Caron Atlas

Caron Atlas

Director | Arts & Democracy

Caron Atlas is director of Arts & Democracy, which cross-fertilizes arts and culture, civic participation, and community change. She also directs Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY (NOCD-NY), a citywide alliance revitalizing NYC from the neighborhood up. Caron teaches at Pratt Institute and Hunter College and serves on NYC’s participatory budgeting District and Citywide committees. Previously she worked at Appalshop, a community cultural center in the coalfields of Appalachia and directed the national American Festival Project. She was a Rockefeller Foundation Warren Weaver Fellow and is a Coro Leadership NY alumnus. She received her BA and MA from the University of Chicago.

Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

Because we are facing the challenge of being more polarized than ever and losing faith in government, but at the same time having an increasing inclusive group of people of all ages wanting to make a difference and stepping up to do so. I’m also interested in how innovations recognize and build on rich cultural traditions.

What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

Creative examples of diverse civic engagement from the community up. People speaking honestly about their challenges as well as opportunities and being resources for one another.