To further the mission of the U.S. Department of State for cross-cultural exchange, Art in Embassies’ (AIE) professional curators create temporary exhibitions for American embassy residences and permanent collections for new U.S. embassies and consulates. Art in Embassies works within the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (www.state.gov/obo). The curators cultivate and maintain partnerships with thousands of artists, museums, collectors, universities, galleries, and foundations worldwide, ensuring that the art chosen is compelling, and that the exhibitions and collections are engaging, informative, and relevant for the intended audience, and highlight the cross-cultural exchange mission of the Department.
These exhibitions and collections begin with a study of the host country, involvement in the design of architectural spaces, and review of floor plans to identify potential locations for art installation and collaborative projects. The exhibitions and collections include site specific commissions by American and host country artists, and original works of art which compliment the architecture and interior design of the designated representational spaces, creating work environments that foster dialogue and provide platforms for cultural outreach. Other considerations shape the selection as well, as the art has to be compatible with the mores and cultural heritage of the host country and reflect the artistic range, similarities and differences, and cultural and aesthetic values of both countries. Multi-lingual labels, publications and other documentation, and exchange programming provide context for both exhibitions and collections, offerings insight into the motivation behind the artists’ work.
Art in Embassies (AIE) exchanges create cross-cultural dialogues and understanding through the visual arts. Turning artists into envoys, the idea is to extend visual diplomacy beyond the embassies into local communities.
As funding permits, Art in Embassies (AIE) creates multi-lingual publications to accompany exhibitions and collections. This documents the works included and acknowledge our partners, while serving as an important means of cross-cultural exchange.