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Arlene Goldbard is a writer, speaker, social activist, and consultant who works for justice, compassion and honor in every sphere, from the interpersonal to the transnational. She is known for her provocative, independent voice and her ability to inspire and activate.
Arlene's essays have appeared in such journals as Art in America, The Independent, Theatre, High Performance and Tikkun. Her books include Crossroads: Reflections on the Politics of Culture; New Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development; Community, Culture and Globalization; and her novel Clarity.
Arlene has helped dozens of organizations to make plans and solve problems. They include nonprofits such as the Independent Television Service, the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art; foundations such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media; a score of state arts agencies; and many others.
She is President of the Board of Directors of The Shalom Center. She has served as Vice Chair of the Board of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, and Tsofah/President of Congregation Eitz Or in Seattle. She co-founded such activist groups as the San Francisco Artworkers' Coalition, the California Visual Artists Alliance, Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts and Draft Help.
SHARE Friday, October 23, 2015 Imitating Realness: Art and Authenticity
It's time to be fed up with a wildly misguided and rapidly emergent impulse in art and commerce, mounting an imitation of realness in which both art and authenticity are left lying on the studio floor. Why "canned parrot meat" is the last straw.
SHARE Monday, May 25, 2015 Imaginings Roll Out!
From Brooklyn to Chicago, from Xtigone to Black Lives Matter, people are gathering to dream out loud: what is the vibrant, sustainable, resilient future we want to inhabit? How do we get there?
SHARE Monday, May 11, 2015 Field Office Annals, Part One: Filling A Need
The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the nation's first people-powered department, is opening Field Offices. Founders of the first two, in Lawrence, KS, and Washington, DC, have a lot to say about why they are needed.
SHARE Friday, April 10, 2015 Class Suicide and Radical Empathy
So many political and spiritual leaders performed the act of class suicide, dying to the privileged class of their birth--often by taking a step with no return--and thus sacrificing privilege and power in favor of full identification with the oppressed. In telling Moses' story, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper illuminates what for is the theme of every seder, radical empathy.
SHARE Friday, April 3, 2015 Passing the (Star)bucks
Starbucks' attempt to raise the question of race and racism was flawed, to be sure. It was ridiculed on every satire show and in nearly every blog and column. The result? Mission accomplished: you won't be talking about race relations with your barista anytime soon.
But whose mission?
I think the right won on this one, even if the biggest battle was fought on the left.
SHARE Thursday, March 12, 2015 Three Words for Love: Selma, Aloha, Ahava
The Selma March Jubilee, the Japanese American activists who joined the march, and Jewish civil rights workers killed a year earlier all remind us that a society of justice and love depends on those who step forward despite danger.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 10, 2015 A Story of My Heart
Thousands of people took part in the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture's People's State of the Union civic ritual in January. What can we learn about the state of our union from the more than 500 stories they posted online?
SHARE Wednesday, February 4, 2015 TV Family Values
TV's idea of family may be bleached, starched, and pumped up on cheeroids, but sometimes it can even save a life.
SHARE Friday, January 30, 2015 Another Kind of Spiritual Practice
We may think of spiritual practice as something apart from ordinary life, but something as prosaic as facilitating a meeting can be a form of spiritual practice. Consider the People's State of the Union.
SHARE Sunday, January 11, 2015 I Just Don't Know
We persist in making predictions, even though we're terrible at it: almost always, we're just extending our beliefs into the future. The aftermath of terrorist incidents shows that we aren't much better at analysis: it merely shifts the possibility of error from future to present.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 31, 2014 The Year of Whiplash
This has been a year of whiplash, with activism at a height I haven't observed since the sixties, but also a year that requires a powerful act of will not to be dispirited by the hardening of the hearts of entrenched power. Speaking to us from 1985, James Baldwin sheds light.
SHARE Thursday, December 4, 2014 Broken Words
"Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself," wrote Abraham Joshua Heschel. In recent Grand Jury actions, we see how true that is. All of us are responsible to change it.
SHARE Wednesday, November 5, 2014 Post-Election Letter to A Friend
Last night, a friend wrote me on Facebook, "how can the dreams in your recent books come true after the midterm results?" I counseled him to avoid "grasshopper vision."
SHARE Saturday, October 25, 2014 Happy Blog-iversary (and A Half) to Me
I've been publishing my blog for ten years plus, but I've just copped to being an optimist. With my history, how is that possible? Because I'm all about change, and unless you believe it can come, what's the point? Check out my latest changemaking role, Chief Policy Wonk of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture!
SHARE Friday, October 17, 2014 Ferguson: Generations and Expectations
In Ferguson, we are seeing a moment of great beauty and meaning, in which those who desire justice and love rise to summon it forth. Some indict an older generation for failing to produce a plan, but really what is needed are guiding principles that value creativity in the service of freedom, equity, and justice.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, August 28, 2014 Call to Creative Action
The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture has issued the USDAC Call: Creativity for Justice and Equity, calling all artists and creative activists to join in the movement to demilitarize the police and bring justice to victims of publicly funded racism. Endorsers include Gloria Steinem, Peter Coyote, Makani Themba, and dozens of others.