There are just a few days left to vote on the submissions for the MacArthur Foundation’s Looking@Democracy competition. $100,000 in prizes are available for short, provocative media pieces that either tell a story about why government is important to our lives or tell how we might together strengthen American democracy. Almost 400 entries have been submitted. I certainly have not viewed them all, but I did look at quite a few. I found myself drawn to the videos that explore how different types of people can come together and find common ground, as well as a few very well made videos from organizations that I respect. Here are 7 submissions that you may want to take a look at while voting is still open (until May 16):
- Reinventing Democracy Through Participatory Budgeting: A brief video that explores how participatory budgeting has empowered people in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere. Participatory Budgeting is an innovative process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It gives ordinary people real power over real money, letting them work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives.
- The Chamomile Tea Party: The Chamomile Tea Party was formed in 2010 by designer Jeff Gates to work towards a more effective dialogue about the future of America. To this end, graphic designer Jeff Gates has been remixing World War II propaganda posters with new text about the rancor so prevalent in American political and cultural discourse.
- Bring It to the Table: “Bring It to The Table” encourages Americans to stop blaming the ‘other side,’ examine their own assumptions, and take responsibility for strengthening our democracy. This project is an online platform, series of short videos, and community engagement campaign aimed at bridging political divides and breaking down partisanship. It is meant to spark a movement of citizens leading the charge for civil discourse.
- Purple Couples on Red/Blue Union: Meet five red/blue couples whose plight mirrors America’s: divided by politics, wedded to a shared future. But unlike red/blue politicians, purple couples realize they can’t wriggle out of this bind. When they square off, sparks fly. They stick by their guns (sometimes literally), but they move forward, together. The videos are a project of PurpleStates.tv.
- Living Room Conversations: A video showing how the founder of MoveOn can cometogether in conversation with the founder of the Tea Party Patiots. A project of LivingRoomConversations.
- Civic Hacking in Pursuit of Democracy: This video from the Sunlight Foundation tells the story of a nascent community of civic hackers who are building apps and tools that benefit their communities and changing the face of democracy using open government data.
Kudos to the MacArthur Foundation for attracting some interesting and compelling art about our democracy.