participants in Utopia project


The Utopia Project: Inspiration for Creative Activism seeks to deconstruct the reasons why social change happens. Why does one tactic work and another fails? This interactive gallery provided a space to learn the art of activism and to unlock the creativity in each of us to transform our world.

Guided Tour

The Utopia Project guided exhibition tour is narrated by Skye Ellis.

(hip music)

Narrator: Skye Ellis

Welcome to The Utopia Project. Inspiration for creative activism.

This isn't your ordinary museum exhibit. It's a launchpad for transforming your dreams for a better world into reality.

Dare to imagine with us what a brighter tomorrow could look like. It all starts with you.

Choose an issue that speaks to you from school bullying or affordable housing to racial justice or human rights.

Keep your chosen issue in mind as you journey through the exhibit, adding your ideas to your dream book in each section.

Here, you'll not only learn about the mechanics of activism, but also design your own plan for change.

Let's start by tapping into the emotions of your issue. Emotions are like the sparks that ignite the fire of change.

For example, Anacostia artist, Yetunde Sapp was so moved with emotion by Breonna Taylor's tragic murder that she painted this powerful mural on a public barricade

during the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Washington, DC.

That mural was a symbol of change she wanted to see in the world, and it's the same kind of passion that we want you to feel.

What emotions and experiences pull you closer to your issue?

Remember those feelings and let them guide you towards creating a better world.

Next, let's take a seat and get comfortable in the dream space.

Take a moment to let go of the obstacles holding you back and fully imagine the world you want to create.

What would it look like, feel like?

Write or draw your thoughts in your dream book. This is your utopia, your ultimate vision for a better tomorrow.

It's what will inspire others to join you on this journey of change.

It's more possible than you think when you focus on what you want more than what you don't want.

Now that we have a vision, we have to figure out how to make it a reality.

You've probably heard of tactics like boycotts, protests, and sit-ins, but what about fishing in potholes?

Or serving up food from countries the US is in conflict with?

Or how about the story of Julius Hobson, the community rabble rouser who was fed up with the rat infestation problem in working class Black neighborhoods in Washington, DC.

In 1964, he took matters into his own hands when he strapped a cage full of rats to the top of his car, drove to a wealthy neighborhood where policy makers lived, and loudly threatened to release the rats if the city didn't tackle the problem. And his actions worked.

Feeling the pressure, city officials started rat control programs. Hobson knew how to use theatrics to make decision-makers understand the problem firsthand.

Are you inspired by Julius Hobson's antics or other unorthodox changemakers in this section?

Here, you'll be introduced to inspiring individuals who took unconventional approaches to create real change.

Choose a corresponding sticker and add it to your dream book to remember later.

Now that your head is full of tactical inspiration, it's time to chart your path toward utopia.

Using everything from cardboard and tape to Legos and markers, you can create a song, a storyboard, or a 3D prototype for sparking change.

Don't let your inner critic hold you back. Instead, embrace the power of experimentation. 

(upbeat music)

Our last stop is a chance to reflect on the bigger picture.

What is your place in building a better future? What role will you play in shaping the future?

You are everything. You're the world, which contains the country, which contains the east coast and the state, and the city, and the block, and the building, and the room, and the audience, and the artists, and yourself.

You contain the world within yourself. Open your eyes. Inhale. And expand.

The Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum is excited to join you on this journey of discovery and transformation. Use your experience in this space to spark positive impact

in your neighborhood, nation, or even our planet. Get ready to put the U in Utopia.

(uplifting music)

(music fading out)


The Utopia Project Dreambook

The Utopia Project Dreambook

Create your own Dreambook. Add ideas and collect inspiration to design your own plan for change.