My name is Lars and I'm an artist, writer and educator. A Search for America is a personal project. Inspired by the wide responses to President Donald Trump's rally cry to "Make America Great Again," I committed to a cross-country listening tour to learn what I can from fellow citizens about what this means to you.
It's sometimes hard for me to believe that only 250 years have passed since President George Washington read the Declaration of Independence in New York City, presenting the case for our revolution as a bold effort to create a more perfect union. A more perfect union.
What a simple and remarkable charge to each generation that become enshrined in our constitution. A call to democratic imagination and restless nation-building.
I'd like to know what this call means to you. What stories and imagery are evoked when you think about America as a great nation, as a more perfect union? Was there a moment in time that embodied this vision for you? Can you imagine a moment in the future when we'll have achieved that vision?
I'd be honored to learn your response to these prompts. Here's how the Search works:
Sign up to participate here; you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to a short survey
Responses will be sorted for demographic representativeness and used to build my travel itinerary
I'll reach out to coordinate a "kitchen table" conversation wherever you're comfortable – a local diner, a coffee shop or (yes!) your kitchen table.
My plan is to use what I learn from you and everyone else I meet along the way to do several things:
Involve you in the journey by sharing along the way in stories and pictures at the travel blog
Write a final report to the Democracy Fund, a non-partisan non-profit that cares deeply about the state of democracy in America
Produce a briefing document to arts and culture organizations exploring possible relationships between our artists, arts organizations and our democratic aspiration.
During October and November 2017 I'll be traveling the country by car, meeting with as many of you as I can to talk about our country, the ideas that animate and unify our democratic aspiration, and where you think we're headed as we work together to build a more perfect union. You can learn a little more about me and my background here.
Will you join me? It's easy and begins when you send me an email here. Of course you're welcome to follow along – I've set up a blog and social tools to help along the way. Either way, thank you for your time – I'm incredibly grateful to have this opportunity to open the dialogue with you.