“Today, we risk reducing our definition of citizenship to an annual or occasional vote rather than an ongoing, deeply held way of being as a people,” rites Deborah Cullinan in Wednesday’s (3/22) Stanford Social Innovation Review. “In fact, citizenship—including the exercise of voting—is informed and fortified by our participation in public life and our contributions to the public imagination.… To do this, arts and culture organizations must understand themselves not as arbiters of taste, but as creative homes for the people. They must be places driven by artists, culture bearers, philosophers, and activists. They must be platforms for cultivating public imagination; building thick and diverse networks; convening across differences and sectors; and incubating breakthrough ideas that stick, because they spring from communities that come together to embrace truth, honor diversity, and poetically pursue freedom.… Great and abiding societal movements are the result of cultural shift—a progression of shared values, beliefs, and convictions that successfully and forever change hearts and minds.… The raw material of our democracy is individual creativity and collective imagination. At a time of immense atomization, we need to shift the culture of our nation back and toward its basic ideals—and our cultural institutions must lead the way.”

Posted March 24, 2017