I call myself a “Creativity Champion” because I’ve been an advocate for the arts and creativity in America since 1990. Download my “Manifesto on Civic Creativity” (2 pages).
Here’s a longer piece I wrote for the University of Oregon’s Institute for Community Arts Studies journal, CultureWork, in 2004, “A Call To Action for 2004 (and Beyond)“. Sadly, none of those ideas caught fire.
I had been a Shakespearean actor and theater producer since 1980. But as the National Endowment for the Arts came under attack in what came be to known as “Culture Wars,” I left my lucrative (smile) job in arts administration in 1990 to become an organizer in the cultural community. Some of the work I have done in this arena:
- Research models of arts empowerment in six cities (1990)
- Attempted to create a center for cultural policy at Roosevelt University (1991)
- Developed and taught classes on arts and public policy (1992)
- Organized and led Greater Chicago Citizens for the Arts, a PAC that endorsed and helped elect candidates who supported the arts and freedom of expression (1991-1993). Download a PDF that describes the work of GCCA.
- Organized a community arts program that blended culture, education and micro-enterprise for Peoples Housing (1993-1995). Read about this program grew to serve 12,000 neighbors annually.
- Led the transformation of Douglass Park, a major regional facility on the near West Side of Chicago, into a community cultural center (1996-1997). Read how we launched over a dozen community-facing arts, gardening and community building programs.
- Organized the Creative America Project to inspire and prepare artists and creative professionals to lead in public life, including running for local office (2004-2007). I did training sessions and workshops in seven states. Download this PDF to get a sense of what this effort was all about. Download this PDF to see the training we offered and what inspired participants said.
- Self published a slim (50 pages) book, America Needs You!”, that lays out the arguments for creativity being a national value and priority and that artists and creative professionals would make excellent and desperately needed leaders in the public sector. Download the text for free here.