2a. Mission Statement:
Alternate ROOTS is an organization based in the Southeast USA whose mission is to support the creation and presentation of original art in all its forms which is rooted in a particular community of place, tradition or spirit. As a coalition of cultural workers we strive to be allies in the elimination of all forms of oppression. ROOTS is committed to social and economic justice and the protection of the natural world and addresses these concerns through programs and services.
Website Link to Mission Statement:
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.:
Alternate ROOTS was founded in 1976 at the Highlander Center in Tennessee by Southeastern performing artists creating original work in their own communities as an effort to continue the social justice work of the previous decade. ROOTS has become increasingly recognized nationally for its advocacy of the artist-citizen, nontraditional governing structures, increased respect for indigenous cultures and inclusion of community members as planners and participants in art-making. ROOTS artists are bound together by their sense of justice, dedication to activism, and the belief that art can and does make a difference in society.
ROOTS membership is open to multidisciplinary artists working in all visual and performance disciplines, community organizers, educators and arts administrators. ROOTS’ membership numbers over 150 individual artists, as well as a number of nonprofit arts organizations across the twelve states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
ROOTS has a rich history of coordinating annual meetings, gatherings, festivals, publications and creating networks that have increased the visibility of art for social change and affected the national understanding of how artists and community organizations can engage. ROOTS is a leader in the field of art for social change, and was one of the first organizations in the country to create a model program for training and disseminating best practices in the field of community cultural development.
2c. Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History.:
Artist-developed initiatives are the core of Alternate ROOTS unique programming. These programs include the Annual Meeting, a week long artist gathering; the Residency and Tour Program, which provides a financial subsidy for new or underserved presenting communities; the Community/Artists Partnership Program (C/APP), a re-granting program to support a substantive community change project in each of the 5 Alternate ROOTS regions; Artistic Assistance, which provides resources to further artistic professional development; Showcases, Festivals, Publications; and Resources for Social Change, a training program that creates arts-based community learning exchanges to share best practices in art for social change. In 2003, the Alternate ROOTS membership deemed uprooting racism a funding priority by requiring all grant applicants to demonstrate an understanding of how their work actively worked towards the elimination of oppression.