Frequently Asked Questions

What is Citizen Joy?

Citizen Joy is a celebration of democracy focused on gratitude, agency and harmony.

Citizen Joy is a national coalition of artists, arts organizations, and educators from all disciplines using art to cut through the doom and gloom about politics, explore what we have (and could lose) as citizens, and energize people to do what they can to protect our democratic rights and freedoms. (Voting is one good option.)

What is Citizen Joy Doing?

Along with a growing virtual presence, there will be live performances and exhibitions as well as school-based and community workshops around the country. Beginning on July 27th, 2024, partners will explore, perform, and present their versions of Citizen Joy, asking and answering these questions:


Gratitude: What does your government do that brings you joy?
Agency: What choices are you able to make that are dear to your heart?
Harmony: When do you feel in harmony with your fellow citizens?

When does Citizen Joy launch?

Inspired by the Federal Theater Project’s efforts in 1936 – when the anti-fascist play, It Can’t Happen Here” was simultaneously staged in 21 cities – Citizen Joy will activate more than 40 partners from coast to coast who will present their interpretations of Citizen Joy on a single day and then continue to offer inspiration, information, and community – tapping the arts to build community bonds and nurture all creative expression that celebrates democracy.

What is important about July 27th?

We are inspired to launch all of our work on a single day, along with our colleagues at Arts for Everybody, because in 1936, Federal Theater Project companies in 21 cities and towns opened their interpretations of the anti-fascist play “It Can’t Happen Here” all on the same day. By the time these productions closed, more than 379,000 Americans had seen the play.

What happens after July?

After the July 27th Celebration Day, Citizen Joy will begin phase two: “Making Democracy Work for Us” – which will use these same three questions in community, family and schools programs as well as get out the vote efforts. Following the launch on July 27, Citizen Joy partners will continue with their efforts and continue posting online about it #citizenjoy.  


We hope the work of active Citizen Joy partners will continue to spark the creativity of others to make and share their own art based on the Citizen Joy themes and questions, related to Gratitude, Agency, and Harmony #citizenjoy. 


We also hope to inspire a growing number of citizens to vote, to keep learning about what government is and does, and to engage more in civic life.

What is the inspiration for Citizen Joy?

Citizen Joy founder Jeff Raz describes the inspiration for the project this way: “Because we know that autocrats thrive when there is a disheartened, disconnected, and divided populace, I believe we need to engage as citizens to defend the best of what democracy is and can be. We need to understand and love what we’re defending.”
 
“Artists can help because artists know how to deal with the gnarliest of subjects in a way that energizes people,” he adds. “Every artist and educator I’ve spoken to about Citizen Joy is excited to grow meaningful citizen engagement. They are ready for Citizen Joy!”

How is Citizen Joy organized?

Citizen Joy is an all-volunteer effort. We hope to be a spark, an inspiration for people across the country to do whatever they are inspired to do, where they are, with the friends and resources they have. Citizen Joy will provide a showcase where people can post about what they’re doing and learning and where they can link up with other efforts.


There are weekly partner Zoom calls and a small leadership team helping to guide and support the diverse and decentralized efforts of educators, artists, and arts organizations all over the country.

Who are the partners?

The 40-plus participating partners of Citizen Joy include the African-American Shakespeare Festival, George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, Circus Bella, Dell’Arte International, Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Sanchez Art Center, Arcata Playhouse, Oakland School for the Arts, and LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture.


Transforming artistic energy into civic participation, Citizen Joy is also collaborating with Activate America and All Rise Alameda to offer audience members a host of ways to get involved in voting and exercising their rights as citizens.


For a complete and up-to-date list of partners, please visit the Citizen Joy Website.

What are the partners planning?

Citizen Joy partners are creating projects that range from play readings to parades as well as on-line and in-gallery exhibitions, and will include facilitated conversations paired with circus acts, a “human library”, and a performance by the top college basketball pep band.


Many partners will use a play structure/facilitation guide developed by Rebecca Novick and Jeff Raz. Actors/performers and/or trained facilitators will lead participants through a process of discovering and acknowledging the privileges many of us enjoy living in a democracy and the tangible and intangible ways local, state, and federal government contributes to our quality of life. 


From George Mason University, The Green Machine will add Citizen Joy themes to an event on July 27.


Various partners will add Citizen Joy to summer camp and community outreach programs.


As plans are developed, partners will post on social media using #citizenjoy and #citizenjoyful.

How do I become a Citizen Joy partner?

Citizen Joy is welcoming new partners every day.


Interested artists and arts organizations should reach out directly to Jeff Raz at jeffraz18@gmail.com

What support is available to partners?

Facilitation guides are provided on request. 
 
Rebecca Novick and Jeff Raz are available to work with partners to develop their unique version of Citizen Joy.

How can visual artists participate?

Visual artists can participate in the Citizen Joy online showcase. Share your art and a statement of how it relates to the Citizen Joy themes and questions: 
Gratitude: What does your government do that brings you joy?
Agency: What choices are you able to make that are dear to your heart?
Harmony: When do you feel in harmony with your fellow citizens?


Submitted images and statements are being  posted regularly on the Citizen Joy website, facebook, and Instagram accounts beginning on July 4th. 


Click here to submit your art


In addition, Citizen Joy partner, Sanchez Art Center, will open a Call for Entry on July 27 – Citizen Joy Celebration Day – and accept submissions through October 15, 2024. All California artists are invited to participate in this in-gallery, juried exhibition of work that explores Citizen Joy themes and questions. Interested artists in all disciplines will be able to access the submission form for Citizen Joy: A Celebration of Democracy via CallForEntry.org beginning on July 27.

Where do I go to learn more?

Visit our Facebook page to keep up with Citizen Joy partners and participants. We are also on Instagram at citizenjoyful. Or visit us at citizenjoy.org.

I’m not a professional artist or performer, but I want to help. What can I do?

Create your own expression of Citizen Joy. Post on social media about your art and your process with #citizenjoy and #citizenjoyful.

Share Citizen Joy with your own networks and encourage participation.

If you have time and there is a Citizen Joy partner in your area, reach out to them directly to volunteer.

Cash contributions are welcome and will help cover expenses related to performances and exhibitions. Send donations to: TBD

And of course, you can vote!