graphic that reads "Tomorrow's Monuments: Beyond Granite" "Tomorrow's Restoration: Sweet Water Foundation" "Tomorrow's Storytelling: La Mezcla" "Tomorrow's Librarians: Radical Librarianship Institute" "Tomorrow's Stages: Turnout NYC"

National Arts and Humanities Month 2022

Beyond the Ballot Box

Opening a window into tomorrow’s public square.

The ballot box. For centuries, it has been a cornerstone of healthy democracies. It’s the place we go to exercise our civic duty. A place where we shape the rules, values, and norms of where we live and work. Access to the voting booth is a human right that we’re still fighting for in many communities. 

But civic engagement, broadly understood, is about so much more than casting a vote. It’s about getting our voices out there. Listening to others. Expressing beliefs on the ground and in public, not only on paper. It's about participating meaningfully in issues that we all share a stake in. 
This year, Mellon grantees showed what happens when people come together to think expansively about civic engagement—through the arts and humanities—not just to live vibrantly, but to surface the stories and solutions that will help us face the most daunting challenges of our time.

In celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month, the stories below explore people and communities who are forging new paths for civic engagement as they open a window into the power and promise of the public square. 

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