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Center for Cultural Power releases COVID-19 strategy guide for artists and activists

Arts & Culture, COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and national movement for racial justice have magnified the power of arts and culture to uplift, disrupt and build communities. Working to guide and inspire artists and activists during these unprecedented times, The Center for Cultural Power recently released “No Going Back: A COVID-19 Cultural Strategy Activation Guide for Artists and Activists.”

The Center for Cultural Power, an Arts & Culture program grantee partner, is a women-of-color, artist-led organization, inspiring artists and culture makers to imagine a world where power is distributed equitably.

The Strategy Activation Guide is an illustrated resource that offers a step-by-step tool for creative workers to develop moving narratives that advance policy demands. The authors outline frameworks that support social change movements to harness the power of artists and culture makers in painting a picture of a more equitable and just future. The guide also highlights resources for artists who have been hit hard – economically and socially – by COVID-19.

“This guide is designed to help artists make sense of the crisis in their own terms, through their own unique lens and experience, and to do what we as artists do best – create and inspire the audiences we are connected to,” says Favianna Rodriguez, co-founder and president of The Center for Cultural Power.

The guide includes:

  • The Narratives We Need: How to develop key narratives during a pandemic to move society toward a more just future.
  • Policies for Survival & System Change: Movement policy demands that would save lives and transform institutions.
  • Putting this Guide into Action: A collection of toolkits for designing creative actions and free content artists can use, including case studies to help inspire project ideas.
  • Resources for Artists: Links to a variety of resources, from financial assistance to healthcare access to mutual aid support.

In her own words, Rodriguez shares the important role of artists during dire times:

“We are in an unprecedented moment of a tectonic culture shift – a moment of extreme hardship, but also of infinite possibility. The role of the artist has never been more important. Artists are the beacons who help us see the light in times of devastation. Artists expose hard truths, inspire new ideas and make the future we want feel possible, tangible and inevitable. Artists activate the imagination, they soothe, comfort and move to action. As a global society, we are mourning the loss of family and friends, as well as the loss of our ability to sustain ourselves. We are feeling the consequences of an economic system that continues to prioritize profits over people and the planet. We face the decimation of many of our art institutions and the spaces where we gathered – theaters, comedy clubs, dance venues and cultural centers. Yet in moments of disillusion and fractures, there is also an opportunity to sow ideas for a different kind of future. We are the creators of culture. We are the makers of fairy tales and myths. Our stories and our cultural expression shape societies and policies and influence our own conceptions of ourselves and the world around us. Culture IS power.”

Download the full guide: No Going Back: A COVID-19 Cultural Strategy Activation Guide for Artists and Activists.