Arts Fellow, Define American
Wednesday, February 17th, Los Angeles, CA – Today, Define American, in partnership with Arts in a Changing America (ArtChangeUS) launches USA Our Way, a short-form video art contest that asks artists to imagine American identity as one that encompasses all of our country’s complexities and histories. The winner will receive a prize of $1,000.
As an Arts Fellow at Define American, my mission is to help create platforms in which cultural workers – anyone working toward culture change, regardless of citizenship – have an opportunity to thrive and become part of the conversation that’s happening around the country. With the #BlackLivesMatter movement advocating for the end of police violence to immigration activists urging an end to mass deportations, our political and cultural climate is deeply polarized. Art has the power to change people’s perceptions in ways that politics and traditional media can’t. It is when we strip of ourselves of our political mindsets that we can find a common ground on the basis of our shared humanity.
The mission of this contest is to ask cultural workers to define American and explore what it means to be an artist of color working within institutions that lack diversity, or an ally in balancing those demographics. How do we envision a country in which our nationalities are not hyphenated by our otherness such as African-American, Asian-American, Mexican-American etc; but rather where all immigrants and people of color are considered “American”?
This contest seeks to begin a conversation. How can we use art to create the world we want to see? We are asking you, regardless of whether you identify as an artist, to join the conversation – or as writer Maxine Hong Kingston wrote, “In a time of destruction, create something.”
Video submissions will be reviewed by a panel of distinguished judges which include Rebecca Baron (CalArts Faculty), Benjamin Bratt (Actor), Ronnie Cho (VP of MTV Public Affairs), Cara Mertes (Director of Ford Foundation’s JustFilms) and Jose Antonio Vargas (Journalist/Filmmaker).
Join us in envisioning a world where many worlds fit.
– Yosimar Reyes