PROJECTS & INITIATIVES: International Programs
A principal goal of this exhibition is to make visitors aware of the broad range of artistic approaches pursued by these artists. Despite the stereotypes, there is no such thing as a homogenous “Latin American style.” The diversity of expressions founds in the exhibition reflects the vastness of a region that encompasses twenty countries, people of numerous ethnicities and cultures, and wide-ranging social and economic conditions.
Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to explore its rich diversity through the extensive educational materials that supplement the exhibition. These include an exhibition catalog, family gallery guide, didactic panels, and narrative labels--all of which are bilingual. Additionally, the exhibition travels with a bilingual educational programming guide that includes docent training information, artist biographies, lesson plans for school groups, an extensive bibliography, museum program suggestions, ten related books for adults and six related books for children, and an interactive CD-ROM.
Cardinal Points/Puntos Cardinales is traveling to seven U.S. museums during its two-year tour, including communities in Arkansas, Iowa, Texas, and the boot heel of Missouri, where large demographic shifts have occurred because of an influx of Latin American immigrants to rural, agricultural communities.
Recent grants have be awarded to acclaimed New York-based multidisciplinary artist Meredith Monk for performances at the Edinburgh International Festival in the United Kingdom; to brass-funk musical ensemble Debo Band of Boston for performances at Sauti za Busara in Zanzibar, Tanzania; Límon Dance Company of New York for performances at the Steps International Dance Festival in Zurich, Switzerland; and theatre artist Lynn Manning of Los Angeles for performances at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Adelaide, Australia.
Arts Midwest World Fest’s objectives are to:
This year, musical groups from Inner Mongolia, China; Israel; Veracruz, Mexico; and Québec, Canada are each spending a week in Midwest towns like Spearfish, South Dakota, and Traverse City, Michigan. During each week-long residency, the musicians lead school concerts, musical and cultural workshops, and a public concert. To extend the cultural experience to the classroom, Arts Midwest provides participating communities with a curriculum that helps students and teachers better understand and appreciate the customs and traditions of the visiting ensembles.
As an example, musical ensemble An Da Union is providing a fascinating glimpse into the Inner Mongolia region of China. The group’s music is created by twelve young and dynamic musicians who perform on traditional Chinese instruments and include a traditional type of Mongolian singing commonly referred to as “throat singing.”
This landmark tour, supported in part by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, is the group’s first in the U.S. and brings this distinctive culture to students and audiences across the Midwest. Partners respond to the events with comments such as, “At the end of the evening concert, there were tears in the eyes of Nevada, Iowa teachers who had worked with the group the day before. When An Da Union sang ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ and handed out scarf-gifts, it was clear that a life-long memory had been created from the interaction of music and teaching about Mongolia.”
The National Dance Project (NDP) has supported the production and distribution of dance in the U.S. since 1996. The program aggregates public and private resources, is guided by a group of preeminent dance field leaders, and, through grants and services, is the only support system for the creation and touring of dance in the U.S. Each year, up to 25 different dance projects are featured in engagements in over 250 communities across the country. Workshops, lecture-demonstrations, informal conversations between dance artists and community members, and other contextualizing activities, accompany formally presented performances.
From the program’s inception, NDP has recognized that the inclusion of artists and projects originating abroad adds to the rich global dialogue. International activity and partnerships within NDP enrich opportunities for both U.S. communities to see international artists, and for American dance artists to develop lasting relationships internationally. In recent years, an average of 22 percent of projects have featured the artistic creations of foreign choreographers and their collaborators. To deepen and extend impact, NDP has developed projects with agencies associated with the governments of Australia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Mexico and France.
Examples of NDP international projects include:
1) A creative exchange and U.S. tour featured Urban Bush Women (New York) and Compagnie JANT-BI (Senegal) culminated in a collaboratively created work about the importance of place and community.
2) The Ilkhom Theatre of Uzbekistan collaborated with celebrated African-American choreographer David Rousseve (California) on a dance theater work which toured the U.S. Iconographic paintings by Usto Mumin inspired the new work.
3) A U.S. tour of the work of French-Algerian choreographer Rachid Ouramdane, based at the Centre National Dramatique de Gennevilliers, in a suburb of Paris with a large Muslim population was supported by NDP.
4) NDP partners with The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium (TACAC) that has brought outstanding African artists to the U.S., including Faustin Linyekula, Nora Chipaumire, Compagnie TchéTché, and Compagnie Heddy Maalem. The partnership is currently focused on the development of productions and tours from countries of North Africa encountered at a May 2008 platform in Tunisia hosted by Ness El Fen.
5) The Triangle Project brought together choreographers and their collaborators from Indonesia, Japan, and New England who, as a team of creative researchers, spent time in each other’s countries to explore creative concepts, systems of support, and approaches to involving and engaging communities.
Forum topics have included analysis of the concept of culture in the United States and abroad, considering the impact of global migration on existing arts and cultural communities, examining cultural policy-making infrastructures in the United States and abroad, and sharing information, ideas, activities, and successful models that strengthen arts and culture globally. Because of the network and reach of many of our international participants, each convening stirs a significant amount of international and domestic interest in the work of U.S. arts and cultural organizations and also expands and invigorates interest in international cultural exchange. Future forums will enjoy expanded reach due to the planned application of digital technologies such as Web video streaming, podcasts and interactive remote technology.
Examples of international presenters and participants in past WESTAF forums include: