The Beauty of Front Porch Citizenry

What does it mean to be American?

Please join us for a panel discussion on the nature of American citizenship with Congressman Lee Hamilton, former Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court Randy Shepard, Dr. Una Osili of IUPUI’s Lilly School of Philanthropy, and Charles Hyde, President and CEO of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site—moderated by writer and former civil servant Alexandra Hudson.

It often feels like we live in the most divided of moments in America, both politically and socially.

But do we?

What is citizenship? Is it merely a legal status, or something more? What can we learn from past eras of division in both Indiana’s and America’s history about what it means to be an American? Does our less-than-inclusive track record of citizenship and civic participation negate American founding ideals equality, the rule of law, and human dignity? How has new communicative technology, including social media, changed the way we think about being a citizen of America?

At this event, we bring a diverse selection of Hoosier statesmen and women in dialogue together to discuss these and other important questions.

We anticipate these seasoned public leaders to bring a depth of wisdom to the complex challenges of our time, bringing their experience to bare on how we approach our future.

The moderated conversation will occur from 6-7pm, followed by 30 minutes of questions from the audience.

Reception to follow in the City Gallery of the Harrison Center, featuring the art and rare books from the exhibit “The Beauty of Front Porch Citizenry.”

Thanks to our partner, the America’s Future Foundation, for generously sponsoring our reception.

Thanks also to Indy Humantites for the support of our programming!

About “The Beauty of Front Porch Citizenry”

With support from the Sagamore Institute, the City Gallery presents Front Porch Citizenry, an exhibition of original manuscripts, and art interpreting the themes of the manuscripts, dedicated to exploring the theme of citizenship. The show features a curated a selection of original manuscripts from the extraordinary Remnant Trust collection, and local artists will respond to, and interpret, the themes of the texts in art. Part of the aim is to highlight different experiences of citizenship in both Indiana’s and America’s history. For example, an original printing of Mary Wollstonecraft’s famous “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects,” will be paired with a local artist’s depiction of Madame Walker — a well known civil rights activist, but also a proponent of women’s rights and entrepreneurship. As another example, Plutarch’s “Moralia” will be paired with an oil painting of May Wright Sewall — a prominent suffragist in Indianapolis history, but also a major proponent of women’s classical education (Plutarch is the cornerstone of classical education). This exhibit invites the public to engage all of their senses in a discussion of citizenship through the touch of the ancient manuscripts, the smell of the old books, the beauty of the art before them. Participating artists include Kyle Ragsdale, Alicia Zanoni, Benny Sanders, Kipp Normand, Johnny McKee, Courtland Blade and Abi Ogle.

Touch the past, create the future.

Alexandra Hudson, an Indianapolis-based writer who has been published in TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Politico Magazine, and others outlets. She is the curator of A New American Renaissance, a monthly newsletter on social, moral and intellectual renewal, a 2019 Novak Fellow, and is currently writing a book on civility and civil society.