U.S. Department of State Launches smARTpower, Will Use Visual Arts to Engage Underserved Youth Overseas and Strengthen People-to-People Diplomacy

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 18, 2011

U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Bronx Museum of the Arts launched smARTpowerSM., a new initiative that sends 15 American artists and collaborative artist teams to 15 countries worldwide to engage in people-to-people diplomacy through the visual arts.

smARTpower builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power diplomacy,” which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools – in this case the visual arts – to bring people together and foster greater understanding.

For up to 45 days during the next year, the following American artists will travel to all corners of the globe, where they will partner with local arts organizations to engage with underserved youth and create community-based projects. The first smARTpower artist, Kabir Carter of Brooklyn, New York, will depart October 24 for Istanbul, Turkey. Other artists will follow throughout 2012 with travel to China, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Venezuela.

The artists participating in smARTpower, the countries to which they will travel, and their in-country partner arts organizations are:

  • Duke Riley of Brooklyn, New York – Shanghai, China
    Partner Organization: Arthub Asia
  • Chris “Daze” Ellis of New York, New York – Quito, Ecuador
    Partner Organization: Cero Inspiración
  • Arturo Lindsay of Atlanta, Georgia – Cairo, Egypt
    Partner Organization: Medrar/Nagla Samir
  • Rochelle Feinstein of New York, New York – Accra, Ghana
    Partner Organization: Foundation for Contemporary Art
  • Caroline Woolard of Brooklyn, New York – New Delhi, India
    Partner Organization: KHOJ
  • Miguel Luciano of Brooklyn, New York – Nairobi and Dadaab Province, Kenya
    Partner Organization: Kuona Trust
  • Samuel Gould of Minneapolis, Minnesota – Pristina, Kosovo
    Partner Organization: Stacion Center for Contemporary Art
  • Ghana Think Tank (comprised of Christopher Robbins, John Ewing, and Maria del Carmen Montoya) of Little Neck, New York; Roxbury, Massachusetts; and Corvallis, Oregon – Beirut, Lebanon
    Partner Organization: Arab Image Foundation
  • Pepón Osorio of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Kathmandu, Nepal
    Partner Organization: Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre
  • Brett Cook of Berkeley, California – Lagos, Nigeria
    Partner Organization: Wy Art Foundation
  • Art Jones of Bronx, New York – Karachi, Pakistan
    Partner Organization: Vasl
  • Mary Mattingly of New York, New York – Manila, Philippines
    Partner Organization: Green Papaya Art Projects
  • Xaviera Simmons of Brooklyn, New York – Colombo, Sri Lanka
    Partner Organization: Theertha International Artists Collective.
  • Kabir Carter of Brooklyn, New York – Istanbul, Turkey
    Partner Organization: PiSt///Interdisciplinary Project Space
  • Seth Augustine and Rachel Shachar of Los Angeles, California – Caracas, Venezuela
    Partner Organization: Centro Cultural Chacao

More than 900 individuals from nearly all 50 states and U.S. territories applied to the program. Those chosen include both emerging and established artists who work in a variety of media, from site-specific happenings to portable art installations. Selection criteria included the strength of the artists’ work, and their experienced commitment to community-based art making.

smARTpower is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State in partnership with the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Click here to learn more about the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and click here to learn more about The Bronx Museum of the Arts.

For more information, contact Talley Sergent, U.S. Department of State at SergentRT@state.gov.

PRN: 2011/1749