The U.S. Department of Arts & Culture – #PSOTU2016


“The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) is the nation’s newest people-powered department, founded on the truth that art and culture are our most powerful and under-tapped resources for social change. Radically inclusive, useful and sustainable, and vibrantly playful, the USDAC aims to spark a grassroots, creative change movement, engaging millions in performing and creating a world rooted in empathy, equity, and social imagination.

What we do:

The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture is an action network of artists and cultural workers mobilizing creativity in the service of social justice. Locally, we support creative individuals in leading arts-infused civic dialogues and change making initiatives by connecting them to a broader network of people, training, and resources. Nationally, we amplify impact through large-scale actions and calls for creative response, building momentum for positive social change and democratic cultural policy. We harness artists’ skills to address the issues of our day, while also nourishing the artist in all of us.


In this era of broken systems—from healthcare to energy to education to the way our entire economy is structured—citizens must be empowered to imagine and enact positive alternatives. To cultivate effective co-creators of new systems based in equality, non-discrimination, and sustainability, we must provide universal access to empowering creative experiences that build empathy and social imagination.

Active creative participation is a gateway to ongoing civic engagement and the capacity to collaborate is a key element of any resilient community. But for too long, we’ve believed that everything that counts can be counted, ignoring the vital role that arts and culture play in advancing equity, innovation, and democracy. Everything that is created must first be imagined, yet we’ve failed to fully invite and support people in every community to step up as artists and agents of change.” – USCAC 

I had the pleasure of attending the “People’s State of the Union Poetic Address – Collaboratively composed by poets and inspired by People’s State of the Union stories submitted nationwide.”, at the Painted Bride Art Center here in Philadelphia (Poetic Address & video unfortunately the stream is no longer available, If I can find the video online I’ll post it).

“The Poetic Address will open with the “Poetic Preamble” featuring local youth laureates and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. Poets Cathy Linh Che, LaTasha Natasha Diggs, Denice Frohman, Ross Gay, Bob Holman, Margaret Randall, Luis Rodriguez, and Tanaya Winder were commissioned to write sonnets on the state of our union for the body of the Address as were local luminaries Frank Sherlock, Trapeta Mayson, Jena Osman, and Bethlehem and Sad Patrick who will perform new work based on stories from the People’s State of the Union story portal.”

This event was a personification of power and unity amongst the young, old, male, female and disenfranchised.

The “Poetic Preamble” set a powerful tone, if you weren’t sure what you were about to hear, you definitely got the idea fast, quick and in a hurry.

I enjoyed the camaraderie as I sat in the audience, we snapped our fingers in agreement with the powerful and soul stirring words that resonated through our minds and body. Poetry, songs, and stories unifying our struggles and empowering us at the same time.

I wish I could have done more to ensure more people could take part in this amazing event in person or via the live stream.

Please take a moment out of your day and either read or watch the Poetic Address, you won’t be disappointed.









5 thoughts on “The U.S. Department of Arts & Culture – #PSOTU2016

      1. I believe so, but probably not until next year. But I’m sure there will be other poetry related events that take place throughout the rest of the year.

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