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. 

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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 

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Click here to see photos from some of our many projects!