Arts, Political Activation, & Immigration

Author: Cabrera, Rosa M.

Publication Year: 2015

Media Type:


Excerpted from Arts & America: Arts, Culture, and the Future of America’s Communities. This essay looks at the role of arts in political activism and immigration over the next 10 to 15 years. The full book of essays can be purchased in Americans for the Arts online store.


This essay looks at changes in the meaning of citizenship and political activation of individuals, particularly through the lens of immigration issues, and the role that the arts may play in positively impacting those changes over the next 10–15 years. In particular, this essay proposes the following trends and associated arts interventions:

  • A melding of technology and cultural awareness will catalyze a growing immigration movement through easier activation of cultural memory, the crossing of media for amplified effect, and a stronger connection among intersectional identities. The arts will provide a solid platform from which to tell their stories, build allies, and link issues across diverse identities as they creatively connect their assets for collective thinking and action.
  • A generation of immigrants brought to the United States as children and living under an unauthorized status—as well as other youth immigrants that enjoy authorized status—will find themselves navigating an increasingly complex identity formation process. Arts and culture can be utilized as a mechanism for crystallizing self-definition of the individual and the group and activation of political will.
  • As the demography of America continues to dramatically shift, a redefinition of the American Dream, the dominant culture, and what it means to be a citizen will occur. Much of that shift will be driven by the crossing and melding of disparate artistic and cultural traditions, which will also allow for a resistance to outright assimilation over time.

Arts & Intersections: Political Activation

Categories: International, Globalization, Community Development, Civic Dialogue and Social Change, Advocacy


Series Title: Arts & America: Arts, Culture, and the Future of America’s Communities




Pages: 28

Resources: Document


Name: Americans for the Arts

Website URL: