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October 2012

Greetings from the Arts & Democracy Project! 

On September 20th, the Arts & Democracy Project hosted 

This is What Democracy Looks Like, a national conference call highlighting great work happening in the fields of civic participation and arts and culture. The call was about elections - but even more so about the ongoing work that is happening to strengthen democracy in our everyday lives. 


This e-newsletter extends the conversation with opportunities to get involved in nonpartisan efforts and a list of key resources. It includes information about innovative organizations and programs that protect voting rights and ensure access for those who have been historically disconnected from decision making opportunities. It also offers examples of artists and media makers who are using their activities to increase inclusion and participation. 


We hope that you find this information to be useful.


State Voices logo State Voices is a national network, built from the states up, that helps grassroots organizations win shared policy and civic engagement victories and build long-term power. Over 600 diverse and talented organizations come together in 17 state networks to work for change. Their state networks have been an important part of unprecedented policy and civic engagement victories in the past four years.   

The League of Young Voters has a multifaceted approach to grassroots organizing. Through cultural organizing and social media outreach, they are able to reach young people online and on the streets. For this election cycle, the League has launched #Ignite 2012, a series of live streamed election-based panels with hip hop influencers from the East to West coast.


dream defenders Dream Defenders was founded on the idea that students and young people must come together to build a true movement of the people. They are dedicated to defending the dream etched in our memories by Dr. Martin Luther King: that we are all created equal and possess equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Check out the Dream Defenders YouTube series of responses to the debates: http://www.youtube.com/thedreamdefenders  


southwest workers union Southwest Workers Union (SWU) is an organization of low-income workers and families, community residents and youth, united in one  organizational struggle for worker  rights, environmental justice and  community empowerment. SWU is  currently focusing on voter engagement, targeting low turn out and first time voters by linking the importance of voting with local cultural activities.

  main street projectMain Street Project envisions communities where everyone has the opportunity to participate fully and equally - regardless of culture, place, economic or immigration status. They work to increase access to resources, share knowledge and build power to transform systems that perpetuate inequities. That's why they worked with community partners to produce multi-lingual "Community Voter Guides (see below). 



community voter guides

Main Street Project 2012 Community Voter Guide is an easy-to-understand guide to the 2012 elections. Printed in Spanish, Somali, Hmong, and English - all in one booklet for easy distribution, this guide is FREE to community groups and gathering places/ community hubs. Order your guides here  


nppNational Priorities Project Election 2012 Voter Guide offers a suite of materials to help you cut through political rhetoric and get clear, unbiased information about what's at stake in 2012.  The Voter Guide includes the top six questions to ask candidates, plus one-page fact sheets on this year's most pressing issues - from health care and education to taxes and federal spending. A side-by-side comparison of President Obama and Governor Romney includes job creation, tax loopholes, and Medicare.
rock the naturalized Rock the (Naturalized) Vote is an interactive, online mapping tool and report that documents the percentage of recently naturalized immigrants in the voting-age citizen population in the U.S. This user-friendly tool is designed to illustrate the potential importance of this vote  and help target resources for more effective registration and mobilization efforts.


air traffic control Air Traffic Control (ATC) exists to help musicians play an effective, unique and vital role in the promotion of social justice. Civic participation and voter engagement is an important part of what ATC does - providing artists with election-related tools, resources, and training so that they can effectively engage their fans in elections.  


L.O.V.E. Let One Voice Emerge: The Music VideoL.O.V.E - Let One Voice Emerge is an original song, music video and non-partisan voter engagement campaign that urges unmarried women and other historically under-represented groups to register, vote and make their voices heard in November. 


HeadCount is a nonpartisan organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy. They stage voter registration drives at concerts and run programs that translate the power of music into action. Get their schedule here.


Voto Latino is a non-partisan organization whose civic engagement campaigns have reached an estimated 55 million Latino households nationwide. Voto Latino has used celebrity voices and the latest technology to register more than 120,000 young Latino voters, galvanize Latino youth and their families to be counted in the 2010 Census, and mobilize them to speak out and take action on policies impacting their lives.
election protection
Election Protection Coalition is a nonpartisan coalition working to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Through state of the art hotlines, website, and voter protection programs all cross the country, they provide comprehensive voter information and advice on how to make sure that your vote is counted.

demos Demos is a multi-issue national organization that combines research, policy development and advocacy to influence public debate and catalyze change. They seek to create a robust democracy in which all Americans are empowered to participate by tackling issues such as campaign finance reform, voting rights and registration, and redistricting and representation. 

Morning In America Time Lapse Charlotte
Morning in America is the third ice sculpture/installation made by Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese. The temporary monument was unveiled at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions in Tampa, FL and Charlotte, NC.  Within hours the two identical ice sculptures of the words Middle Class (dis)appeared, offering a disturbing commentary: the Middle Class and all its vestiges are melting away. 
Peoples Cook The Peoples Cook invites audiences to feed and be fed. It encourage participants to take an active role in an exchange of food, stories and recipes, reconnecting culture and art. Join the Mero Cocinero for 28 days of live and online arts events in October celebrating culture, joy and the revolutionary act of eating together - all rooted in the rich tradition of Día de los Muertos. The live events happen in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MN.

fmg america by the numbers

America by the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa puts a human face on the demographic changes in the U.S. and looks at how the rising multicultural population is influencing our culture, our conversation and may impact the 2012 elections. Produced by the Futuro Media Group, America by the Numbers is being shown in cities across America. If you're interested in screening it in your neighborhood or getting a free DVD for your organization get in touch.


Shop Floor Theatre CompanyShop Floor Theatre Company aims to create original and transformative theater with and for people of all ages, experiences, and backgrounds. Their original play, State of Emergency, responds to the issues that led to the appointment of an Emergency Manager for the City of Flint in 2011. The ensemble will interview members of the local community and city and state officials to create a piece that encourages dialogue and civic engagement.  


civic lab CivicLab is a new nonprofit enterprise dedicated to building, distributing and encouraging the use of new tools for civic engagement and government accountability. CivicLab's initial projects include Apps for Activists, phone-based tools to help activists and organizers with their work, Activist Speed Networking Night, and The Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Report. CivicLab is looking for collaborators, designers, writers, coders and data hounds. For more information contact Tom Tresser.

As always, we're proud to highlight the great work in this field to support and cross-pollinate an extraordinary network of artists, cultural workers, policymakers, educators, and activists. Please be in touch, and let us know what you think!
 All our best,

amalia, Caron, Kathie, Javiera, and Michelle
Arts & Democracy Project

In This Newsletter
Civic Participation and Cultural Engagement
Creative Actions & Interventions
Conference Calls
Opprtunities and More
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Listen to Arts & Democracy Project's 

       most recent conference call:        

This Is What Democracy Looks Like!

   Southwest Workers Union  
San Antonio, Texas 
SWU is looking for paid staff and volunteers who bring campaign experience to join their nonpartisan voter outreach campaign. For more information email or call Tanya: Tanya@swunion.org 210-299-2666 

Wear a "Hoodie Vote" hoodie. 

Buy one here or make your own! The goal is one million Hoodies at the polls in every community in America. 

The Hoodie Vote project is non-partisan and open source. Anyone can print their own Hoodie Vote hoodies.

apollo hall viewing party  
Tuesday 10/16 Harlem, NY, 7:30 PM
28 days of energia
October 19-November 15, 2012 
Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN
facing race  
November 15-17, 2012
Baltimore, MD
Plenary Sessions include: 
Now What? Debriefing the Election and Talking Governance 

election protection  
If you have questions about registering, finding a polling station or reporting problems with the election system, please contact the Election Protection Hotline.
1-866-OUR-VOTE (English) 
1-888-Ve-Y-Vota (Espanol)  
brennan center for justice  
On September 25 volunteers, celebrities, and organizations from all over the country hit the streets to raise awareness of voter registration opportunities, reaching tens of thousands of voters. 
Turbo Vote  
  Vote with Friends


  Rock the Vote



The Arts & Democracy Project builds the momentum of a cultural movement that draws on a rich history of arts activism, social justice organizing, and grassroots engagement. Arts & Democracy is a sponsored project of State Voices.


Thank you to our funders, Nathan Cummings Foundation and Open Society Foundations.