Thought-Starters

Integrate Art Action Day into the ways you’re already engaging with audiences on January 20.

Share from the stage that January 20 is Art Action Day and that Art is Essential to Democracy. Sing a protest song or share a sentence or two from incredible works by James Baldwin, Cathy Linh Che, Claudia Rankine, Howard Zinn, etc. (we provide excerpts below) or talk about the importance of keeping cultural borders open.

Share/Tweet/Post (sample text below)—You can find assets here.

Art Is Essential To Democracy.

Sing. Scream. Dance. Laugh.

Celebrate #ArtActionDay—Jan 20—and let’s show the world

#ArtUnitesUs

#CultureKeepsBordersOpen

Postcard Activation

Create art on a postcard that depicts an issue you care about, and send it to your senator/representative. Share it on social, and encourage your audiences to do the same. Ideally, you would share some of your favorites on your social feed.

Art Action Day Events: attend, participate in, or host one.

The running list of planned events will be posted mid-December on wearethefederation.org.

You can play a set, perform a monologue, speak, etc.

Contribute a shareable artwork (a song, poem, visual art piece, etc.) that The Federation can distribute through its social channels.

To discuss further, please contact artaction@wearethefederation.org.

Event Assets

Additional suggestions for what you and your organization can do:
  1. New programming that showcases artists from vulnerable communities—of which there are many in the new reality, i.e., immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans, LGBTQAI, women, etc.
  2. Existing programming that allows for an Art Action Day Statement (before or at the end of the show, in the program, etc.)
  3. Project “ART IS ESSENTIAL TO DEMOCRACY” and/or iconic texts on art and democracy on the exterior/interior of your space.
Specific citations and quotes that can be used in social media posts:

Below are some suggestions that could be excerpted for site-specific public projection. They have been selected for wide representation and in response to ideas of democracy, civic dialogue, and open cultural borders. These could be accompanied by live readings of the texts themselves, or work in response.

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists
  • Wajahat Ali, My Resistance Movement
  • Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
  • James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
  • Cathy Linh Che, Dear America
  • Lucille Clifton, won’t you celebrate with me
  • Joy Harjo, An American Sunrise
  • Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues
  • Maurice Kenny, I Am the Sun
  • Claudia Rankine, The Health of Us
  • David Wojnarowicz, Postcards from America
  • Ofelia Zepeda, Carrying Our Words
  • Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States

Below are some suggested quotes that could be posted:

  • “America, you ask for our light.
 We give it to ourselves, our loves, 
our kerosene hearts lamp-lit 
for the children to come.”
    —Cathy Linh Che
  • “Come celebrate
 with me that every day
 something has tried to kill me and has failed.”
    —Lucille Clifton
  • “I’m not saying we’ll live to see some sort of paradise. But just fighting for change makes you stronger.”
    —Leslie Feinberg
  • “Across the aisle was the manifestation of not a red state
 not a blue state but these united states we thought
 we could be sure of ourselves in this one way sure
 of our human element our basic decency…”
    —Claudia Rankine
  • “What is the point of culture? Culture functions ultimately to ensure the preservation and continuity of a people.”
    —Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Make Noise during a Moment of Sound

Instead of a unifying visual, we encourage a unifying sound, specifically a MOMENT OF SOUND wherever you are, ideally at 3 pm EST. Film and photograph your action and post it using the hashtags #ArtActionDay, #ArtUnitesUs, #TheFederation, #CultureKeepsBordersOpen, and #FedUp. Email your footage to artaction@wearethefederation.org so we can upload it to our social media pages.

Host a Storycorps Room

Please join the Federation StoryCorps community and upload your conversations about art and democracy.

After you set up an account and join the community from a computer, you can download the StoryCorps App and use it on your mobile device. The Federation community will automatically be included for you in the app.

StoryCorps fosters empathy and understanding through one-on-one conversations. Through the app or in a recording station, people engage with each other on a deeper level than they might otherwise in daily life.

For Art Action Day on January 20, 2018, we encourage you to have a conversation with someone from your family or circle of friends or someone outside your immediate group. Perhaps the person could be someone you know from a vulnerable community.

Begin your conversation using the following sentence: “My name is (person 1) and I am with (person 2) in (city/town/state). We are participating in Art Action Day because we believe that Art Unites Us.”

Suggested conversation-starters:
  • What would life be like without art?
  • What’s the earliest encounter with art you can remember?
  • Who have been the unsung artists in your own life—in your neighborhood, family, or community of friends?
  • What’s been an artwork, song, or piece of writing that made you feel recognized?
  • Who’s an artist that you feel is waiting to be discovered?
  • Why is art essential to democracy?

When you have finished your recording, upload it and add it to the StoryCorps Art Action Day community.

Have A Sing-along

Singalongs can happen anywhere, a home, school, community center, theater, or place of worship. Music uplifts and enlightens. Manifest its power on Art Action Day. Below is a suggested playlist. What songs would you add? Please send your ideas to artaction@wearethefederation.org.

ART ACTION DAY PLAYLIST (Curated by Laurie Anderson, Co-Founder of 
The Federation)

Dirty Boulevard —Lou Reed
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down —Joan Baez
Stop Children What’s That Sound —Buffalo Springfield
Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key —Billy Bragg
Down To The River To Pray —Alison Krauss
I Bid You Goodnight —Soweto Gospel Choir
River —Joni Mitchell
Busload of Faith —Lou Reed

Stage a Bridge-ruption

As a way to celebrate the power of creativity and art in all of its glorious manifestations, we call on artists and their communities to come together on local bridges to sing pop songs, raps and arias, to play all kinds of music, to chant, read poetry and perform live theater – in myriad languages. To dance, to procession, to twirl, to acrobat, to march. To fill the air with brass bands, protest songs, choreography, giant puppets, broadway musical melodies, moveable feasts, outrageous costumes—the joy of people connecting.

OURS BRIDGES WILL BE OUR STAGES. Bridges are connectors, and they exist in every geographic landscape across America. As we travel highways, business thoroughfares, country roads and hiking trails, we come upon a bridge. Many of us commute across them daily, amidst massive urban centers, through smaller towns and villages. We delight in their discovery when hidden in rural hamlets and boasting bucolic vistas. Bridges journey over mighty rivers, gorges, ravines, ocean inlets, dry arroyos, and thirsty creek beds. They are everywhere. Bridges bond us.

Bridges are the opposite of walls.