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News & Press: ICA News

ICA Spotlight: Andrew Clayton (Public Allies)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Caitlin Sarro
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How did you find the ICA?

I came to the Institute of Cultural Affairs through Public Allies, a national AmeriCorps program that develops social change leaders in partnership with local nonprofit and community organizations. I interviewed with Seva Gandhi and Caitlin Sarro of the ICA-USA. I saw in their individual passions, in the programming at ICA, in the GreenRise building, in every fiber of the organization a thoughtfulness I find lacking in the wider world. My greater mission as a person is to seek and cultivate this kind of thoughtfulness, and so from the outset I have seen ICA as profoundly fertile soil.


What is your role?

Public Allies’ mission statement is “to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it”. That may sound familiar to those who know that ICA strives to “build a just and equitable society in harmony with Planet Earth through empowering cultural dimensions of the social process”. There is humor in the similarity, and profound clarity as well. I see my role in the nexus of the two: to develop my capacities in reciprocal relationship with communities, to find leadership in harmony, to facilitate justice and equity through sustainable meaning-making.

Practically, I work alongside the program team at ICA-USA on local initiatives in Uptown and the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network. I seek to further the narrative around our work through outreach and communications, while always analyzing and reflecting upon our practices with fresh eyes.


What is your favorite thing about the ICA?

I’ve touched on the organizational wisdom already, but I feel it cannot be overstated. There is something mythic here, so profound as to resist simple explanation and categorization. So, my favorite thing so far has been delving into that psycho-spiritual question by tracing how it works through ICA’s past, present, and future.


I want to be clear that that quality is not abstract: it has direct impact on our behavior and language. If we are serious about “empowering cultural dimensions of the social process”, that means taking seriously how these fundamental questions influence the most mundane. Grand statements do not shift paradigms, intentional programs do. I love being a part of that.


What is an interesting fact about you?

I take wisdom very seriously, in a way that sometimes feels archaic in a busy world.