Imagine if, for a moment, there was a US bureau that catered specifically to instigating imaginative and creative thinking — maybe even federally funded arts initiatives. That is the premise behind the United States Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC). Although not a formally realized department (yet), this people-powered national NGO (non-governmental organization) aims to spark “creativity in the service of empathy, equity, and social imagination” through enlisting people from around the country to become Citizen Artists and Emissaries of the Future.

When Chapman University’s Coalition of Artistic Students in Theatre (CAST) heard about this amazing organization, we decided to participate in their most recent National Action named #DareToImagine. CAST is a student organization comprised of theatre majors with a shared passion for the marriage of activism and performance.

Between October 10 and October 18, groups and individuals around the country will join the #DareToImagine campaign by creating Imagination Stations, asking their community to creatively imagine what their world would look like in 20 years based on certain issues. Will homelessness still be a significant problem? Will world hunger be eradicated? Will college become even more unbearably expensive?

By using the USDAC-coined term “radical imagination,” we hope to inspire our on-campus community to imagine a better and more sustainable future as a first step in these visions coming to fruition. These efforts will be documented by CAST through film and on the app CTZN (available on the App Store and Google Play, as well as online through Chrome and Safari), where people across the country can tune in for real-time updates. In addition, the USDAC will be compiling all of the information from the national effort into a formal report on how young people wish to see the future.

Sticky notes stuck to a sign asking, "What inspires you?"
CAST will be participating with an Imagination Station at Chapman on Saturday, October 17th from 1-3pm at the dorms. This day will be all about getting our hands dirty, literally. We invite the on-campus residents and staff to create their own futures through painting paper murals that will be displayed on the fences.

CAST’s goal is to empower our community in the knowledge that they have the power to make the future.
Skeptical about attending our event? Let us throw some hard science into the air. The American Journal of Public Health’s 2010 study,
The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health,
 found that visual art activities “reduced stress and anxiety” and “improved well-being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones.” So break up your monotonous on-campus routine and practice some radical imagination—it may keep the doctor away.

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