February 5, 2020 / Modified aug 4, 2020 4:11 p.m.

American Portrait explores what it really means to be an American today

Be part of the PBS national storytelling project.

American Portrait presents a mosaic of our country's diversity.

PBS AMERICAN PORTRAIT, a national storytelling project aligned with PBS's 50th anniversary celebration, invites America to participate in a national conversation about what it really means to be an American today. A digital-first initiative produced by RadicalMedia, AMERICAN PORTRAIT begins as a platform for people to share photos, videos, and text submissions and capture the state and spirit of our nation.

As PBS's most ambitious initiative to date, the project is envisioned to encompass publishing, short-form content, classroom engagement, a web miniseries, public art installations, live events, and in January 2021, a nationally televised documentary series on PBS stations.

AMERICAN PORTRAIT presents a mosaic of our country’s diversity, allowing people from all regions to appreciate what we have in common as well as the many differences that make up the American experience.

This user-generated, multiplatform project will connect tens of thousands of people across the country, creating a communal voice through individual stories of joy, hardship, triumphs, and sorrow. Participants will be able to tell and share their own stories, and see the stories shared by a wide panorama of Americans, united by a series of prompts that will serve as conversation starters, including:

  • “I was raised to believe…,”
  • “The tradition I carry on is…,”
  • “What keeps me up at night is…,”
  • “When I step outside my door…”
  • “Most days I feel…,”

Beyond the online submissions and digital portals, and the documentary series scheduled in early 2021, AMERICAN PORTRAIT will commission artists in several markets to further explore what it means to be an American through special collaborations, including installations, artist-curated story features and more. AZPM will also collect stories in their communities and tap into schools, libraries and other community organizations to create opportunities for people to share their stories locally and through the AMERICAN PORTRAIT platform and social media accounts.





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