Toolkit Cohort Announced!

New toolkits are coming! We’re excited to announce a new round of artists and organizations selected from our open call for toolkits, and we’ll be working with these artists over the summer to create new resources for you. Selected projects focus on practical community engagement through art and with artists, including flash theater, writer’s workshops, community story telling, programming youth arts activities, and political activation for artists. Thanks to everyone who submitted their projects, and the Toolkit Toolkit is there for you if you want to create your own toolkit!

Lightning Rod at Patrick’s Cabaret, photo: Ari Newman

Lightning Rod, Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis, MN
Lightning Rod is a flexible framework for creating “flash theater,” an action of community involvement and political action, and an exercise in the most basic qualities of collaborative performance-making. A time- and resource-limited invitation for artists of all backgrounds and skill levels to embrace constraints as opportunities for creativity, in its original format, Minneapolis-based performance art incubator Patrick’s Cabaret invited six teams of participants spend just six days making and then performing devised (collaboratively created) work that responds to the immediacy of that week, generating performance from the prompt: “What needs to be said this week?” Drawing from curated prompts related to current events, and what’s on the hearts and minds of artists in our community, this unique collaborative process is a lightning rod to capture the electricity in the air.

Write Denver, supplied photo

Write Denver, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Denver, CO
Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Write Denver program uses community activities and workshops to get people of all ages and backgrounds writing. The resulting short stories, personal essays, and poems are then turned into literary-visual art—think: haikus on parking signs and poetry wall murals—and placed around the city for others to experience and enjoy. With our toolkit, we’re helping other organizations create their own community writing programs, encouraging imagination and elevating voices that aren’t always heard.

Handbarrow community storytelling, supplied photo

Community Story Toolkit, Handbarrow, Whitesburg, KY
Do you want to increase participation by incorporating the expertise, creativity, and stories of your community? Do you want to conduct community playwriting, photography, or media workshops? Do you want to uplift the voices of people who are affected by an issue that your community is facing? The Community Story Toolkit will present a variety of straightforward and creative techniques that can be used regardless of experience or access to media tools. Its modules are grounded in the storytelling and cultural organizing traditions from Central Appalachia, the Civil Rights Movement, and Second-Wave Feminism.

Painting workshop at Growing Up in the Arts, supplied photo

Growing up in the Arts Workshops, Springfield Regional Arts Council, Springfield MO
Growing up in the Arts Workshops bring a variety of artists together and provide the children who participate hands-on experience with multiple disciplines of fine arts. The workshops give the participants opportunities to produce art, perform in, and see live performances. Each art organization or artist collaborator leads one week on their expertise. The Springfield Regional Arts Council will provide documents that we utilize for administration of this project: scheduling, letters of intent, planning documents and evaluation methods. We will share models of the workshop weeks that we have found to be effective and enjoyable.

Murals in action, supplied photo

Political Activation for Artists, Rhymesayers/Click, Minneapolis, MN
More people-especially women-are considering running for office than ever. We need a more diverse body of representation, and artists bring something unique to the table in terms of values, experience and vision. The toolkit won’t just focus on running for office, but it will talk about political engagement for artists from the ground up. It will also help shift the narrative from “Artists are nice accessories for community engagement” to “Artists are dynamic leaders who can drive the work of social change from outside AND inside systems of power.”