d&d & the arts

Creative Conversations on the Arts    

Every October, in honor of National Arts & Humanities Month, Americans for the Arts partners with emerging leaders from across the country to host Creative Conversations. Last year, more than 1,000 emerging arts leaders participated in 41 locally hosted Creative Conversations throughout the country, and those leaders continue to be engaged at the national level.

Want to host a Creative Conversation? Learn more.

Using the Arts to Generate Dialogue    

I just read about this cool project in Animating Democracy’s latest e-newsletter…

In 2003, community artists Jean-Marie Mauclet and Gwylene Gallimard sent 56 handmade three-legged stools as gifts to artists around the world, as a proposal to use the arts to generate conversation about globalization and social justice issues. Artists, artisans, and arts collaboratives who agreed to participate were challenged to create an object, installation, performance, or other project in response to the worldwide issues. Thus, artist residencies, workshops, gift exchanges, and other events took place in England, France, India, South Africa, and the United States.

Beginning September 12, the stools and resulting projects will come to Charleston, SC, to be presented as a means to create community dialogue in The Future is on the Table. A multitude of special events—including multidisciplinary performances and dialogue—are planned through September and October.

Learn more at www.fastandfrench.org/Future/Future_index.htm.

Traces of the Trade Premieres June 24th on PBS    

Traces of the Trade Trailer picI strongly encourage all of you to watch/record Traces of the Trade next Tuesday (June 24th). It premieres on PBS next week, and I especially encourage anyone who’s joining us in Austin for the 2008 NCDD Conference to watch this film. We’ll have representatives from Traces at the conference — showing the film, working with Eastern Mennonite University’s Coming to the Table program on race dialogue-focused workshops, and helping us connect all we’re learning and experiencing related to race, bias and oppression at workshops and plenary sessions at the conference.

Those of you who attended NCDD 2004 in Denver may remember that our friends at Animating Democracy gave conference participants the opportunity to view the rough cut of the film, and played it again during the Open Space because so many people were talking about it that many who missed out demanded another opportunity to see it.

Supported by Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts supported by the Ford Foundation, the film follows director Katrina Browne and nine of her relatives as they retrace the voyage and industry of their ancestors—the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history—from the former mansion and wharf in Bristol, RI, to slave forts in Ghana, to former plantations in Cuba. Step by step, the family uncovers the vast extent of Northern complicity in slavery while also stumbling through the minefield of contemporary race relations. In this bicentennial year of the U.S. abolition of the slave trade, Traces of the Trade offers powerful new perspectives on the black/white divide.

Traces of the Trade will be a catalyst for heart-to-heart dialogue, education and action through screenings in communities and classrooms. There are many steps you can take, on your own or with others. For a full list of these types of opportunities, visit www.tracesofthetrade.org/get-involved.

Check your local listings to see when the film will debut in your area. You can also go to www.tracesofthetrade.org to learn more about this amazing film.

Shades of Youth, A Documentary about Youth and Racism    

NCDD member, Lauren Parker Kucera, director of the Soquel, CA based coAction Connection (antracism.com) recently sent us an announcement about their soon to be released film, Shades of Youth.

From their press release: “This remarkable film captures the wisdom of youth as they address issues of race and discrimination. Shades of Youth was filmed at The White Privilege Conference Youth Institute where 100 high school students gathered from across the United States to seriously engage in issues of race, power, identity, oppression and social change. The film offers multiple views and experiences around race and privilege, giving youth and adults entry points to discuss and better understand how institutional racism affects all of our lives. Ideal for use in high school classrooms, teacher education, community and faith-based youth groups.”

NCDD 2008 Note: Lauren will be co-presenting a pre-conference workshop on white privilege with Catherine Orland at the NCDD conference in Austin this October.

Community Arts Fellowship Program    

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center (www.jmkac.org) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin announces its Community Arts Fellowship program. In its inaugural year, the Community Arts Fellowship is designed to experiment with and define new ways of hands-on collaboration within an arts organization between artists and a broad community. Working in The ARTery space—a hands-on, drop-in, collaborative art-making gallery—the Fellow will have the opportunity to develop interactive projects specific to his/her area of interest that reach out to new communities, provide more in-depth engagement into the exhibitions in the galleries, and provide an accessible entry point to the Arts Center for active participation by people of all skill levels and ages. The fellowship is intended to offer an artist, teaching artist, or artist-administrator (graduate-level candidate or an exceptional undergraduate candidate) professional experience in a nationally acclaimed arts environment. The fellowship start date is August 1, 2008, and the deadline for applications is May 15, 2008. Please see their website for more information.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is a nationally acclaimed visual and performing arts complex in downtown Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The Arts Center is devoted to innovative explorations in contemporary art, new models for community arts, unique educational partnering with an emphasis on early childhood education, presenting internationally acclaimed performing artists, as well as supporting practicing artists through a variety of residencies. The 100,000-square-foot complex includes ten galleries, a theatre, an interdisciplinary performance space, studio-classrooms, meeting spaces, gift shop, and café. The Community Arts Department is one of the programming departments at the Arts Center—the others being Curatorial, Performing Arts, Education, and Arts/Industry—and is comprised of five programs: Connecting Communities, The ARTery, the Community Gallery, the Partnership Program, and Community Events.

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Can A Mural Change A School?    

Twinfield School MuralDuring the weekend of April 11-13, more than a dozen Twinfield staff, parents and students helped to sort, record, and mount the more than 450 “Peace Tiles” that would compose a new mural in the school’s cafeteria. The Peace Tiles – individual collages on 8-inch square wood panel – each responded to the question, “What is my place?” This question, asked in a series of discussion forums, was intended to deepen thinking about three aspects of place: the people, institutions, and geographies that shape our experience of place.

Students then used the mental imagery, words, and ideas that they developed in response to the question and their discussions to create their tile. When combined with others into a mural, they produced a single image representing the Central Vermont landscape where they live – a theme selected by the 2008 graduating class.

While the mural represents one of a few large works in the school, there is some concern that students will find the mural a ready target for vandalism. I am not so certain, for two reasons. First is that each student has a piece in the mural: everyone contributed to it, and as a result I would expect that it feels more “owned” by the entire student body. The second reason is that the mural should have some longevity: every student, from pre-K up to the graduating class, contributed to the mural – which means it could be up to 12 years before that bit of school history graduates. In my mind, that’s a pretty lengthy bit of time for a story to circulate. Both aspects of the mural I hope will garner students’ delight and respect for many years to come. (more…)

ALA Grant for “Let’s Talk About It: Love & Forgiveness”    

The American Library Association Public Programs Office  (www.ala.org/publicprograms), in collaboration with  the Fetzer Institute’s ( www.fetzer.org) Campaign for  Love & Forgiveness, is now accepting applications for Let’s Talk About It: Love and Forgiveness, a theme-based reading and discussion program.

Let’s Talk About It: Love and Forgiveness will follow the well-established ALA reading and discussion series format “Let’s Talk About It,” which uses classic and contemporary literature to explore stimulating and relevant themes.

Following a competitive application process, thirty public libraries will each be selected to receive a grant of $2,500 to be used to support program costs and scholar honoraria; program materials, which include introductory literature and essays on  each of the themes, selections for additional reading, and template promotional materials; and training for the library project  director at a national workshop, where they will hear from the project scholar, expert librarians, and organizers and will receive a program planning guide, materials, and ideas.

Dialogue Project Documentary    

After three years in production, the documentary based on the Dialogue Public Art Project will premier in San Francisco on March 9th at 7:30pm in San Francisco at the fun & funky Opera Plaza Theatre with other showings planned throughout the year. The DVD is also available.  In addition to the feature documentary, they’ve included nine bonus features:  deleted scenes, background interviews, World Cafe short movie and more.

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2008 Americans for the Arts Convention    

American Evolution: Arts in the New Civic Life is the theme for this year’s Americans for the Arts (americansforthearts.org) annual convention in Philadelphia, June 20-22. Event information, including registration and a schedule of events can be found at the organization’s website.

Though not specifically a d&d event, it may appeal to those who appreciate the work of Americans for the Arts’ Animating Democracy Initiative (artsusa.org/animatingdemocracy), an NCDD member who we’ve worked closely with over the years.

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North Carolina Arts Agencies & Animating Democracy Launch New Initiative    

On November 12, Barbara Schaffer Bacon and Pam Korza of Animating Democracy (www.AmericansForTheArts.org/AnimatingDemocracy) offered an Arts & Civic Engagement workshop for 60 representatives of arts and community organizations in Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, NC. The day-long forum launched the Piedmont Triad Initiative for Community Arts, a two-year initiative jointly sponsored by Salem College, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the High Point Area Arts Council, and the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro. The Initiative for Community Arts aims to “create communities that consistently and effectively utilize the arts to improve the lives of their citizens.” The project has received support from the Winston-Salem Foundation. (more…)

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California Council for the Humanities Announces Guidelines for Story Fund    

Here’s a grant that aims to promote public storytelling and reflection – what a lovely idea!

The California Story Fund is an ongoing grant program of the California Council for the Humanities (www.calhum.org). The council will award competitive grants to public humanities programs that bring to light compelling stories from California’s
diverse communities and provide opportunities for collective reflection and public discussion. The Story Fund is intended to encourage Californians from many communities to share their stories, thus promoting greater understanding and appreciation of the richness and complexity of the state. The council is especially interested in projects that will engage California youth in interpreting and reflecting on their experience through humanities-based programming. Organizations serving youth are strongly encouraged to apply. (more…)

Online Resources for Dialogue    

NCDD Member Juli Fellows wrote to us recently with some amazing resources to inspire our own conversations about media, technology, science and other pressing issues and concerns of the day. These video excerpts come from conferences on these issues and are available free online. The list was compiled by Denise Lalonde of Lalonde Consulting and Coaching.

1) TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. Almost 150 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted. Visit www.ted.com/index.php/speakers. (more…)

Peace Tiles Project Seeking Feedback and Collaboration    

Sandy blogged recently about the many activities that Lars Torres has organized with his Peace Tiles project (www.peacetiles.net). For World Aids Day, coming up December 1st, Lars wrote to us to ask for help and feedback on three parts of the Peace Tiles project. Lars writes:

1) Would you have a look at our AIDS discussion guide, “A Triumph of the Spirit” and provide some feedback? The aim here is to use the Peace Tiles created by children as an entry-point into discussions that illuminate various dimensions of the pandemic. The guide is available online: www.mixedmedia.us/files/peacetiles_wad2007_guide.pdf (more…)

News from Lars and the Global Peace Tiles Project    

Lars and PeaceTilesLars Torres, a longtime NCDDer who recently switched from being a Researcher for AmericaSpeaks to independently running his own arts-based dialogue organization called the Global Peace Tiles Project (I know – takes some guts!), just added an update to Peace Tiles’ facebook group. I’m so happy for him; he’s accomplished so much already – that I thought I’d share the announcement on the NCDD blog…


International Day for Sharing Life Stories Set for May 2008    

The Center for Digital Storytelling is joining with the Museum of the Person International Network (Brazil, Portugal, USA and Canada) in a joint call for Listen! – International Day of Sharing Life Stories, on May 16th 2008. The day will be an opportunity for people around the world to gather in community halls, classrooms, public parks, theaters, auditoriums, as well websites, email exchanges, and virtual environments to hear each other’s stories. We want this day to be especially dedicated to celebrating and promoting Life Story projects that have made a difference within neighborhoods, communities, and societies as a whole.

Possible events include:

  • Story Circles in people’s homes, at workplaces, schools, community centers, virtual environments
  • Public open microphone performances of stories
  • Exhibitions of Stories in public venues, as image, text, and audio-visual materials
  • Celebratory events to honor local storytellers, practitioners and organizations
  • Open houses for organizations with a life story sharing component
  • Online simultaneous gatherings, postings, and story exchanges
  • Print, Radio and Television broadcast programming on life stories, and documentaries that feature oral histories and story exchanges

To facilitate this process the two organizations will act as the coordination body for compiling a worldwide calendar of events for the day, and over the entire May 16-18 weekend. Calendar listings will appear, along with a map of the participating organizations, on a special website dedicated to the day. They are looking for other organizations that are interested in participating. If you would like to endorse this proposal, send a note with your name and contact info to [email protected].

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