LIFE is LIVING establishes a new model for partnerships between diverse and under-resourced communities, green action agencies, and the contemporary arts world.
Since 2008, Life is Living has grown from a festival that uses art to foster environmental justice to a mobilized campaign much larger in scope. Currently led by the Life is Living Cohort, Co-Founders Hodari B. Davis, Chinaka Hodge, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Producing Director Joan Osato, Life is Living serves as an incubator for a multigenerational community of local and national artists including Brett Cook, Theaster Gates, Estria Miyashiro, and a host of others.
Each year the festival brings together over 7,000 people to West Oakland’s historic Little Bobby Hutton Park. The festival has included a traveling environmental caucus & concert, an invitational Graffiti Battle, live action sports, sustainable materials construction projects, live poetry events, free breakfast program, science and technology fair, multiple stages, and a variety of other activites. As we reflect the voices of an emerging cultural majority, we recognize that our arts practices must echo and sustain the lives of the communities we engage.
Under the direction of former National Program Director Hodari Davis, Life Is Living has been an important experiment. It has tested new ideas about engaging youth, presenting public art, fostering literacy and storytelling, developing arts audiences, establishing non-traditional partnerships, transforming the environmental justice movement, and catalyzing community-building.
Authored by Jeff Chang, Living Theory of Change explains the artistic process, philosophical frameworks & organizing principles that have guided Life Is Living’s approach to eco-empowerment through the Arts. With a historical look at the events, the partnerships and audiences that stemmed from this process, the document will articulate a new theory of change; one grounded in celebrating Life through urban performance, intergenerational health, and environmental action.
The living document will also establish explicitly the value that grows in the intersection between cultural and environmental philanthropy.