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’re partnering with artists, activists, designers, and citizens in cities around the country to launch initiatives to create creative, communal experiences and rituals around local voting. 

Click “Current Projects” below to learn about the projects happening this month in St. Paul, Wichita, and Miami!

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Current Projects

Joy of Voting 2017

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, 5) Focus on local elections, and 6) 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?

 

Deriving its vision from an article in The Atlantic written by Eric Liu, Citizen University will launch initiatives in seven cities where Knight invests to generate creative celebrations and joyful public rituals that encourage people to vote.

Citizen University piloted the program in four cities for the November 2016 general election. Projects included independent art exhibits, block parties, community-based theater, interactive apps, and other citizen-generated activities centered around engaging peers.

This year, the projects will move out of the federal domain to focus on local elections taking place in each city. In Miami, St. Paul, and Wichita, we will partner with local stakeholders to develop initiatives centered on municipal elections taking place on November 7, 2017. Joy of Voting will continue in 2018 when it moves to four other cities around the country hosting local and midterm elections. These experiments will serve as models of what a vibrant, participatory culture of voting could look like. Follow this project, and share your own ideas via Twitter using the hashtag #JoyOfVoting.

Learn more about last year’s projects 

 

Check out photos from our 2017 projects here.

Check out photos from our 2016 projects here.

 

 

 

 

 

These teams are bringing an active, joyful, participatory culture back to voting! Check back for more details.

 

St. Paul

 

Improv Comedy Mayoral Forum

The Theater of Public Policy 

Join the Theater of Public Policy for a night of laughter and levity as the leading mayoral candidates answer questions and have their answers brought to life through unscripted improv comedy! The team will host “A St. Paul Mayoral Forum for the Rest of Us” on November 3rd at the North Garden Theater. Info here!

 

Wag the Vote

Arty Bark Park 

Politics gone to the Dogs? Unleash democracy with Wag the Vote, a canine convergence to get out the vote to dog lovers all over St. Paul! Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to stay up-to-date with all their latest barks, and check out their website for the full story!

 

I Vote Because . . .

Concordia University St. Paul 

Using conversation and photography, CSP College Students want to inspire their community to vote. Look for CSP students at light rail transit stations to share why YOU vote on a custom banner that says “I vote because  ____________.”

 

Street Puppet Theater

Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop 

Look out for Monkeybear’s Harmolodic Workshop on the streets of St. Paul while they spread the word through unique performances by their hand-crafted puppets! You find at the West Side Dia de los Muertos Celebration 2017 and other locations around town!

 

Miami

 

Get Out the Vote Parties

New Florida Majority Education Fund

The New Florida Majority will host GOTV parties during the early voting period (October 28 – Novemver 5) in West Coconut Grove, Little Havana, Allapattah, Liberty City, and Little Haiti. Stop by to cast your vote and enjoy a lively gathering with BBQ, live music, media coverage, and educational handouts. Dates, times, locations, and info here!

 

Inside Joke

Comic Cure 

Inside Joke with Host Billy Corben is a monthly late-night style entertainment show that humorously highlights important local issues and community change-makers in Miami. Filmed in font of a live audience, the show features interviews with local politicians and civic activists, with performances by local artists. Comic Cure hosted their hilarious premier episode on November 17th! You can see photos from the event on their Facebook page.

 

Fall Harvest Party to the Polls

Engage Miami 

Hay rides and apple cider in Miami?!? That’s right!  Engage Miami’s fall harvest-themed party will feature live music, food, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, bobbing for apples, and mock elections for best costumes, best pumpkin carving, and more! Join them November 4th in Kennedy Park for a celebration of fall before heading to early vote. Event details here.

 

305 Yard Sign Project

Miami Dade College  

So over divisive political yard signs? The 305 Yard Sign Project will use art to promote positive, values-driven civic engagement using colorful, personlized yard signs designed by local artists and students.

 

Your Ballot, Explained

The Plantain 

The Plantain, Miami’s satire news source, is making a comedy news video focused on voting rights restoration for ex-felons, an initiative on this fall’s ballot. Keep a look out for the video to be released later this month!

 

Wichita

 

PopUp Celebration Station

League of Creative Interventionists  

Ever dreamed of winning an election with a crowd cheering you on? With the pop-up Voting Celebration Station, you get to experience the joy of “winning the vote” on stage, with a crowd cheering your name and a microphone for you to share your own victory speech. Find the Pop Up Station at McAdams Neighborhood Freedom Fair on November 4th!

 

Canine Candidates

Sara Dixon & Stephanie Huff   

Canine Candidates tackle issues ICT dogs face: from the new dog park to pesky squirrels. Vote on the pup with the passion to improve this city! Get the low-down on all the candidates and where you can find them here!

 

Breaking the Ballot

First Gen Woes 

Add your narrative to this community conversation! First Gen Woes will host a spoken word contest for high school students at Mead’s Corner coffee shop downtown. Register here!

 

Sizzle and Soapbox

Episcopal Social Services 

Let your voice be heard with a sizzle at the soapbox series this fall! ESS invites neighbors, activists, and public officials to get join their Soap Box series and share their thoughts around this year’s local elections. They will also host a voter registration poster contest to put the sizzle back into voting.

 

VoteICT

KMUW 89.1 FM  

KMUW will work with local artists to create a series of ‘VoteICT’ wearable stickers. Get yours at a polling place or another Joy of Voting event, and show your local pride around this year’s municipal elections by sporting your unique ICT-specific sticker. Learn more.