"To encourage literature and the arts is a duty which every good citizen owes to his country," —George Washington

October is National Arts and Humanities month and the University of Florida commemorated the occasion by hosting a Pop-Up Culture event on Oct. 14 in the Plaza of Americas. Hundreds of students enjoyed activities including painting, dancing, musical performances and live screen-printing of T-shirts. The event showcased the importance of culture in America and demonstrated how the arts can help to transform and strengthen our communities.

Research from the National Endowment for the Arts has repeatedly shown that Americans who are involved in the arts are more likely to participate in civic and social activities.

Fostering civic engagement and social impact through the arts is of great interest to the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida. The center has long recognized the power of art and culture to promote understanding and spark collective action.

An example of this is UF sophomore Van Truong’s “Project Springboard.” The project was funded by a Healthy Civic Campus and Community Grant from the Bob Graham Center. As part of the Plaza event, students were invited to stretch color-coordinated rubber bands on a 6-by-8-foot wooden canvas drilled with 2,000 color-coded screws in hopes of collectively refashioning the Mona Lisa. READ MORE