About Looking for America


A project of New American Economy, American University School of Public Affairs, and CuriosityConnects.us, Looking for America is a new initiative exploring immigration and American identity in six dynamic communities across the United States through public art, storytelling, and dialogue.

In each community, Looking for America partners with local cultural institutions to curate art exhibitions featuring immigrant and U.S.-born artists who answer the question, “What does it mean to be American in your community?” Community members from different backgrounds and political identities are invited to engage with each exhibition and offer their own perspectives and stories over a shared meal.

Inspired by Philippa Hughes’ blueberries + cherries dinners that began in her home after the 2016 election, the project aims to understand how local culture and circumstance shapes political perspectives across the United States, and how we can build more constructive, humanizing dialogue at a time of increasing division and polarization across America.

National Partners

The School of Public Affairs at American University (SPA) is the home of AU’s Project on Civil Discourse, which encourages and supports people understanding speech not only as a matter of rights, but of responsibilities, values, and opportunities. It works on the principle that each of us must be the architect of our own voice, choosing to use it in service of our goals and values and in a manner that contributes to our learning community. SPA is committed to civil discourse as a crucial aspect of our democracy, and faculty members are committed to sharing these skills beyond our campus, especially in this time of hyper-partisan divide.

New American Economy (NAE) is a bipartisan research and policy organization focused on immigration reforms that will strengthen the U.S. economy and create jobs for all Americans. NAE partners with more than 80 communities across the country to lift up local voices and promote inclusion and prosperity for all.

CuriosityConnects.us, a project of Philippa P.B. Hughes, connects people who would not normally meet in meaningful, humanizing dialogue; sculpts space for curious people to ask questions, listen, and talk to each other; and designs art-fueled, relationship-building experiences.

Your Story, Our Story

The Tenement Museum’s online storytelling experience, Your Story, Our Story explores American migration and cultural identity through everyday objects. In this national initiative, people of all ages from across the country are invited to share their own stories with an object that has special meaning for their family. Looking for America participants can contribute to a special collection on the platform, here.