP BY SEPTEMBER 10th

THE ACTION: From October 10-18, 2015, the people-powered U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, along with dozens of partner organizations, will dispatch “Emissaries from the Future” to create pop-up Imagination Stations in public spaces nationwide. Through a range of creative activities, Emissaries will engage passersby in exercising social imagination, envisioning the world we wish to inhabit and—looking back from the future—celebrating the work we did to bring it into being.  The resulting texts, images, videos, and more will all be uploaded to an online platform, yielding a crowd-sourced vision of the future, inspiring art, policy, and community action.

Stations can be up for one day, the entire eight-day stretch, or anything in between. They can be movable (think ice cream truck), tiny (think lemonade stand), ad hoc (think of a circle of soapboxes in a vacant lot), or elaborately planned (think art installation in a gallery space). They can pop up at pre-existing meetings, markets, or performances, or offer their own programming, shining a spotlight on the people, projects, and solutions moving us from imagination to action, toward a more just and sustainable world. Whether or not they spend time at an Imagination Station, individuals will be able to visit the #DareToImagine web portal to engage in this act of collective imagination and connect with partner organizations.

WHY: Imagination is our birthright: everyone owns this power and everything created must first be imagined. But too often, we’re persuaded to believe our voices don’t count or that the future is determined by a powerful few. In these times, social imagination is a radical act, restoring personal and collective agency, shifting dominant narratives, and affirming that all of us make the future. When we have the audacity to dream in public, when we begin to unleash imagination and turn it into action, we can move the world.

One example of an imagination station

One example of an imagination station

One example of an imagination station

SIGN UP AS AN EMISSARY  

Anyone can step up as an “Emissary from the Future.” Upon doing so, you’ll receive a toolkit that includes a range of low- to high-tech Imagination Station plans; PDFs for signs, badges, and games; how-tos for organizing and promoting local events; checklists and materials for creative activities; an easy way to upload events to a national map, and much more. USDAC trainers will provide online video workshops for Emissaries and one-to-one technical assistance as needed.

Emissaries:

  • Receive a comprehensive toolkit, online training opportunities, and technical assistance as needed.
  • Host at least one Imagination Station, promoting it through newsletters, websites, and social media.
  • Get their Imagination Stations on the national map.
  • Have the opportunity to network with other Emissaries across the country and to post local visions to the national website via a special app.
  • Receive acknowledgement on the USDAC website and the opportunity to be included in national coverage.

JOIN AS A HOST ORGANIZATION

Want to animate your network and mission through new creative engagement strategies? The USDAC invites your organization to #DareToImagine. Recognizing that our social, cultural, economic, and environmental crises are all intertwined, we seek to build reciprocal partnerships with the widest possible range of social justice, movement-building, and arts networks and organizations. We invite host organizations and their constituents to #DareToImagine a future in which their goals have been accomplished, and to share a customized call to action with their networks. (i.e., #DareToImagine #ClimateJustice…)

Organizational Hosts:

  • Push #DareToImagine out through newsletters, websites, and social media, inviting constituents to host Imagination Stations, with the option to create custom prompts and co-branded stations.
  • Can host Imagination Stations of their own. (We can help connect with artists.)
  • Gain exposure to the USDAC’s growing action network of artists, policymakers, and others harnessing creativity in the service of human rights, equity, healing, and justice.
  • Get listed on the #DareToImagine site. (Along with their logo and mission, national partners will post action steps participants can take, encouraging ongoing involvement).
  • Receive coverage for their events through USDAC blogs, newsletters, and other promotion.Questions? Contact our Action Maestr@, Kate McNeely: kate@usdac.us.