Newsletter, November 2015


Arts and Humanities Civic Engagement


Cultural Agents is an interface between academic learning and civic engagement. The Initiative promotes arts and humanities as social resources.



  • WHEN: Friday, November 13, 9:30am – 3pm.
  • WHERE: Materials Lab, Lower Level of the Harvard Art Museums (32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA).
  • WHAT: This participatory workshop will introduce participants to Pre-Texts. If you’re interested in attending, please email Lisa Crossman at
  • We’ll work with Oswald de Andrade’s “Anthropophagy Manifesto” of 1928.
  • México presenta: Latinoamérica Presente
  • WHEN: November 14, 2015, 9am-7pm.
  • WHERE: Belfer Case Study Room S020, CGIS South (1730 Cambridge Street), Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
  • WHAT: With the participation of such honored guests as Blas Flores Dávila (Rector of the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila), the conference will showcase the implementation and impact of Pre-Texts in Latin America.

General News: Pre-Texts 

Students in the Pre-Texts Book Club at Prospect Hill Academy’s Franklin and Webster campuses are reading, writing, and making great works of art!

Students in the K-1 class are listening to sections of The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. So far, the students have mimed the characters’ emotions as part of a drama activity and created drawings of the setting.

The 4th and 5th graders have read excerpts from 2 books: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupéry. Working individually and as a group, students have used these texts as the foundational material for their art projects. After having read a section describing Atticus, students worked in pairs to create drawings based on their partners’ descriptions of selected characters. Students then shared their results with the group. I was surprised that one student selected Miss Maudie–a character only mentioned in passing. It was fascinating to hear how the text shaped his impression of her, and how he filled in the details with his imagination. Using this same section, students created clay sculptures of verbs found in the text.

It’s been such a pleasure to work with this group, and to overhear them telling their friends how much they enjoy a session in which, as one student excitedly exclaimed, “We get to read and make art!”

In this photo, 4th and 5th graders work on masks of characters from
The Little Prince at Prospect Hill Academy.

General News: Cultural Agents

Sandra Arnold visited the Cultural Agents course this week and will accompany students and other guests to the African Burying Ground Memorial Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire today.

This summer Doris Sommer visited the studio of Maya Lin to speak with the artist and architect about the memorials that she’s created and her recent web-based project “What is Missing?” Sommer’s interview with Lin appears in Cultured Magazine‘s fall edition. The interview will be available on the Cultural Agents website:

Please see our calendar on the Cultural Agents website for more information on our upcoming events:

Featured Story 

After a visit from Antanas Mockus (philosopher, former mayor of Bogotá, and President of Corpovisionarios), it seems fitting to include a story about other mayors who’ve looked to artists to improve civic life. Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, will hire an artist to work in the Department of Transportation to protect cyclists and pedestrians from injuries and fatalities caused by automobiles. This effort is part of the Creative Catalyst Artist in Residence Program. For more on this initiative, see:


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Caminos de Paz Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Opportunities Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now
November 2, 2015
by Rodriguez