ARTS BECAME THE OXYGEN

Developed by The US Department of Arts and Culture

Art and culture are powerful means of building empathy, creating a sense of belonging, and activating the social imagination and civic agency necessary to make real change. When we feel seen, when we know that our stories and imaginations matter, we are more likely to bring our full creative selves to the work of social change. That not only makes our work more effective, we have more fun.

Our national actions invite everyone to perform a future infused with the transformative power of arts and culture. Our local organising helps communities dream aloud and turn their dreams into reality. We connect people across regions in an ever-expanding creative learning community by sharing vital information, generating inspiring actions, and devising cultural policies and programs to catalyse a profound culture shift in the service of social and environmental justice. Together, we’re creating new narratives of our power and possibility and scaling up strategies for equity and belonging.

ART BECAME THE OXYGEN WILL FAMILIARISE READERS WITH KEY THEMES, ISSUES, AND UNDERSTANDINGS that can make the difference between work that helps and that harms. Without understanding the underlying principles and intrinsic challenges, practical information won’t mean much.

THIS GUIDE WAS CREATED WITH A BROAD READERSHIP IN MIND. We hope to engage three categories of reader who share the intention of offering care and compassion and helping to create possibility in the midst or wake of crisis:

  • Artists who wish to use their gifts for healing, whether in the immediate aftermath of a crisis or during the months and years of healing and rebuilding resilience that follow.
  • Resource-providers—both public and private grant makers and individual donors— who care about compassion and community-building.
  • Disaster agencies, first responders, and service organisations on call and on duty when an emergency occurs, and those committed to helping over time to heal the damage done.

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