Programs

a stronger culture of citizenship

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The Joy of Voting

Reinvigorating a Culture of Voting


Parades, street theatre, open-air debates, and festivals – these were once part of America’s culture of voting and it’s time to revive them. With the support of the Knight Foundation, we are partnering with KMUW of Wichita, Engage MiamiThe Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at The University of Akron, and Committee of Seventy in Philadelphia to bring artists, activists, designers, and citizens together to launch initiatives in these four cities to create creative, communal experiences and rituals around local voting.

Miami Press Release

Wichita Press Release

Akron Press Release

Philadelphia Press Release

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Miami
Akron
Wichita
Philadelphia

Joy of Voting

We will select up to five projects in each pilot city to receive funding for implementation. Project proposals will be evaluated based on their ability to 1) Successfully cultivate a joyful, participatory culture of voting, 2) Show promise to be durable and scale-able, 3) Use funds effectively, 4) Present a qualified and well-rounded team, and 5) Demonstrate creativity, innovation, and joyfulness.
  • Describe briefly what the project is and what it will entail, including the proposed timeline – will this be an on-going project, or a one-off event? Will it take place on election day or in the time leading up to it?
  • Projects should be joyful, creative, participatory, and non-partisan. Describe how your project fits these requirements.
  • Who are the people or organizations creating the project, and who is the target audience?
  • What is the budget for this project (up to $3600), and how will it be used?

MIAMI

 

EARLY VOTING PARTY

Democracy YOUnited and Que Pasa Hialeah?, two projects of Engage Miami, will bring a new meaning to the term “early voting” and educate people in the process with an all-night party that ends with a party bus to the polls in the morning.

 

LOCAL VOTING COMIC BOOK

The Plantain, a Miami-based satirical newspaper will create an informative and irreverent comic strip that explains how and why to vote in local elections.

 

ELECTION SPECTACULAR

The Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy at Miami Dade College will host an on-campus art-filled party during Miami’s early voting period that celebrates the power of people and the value of engagement.

 

ARTIST-DESIGNED “I VOTED” STICKERS

Building on the street-art culture of Miami, Engage Miami will partner with local artists to design and distribute collectible “I VOTED” stickers.

 

VOTO LOCO BLOCK PARTIES

New Florida Majority Education Fund in partnership with SilentRevolution Miami and StudioUni will create multi-media festival events with activities in five different Miami neighborhoods.

AKRON

 

POLITICAL THEATRE FROM THE BACK OF A PICKUP

Wandering Aesthetics will create original short plays performed from the back of a pickup including music and an opportunity for audience at each stop to fill out original artist-designed postcards committing to vote.

 

ELECTION DAY PARTY TROLLEY RIDES

The Big Love Network will host festive rides to the polls complete with music, performances, and festive costumes along the way.

 

UNSUCCESSFUL WRESTLING

Artist Megan Young will create a motion capture installation piece where viewers will get to “wrestle” over the election in a virtual reality space.

 

STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL

The Akron Beacon Journal in collaboration with the Jefferson Center will host a film festival highlighting student perspectives on the election and voting.

 

ALL IN AKRON

Engaging to Excel with Excellence will host a community voting event at a public park with festive activities and a collective count of community participation on billboards around the city.

WICHITA

 

BALLOT BATTLE ELECTION TIME GAMES

Quickdraw Studios will create a Wichita-specifc, interactive video game. The PacMan-style game will be team based, and designed to liven up the experience of voting.

 

WSU ELECTION DAY BASH

Wichita State University Community Service Board will host an Election Day Engagement Bash, an American-themed carnival that will bring students, staff and faculty together for a day of civic engagement.

 

THE NORTH END MIXED TAPE SERIES

La Casa de la Semilla, in partnership with The NorthEnd Urban Arts Festival, ICT Army of Artists, The Peace and Social Justice Center, Kansas Health Foundation, and more, will be designing a cultural campaign featuring a playlist, high school performances, videos, and live-graffiti art.

 

INTERACTIVE BIKE VOTING DISPLAY

Bike Walk Wichita will create an interactive bike display that will travel to neighborhoods and polling sites around Wichita, offering voter education and interactive festivities.

 

“CAN YOU HEAR ME?” TAKING OUR VOICES TO TOPEKA

Arts Partners Wichita will partner with artist Sheryl Oring to bring her “I Wish To Say Project” to Wichita. Participants will dictate what they would like to say to future leaders to volunteers who will type their words on a manual typewriter and send them to the state’s new leadership.

PHILADELPHIA

 

CITIZEN’S FIRST VOTE

The Committee of Seventy and the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians are co-presenting Citizens’ First Vote, a lively celebration of the first ballot cast by naturalized citizens, featuring food, music and an opportunity to share the experience of the franchise.

 

GROUP SCAVENGER RUN

The #JoyOfVoting Group Scavenger Run, presented by Chanda Blake, will be a 3-4 mile tour of the colonial Old City neighborhood, and runners will have the chance to learn of US founding history and modern voting procedures from costumed actors, and enter a gift raffle at a post-run election party.

 

ARTIST-LED POSTER COMPETITION

Next Stop: Democracy will have a poster design contest in September, with winners being selected by online voting in early October. The posters will say “Vote Here/Vote Aqui” and there will be three winning designs, and the City will include them in the Election Boxes distributed to each polling place.

 

COMMON GROUND ART SPECTACLE

Meg Salaigman’s Our Common Ground is an unexpected artistic intervention starting at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, and then continuing across the country. It is a non-partisan, participatory art installation using vivid color, sculpture, and light to reserve a peaceful and resplendent space for dialogue and reflection.
PATRIOTIC PUNK ROCK SATIRE SPECTACULAR

The Hopefuls, with promotional assistance from Young Involved Philadelphia, will be holding free performances of a “Patriotic Punk Rock Satirical Spectacular,” presented in an election-themed scenic installation.

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Citizen University TV

Lessons in Civic Power

In partnership with the Seattle Channel, Citizen University TV offers an up-close look at lessons in civic power and engagement. Host Eric Liu delivers short lessons on the values, knowledge and skills of effective citizenship. The show features case studies and local examples of civic leadership in action and highlights the individuals and organizations who are effecting change in their communities.

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CUTV1W Eric

Civic Power

a curriculum for all of us

What is power? How is it exercised in civic life? Who has it and why? Such questions go to the heart of self-government — but most people are fundamentally illiterate in power. That’s why we’re creating accessible learning materials on civic power. Here are some of our early products: the first of a series of animated TED-Ed videos on the sources of civic power; and a self-paced online course developed with the Aspen Institute and iTunesU on the crisis of citizenship in America today.

TED-Ed videos
TED Talk on Power
iTunesU
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Civic Collaboratory

a national network of leaders

The Civic Collaboratory is a national network of catalytic leaders, from across the political spectrum and many domains – immigrant rights, veterans advocacy, civics education, voting reform, tech in government, arts and culture, worker organizing, corporate citizenship, and more. We meet quarterly and provide a common platform and project incubator for this diverse community of civic innovators.

 

Civic Collaboratory, Seattle, March 2015

Partnered Productions

Special Projects

We work with great partners to design and build learning sessions that promote the art of powerful citizenship. We’re running a civic leadership program for Yale College undergraduates and we’ve developed a new civic leadership course for Arizona State University. We’ve partnered with the Kennedy Center and the Aspen Institute Arts Program for the Kennedy Center Arts Summit, and we are a long-time partner with New York’s 92 Street Y on projects like the Ben Franklin Circles, monthly gatherings of friends who meet as Franklin once did to intentionally cultivate civic virtues.

Past projects include a White House Forum on Citizen Problem-Solving; convenings in Hollywood with the Creative Artists Agency and UCLA on embedding civic storylines into television shows; and a national speaker series on reimagining worker organizing with SEIU. We’ve worked with the Downtown Project in Las Vegas to host a Catalyst Week of citizenship-themed events, and with Meetup to launch #MeetupMonday, a national series of neighbor-to-neighbor conversations on race and rebuilding community. In collaboration with Tufts’ Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, we authored a report on America’s Civic Renewal Moment. And there’s more!

 

Sworn-Again America

Renew your civic vows

We wanted to get folks talking about what it means to be an American —and how to live like a citizen. So we created a simple and fun ceremony, like the one immigrants go through when they become U.S. citizens, in which all of us get to renew our vows to America. Thousands of people across the country, through partners like Points of Light, the National Constitution Center, and OneAmerica, have taken the oath to become Sworn-Again Americans— and you can too!

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Sworn-Again America photo