“Democracy is a way of life … controlled by personal faith in personal day-by-day working together with others …. the task of democracy is forever that of creation of a freer and more humane experience in which all share and to which all contribute.” — John Dewey, Creative Democracy — The Task Before Us (1939)
We’re living in a turbulent time. Trust in our institutions and in one another is plummeting to historic lows. Fear and cynicism seem to govern our discourse. Yet when we take a closer look — when we zoom into the community level — we can find cause for great hope in the fact that large number of Americans value collaboration and cooperation with others.
Today across the United States, creative people are helping weave the social and civic fabric of our communities. Join a dynamic discussion with four artists whose creative work takes them beyond the page and the studio into the participatory, cooperative, trust-building work of civic life. Learn how these artists and others are finding new strategies for bridging divisions, fostering meaningful connections, and cultivating democratically minded communities.
Presented by Björklunden, Peninsula School of Art, and Write On, Door County. Take a deeper dive on this topic by joining Björklunden’s weeklong seminar, Democracy and the Arts, led by artist Bronwyn Mauldin, August 6-13 or explore writing poetry and memoir with our writers through Write On’s day-long intensives August 7, 8, and 9.
Staci Lola Drouillard is a descendant of the Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe. She lives and works in her hometown of Kitchibitobig–Grand Marais, on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior. Her award-winning first book was Walking the Old Road: A People’s History of Chippewa City and the Grand Marais Anishinaabe (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). Her second book, Seven Aunts, won the 2023 Minnesota Book Award for nonfiction.
Michael Kleber-Diggs is a poet, essayist, literary critic, and arts educator. His debut collection, Worldly Things (Milkweed Editions, 2021) won a variety of awards. Since 2016, he has been an instructor with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. He also teaches creative writing at Augsburg University and at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and has been supported by a number of grants.
Bronwyn Mauldin is a writer, zine maker, and researcher based in Los Angeles. Her first novel, Love Songs of the Revolution, was published by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography. Zines in her Democracy Series are available in bookstores and libraries across the US and in a time capsule. She serves as Director of Research and Evaluation at the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and is the founding editor of the Artists 4 Democracy Newsletter.