We are resident and artist run, and we work A LOT of different issues and programs. Our strength is in our deep community ties and our non-hierarchical structure that allows us to be nimble and to creatively respond to community needs.
Warm Cookies of the Revolution, the world's first Civic Health Club, was founded in 2012, and the need in our community was and is, clear: Civic life is boring and a spectator sport. Look at a newspaper advertising sports, comedy, music, and other events. There are links and times and locations listed because the assumption is that you want to attend and participate. For civic issues, however (taxes, housing, schools, immigration, neighborhood development, etc) we are routinely "updated" on processes and decisions made by other people. Sports stadiums and concerts are full. City council meetings are rarely packed with excitement! This is poor civic health.
Over the past 12 years, Warm Cookies of the Revolution has taken on what it means to be an active citizen and how to engage others in that responsibility while creating high quality, original programs.
-We created the Tax Day Carnival because the national day of mourning should be a day of celebration of putting our morals into practice.
-Civic Stitch 'n Bitch merges civic issues with crafting.
-We asked the Stupid Civic Question: Where does my poop go when I flush and the answer was, obviously, magic. So we brought in a magician but also our city wastewater department.
-The People Vs ___ puts on trial moral and cultural notions we take for granted.
-The Stompin' Ground Games were a neighborhood Olympics exploring the history and current issues facing residents of different neighborhoods using the best arts and culture they have to offer. This was a proactive, positive, and honest way to explore gentrification and displacement facing so many people in our cities.
-This Machine Has a Soul was a 2 year participatory budgeting project led by residents and using crazy artist built machines and an installation.
Since 2012 we’ve engaged nearly 1 million participants in over 250+ unique programs, as a Cultural Partner with the City of Denver, and we've engaged, educated, and performed for residents on a ridiculous amount of issues, with an embarrassing amount of artists and community organizations (where they’ve eaten too many cookies by the way!) Our artistic and civic approach begins with the idea that there are systemic reasons why certain art and certain residents have power, and we do what we can to widen that circle, level the playing field, center the margins, and highlight creativity. And we do it with joy.
We engage people who are not typical civic decision-makers: 70% are women, 67% are under age 45 (with 40% between the ages of 25-34), 69% are in the low or middle income tax brackets. After our programs, 72% of participants take some kind of civic action (contacted an elected official, volunteered, attended a community meeting, wrote a letter to the editor).
Some recent awards: Roddenberry Fellowship, Livingston Fellowship, Governor's Award for Creative Leadership, Parr-Widener Award for Civic Leadership, 5280 Disrupter, ArtPlace America's National Creative Placemaking Award, New Pluralists Award, FEMA's Climate Resiliency Storytelling Award, Innovate for Good, Arts in Society, Imagine 2020, Creative-in-Residence at the Denver Art Museum, and we have been invited for talks and workshops in many other cities and states. We think our approach is needed and we take our role as artist-civic educators seriously (and also not so seriously!)