0:07diplomacy 21st century challenges conference may 2004
0:07PRESENTER: It is now my pleasure to get this underway. I would like to introduce you to
0:10Margaret Tutwiler. She’s our Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
0:20MARGARET TUTWILER: Thank you, very much. I have some really lovely prepared remarks that
0:27I know somebody’s spent a lot of time on, but I decided that I am not going to speak
0:32from those, because I’d rather speak from experience and from the heart and to tell
0:37you, most sincerely, the importance of Arts in Embassies, not only to an ambassador’s
0:42residence, but for what it actually does overseas for our country. These are very troubled and
0:48difficult times that we’re all living in as Americans. And I can tell you that, through
0:54art that you give to us or art that you produce for us, that it is a connect that’s on a level
1:01that has nothing to do with policies.
1:03One of the things that I have been advocating, based on experience it’s returning, is that
1:09there is an appropriate place, and part of our job in the public sector, for the articulation,
1:15enunciation, and defense of our government’s policies. But we’re more than just policy,
1:21as Americans. And we are our culture. And we are our art.
And I have been encouraging my colleagues
1:28in the government to recognize, as more and more I think people do, what I refer to, and
1:36a man named Mr. Joseph Nye at Harvard does, “soft power.” Add to some of you, that may
1:43be offensive and a turn off. But it actually is something that, I think, for us, as Americans,
1:49culturally translates very well.
1:51And for too long, I think that government officials– myself included, when I’ve served
1:56before– did not really appreciate or recognize the real value to our country of programs
2:04such as Art in Embassies. And I am here today because my good friend, Ann Johnson, asked
2:10me to. But I’m also here because I know that it matters.
And I have recently spent two years of my
2:18life living in a country of 31 million Muslims and Arabs. And I know that the art that was
2:25in the residence– not my residence, but in the residence– mattered. And it was warm.
2:30And it was pretty. And it was different. And it was diversified. Even when we were having
2:36contentious policy debates, which we had all the time, in that residence, I knew that I
2:42was surrounded by an America that was more than our policies and an America that really,
2:47really, and truly mattered.
2:49And I would like to also point out that you’ve got a distinguished panel here today, but
2:53you’ve also got one gentleman who is taking it beyond just acting, but participating.
3:01And that is Mr. Michael Kaiser. And he participates in a program that the Bush Administration
3:07initiated, called Cultural Ambassadors.
3:10And I know that I can speak for all of us in this department, that we are deeply appreciative
3:15of the non-free time that he has that he goes beyond in helping our country overseas. I’d
3:21also like to point out one other thing that I learned about when I returned to Washington
3:26approximately a year ago, was that Ann Johnson knew the value of artists. And we’ve taken
3:31it a step further.
3:33And I believe you identified 13 to 16 artists who actually went out into countries overseas
3:41and connected on a craft. And the craft was art. And it was extremely successful. We are
3:48trying to encourage more artists to do it.
And we have actually, in fact, created since
3:53I have been here, something I refer to as citizen diplomats. And that is normal Americans,
4:00whether they be artists, firemen, policemen, engineers, bankers, that they go to a country
4:07for us and they connect, based on their craft, based on their profession. So we do not have
4:14to have all Americans overseas just engaging on policy.
And we have started this new program. And
4:21so far, it has been very successful. And it is, again, a way, in the environment we all
4:26find ourselves in, it is a way to listen, to engage, and to participate with people
4:35who do not live in our country. And it is very, very important, very important, that
4:44everyone overseas, especially in the Muslim and Arab world, have a more accurate understanding
4:49and appreciation, hopefully, respect, of who we really are.
We are not a cartoon. And we are not Baywatch.
4:56And we are not Dallas, which is regrettably the number one show watched throughout the
5:01region. And so, what you do, most sincerely, really, really matters. And I know that every
5:06ambassador overseas and every officer who’s serving overseas would tell you the same thing
5:13and would appreciate so much what all of you all are doing.
And I apologize. Ann knows, then let me off
5:20the hook, that I cannot stay for the panel discussion. Excuse me. I would sincerely like
5:26to, but I have a scheduling conflict. And so I appreciate this brief moment that Ann
5:32afforded me to thank you all and to tell you with sincere appreciation what the Arts in
5:39Embassies program meant in the post I served in and in all the other 22– I think it’s
5:45223 posts around the world.
5:47So have a very good conference. And thank you, for letting me take a little bit of your
5:53time. Thank you.
5:59ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Good afternoon. My name is Ellen McCulloch-Lovell. I’m most recently
6:06President of the Center for Arts & Culture and director at the Veterans History Project
6:11at the American Folklife Center and returning from Washington after my first five weeks
6:17as President of Marlboro College in Southeastern Vermont.
It’s a great pleasure to be here. And I wanted
6:26to begin by saying, I think it is absolutely critical that this conversation is happening
6:33today in this room, at the U.S. Department of State. And I want to thank the Undersecretary
6:40and Ann Johnson for initiating this very, very important conversation.
Call it winning hearts and minds, soft power,
6:57cultural diplomacy, we’re here today not only to celebrate 40 years of accomplishment in
7:05the Arts in Embassies program, but also more broadly to look at the role of arts and culture
7:11in conveying the creativity and freedoms of the United States and in building long-term
7:17understanding among people.
7:20How can we have an authentic international conversation? As Nobel laureate author, Wole
7:29Soyinka said, “Politics polarizes. Art humanizes.” That’s what we’re going to talk about today,
7:38including as many of you as we can. We’re going to begin with a very distinguished panel.
7:43And first, I’d like to tell you a little bit about how we’re going to have this conversation.
7:51I’m going to be directing a question to each panelist. They’re going to answer that question.
7:57I’m going to invite the other panelists to comment. When we finish that round, I might
8:03throw some more questions at you and have a conversation with the panelists, trying
8:09to bring out their expertise.
8:11And then we’re going to move to you. And we’ll invite your questions and your comments from
8:18the floor. Just remember that other people want to comment. So if you start making a
8:23speech, I’ll probably cut you off as politely as I can.
And there are two microphones at the back.
8:31And it’s very important if you will go to the microphone, say your name, any affiliation,
8:37and ask your question, so that this can all be part of the written document.
I also really want to thank Elizabeth Ash
8:46for all the arrangements that she made to pull this great panel together. And I want
8:52to compliment Marcia Mayo and Sally Mansfield, the editors of the very fine book that you’re
8:57going to see soon, or you may have in your hands. And– and then we’ll ask for applause–
9:02Andrew Solomon for a really important essay that will become part of the written documentation
9:10of what is a field and should be recognized as a field. So let’s take them for their good
9:22I also want to thank the Center for Arts & Culture for their co-sponsorship of this and
9:28acknowledge Frank Hodsoll, the President, who’s sitting in the audience, along with
9:33distinguished trustees and staff members of the Center for Arts & Culture.
Now, I believe you all have the bios. But
9:44just to get us oriented to the expertise that’s on our panel, I’ll make a few introductory–
9:52introductions to the panelists. I’m going to do it in alphabetical order, but then I’m
9:57going to mix it up when I ask them questions.
Charles Cowles is the founder and president
10:05of his own gallery, which is in Chelsea in New York City. And he is a trustee of a number
10:11of public arts agencies and a trustee of very important nonprofit cultural organizations,
10:22including the Museum of Modern Art. And for over a decade, he was affiliated with Art
10:27CHARLES COWLES: I have to correct you on one thing. I’m not a trustee of the Museum of
10:30Modern Art. I’m on one of their trustee committees. It’s a conflict of interest for me to be a
10:33trustee. That’s OK.
10:34ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: All right. Thank you, for clarifying that. No one will believe that
10:38you have a conflict of interest.
10:41Karl Hofmann has assumed his duties as Special Assistant to the Secretary and Executive Secretary
10:49to the Department of State in 2002. But before that, he spent two years as Ambassador to
10:55the Republic of Togo. And they’re hosted an artist. And we’re going to hear more about
11:00that. He is one of those that wonderful breed of career foreign service officers who’s held
11:07a variety of positions at the Department of State and also served on the NSC at the White
11:14Michael Kaiser, President of the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. And of course, Michael
11:20oversees all the artistic programming, the fiscal health– which I know includes fundraising,
11:26Michael– of the Kennedy Center, and is really helping it to assume its rightful role as
11:33our national performing arts center.
11:36And as the undersecretary mentioned, he is our cultural ambassador from the U.S. Department
11:41of State, and will be commenting broadly on that role and what he’s observed in some of
11:48his many activities.
11:51Adair Margo, fourth generation Texan, has observed cultural exchange across borders
11:57first-hand. She was also appointed by President Bush as the Chair of the President’s Committee
12:04on the Arts and the Humanities and has been participating directly with the US Mexico
12:10Fund for Culture. Adair’s also a gallery owner. And so she has that perspective on the Arts
12:17in Embassies program, as well as a broad perspective on cultural diplomacy.
Thurman Statom, our artist, renowned artist,
12:30known for his multimedia work. And you’ll see some beautiful illustrations in the book,
12:35with public installations and exhibitions all over the country. And I’ve been struck
12:42not only at how widely you’ve exhibited, but also your personal devotion to arts education
12:48and to introducing youth to arts. And I know we’ll hear more about that, when we hear about
12:54your experience as an artist-in-residence abroad. He’s also been the recipient of several
13:02National Endowment for the Arts awards, and is, as an artist, is a lender to the Arts
13:08in Embassies program.
13:11So we’re going to begin with the first question. And I’m going to address it to Adair. I really
13:16want to start today with the big frame. You chair the President’s Committee. This year,
13:23you accompanied Mrs. Bush to the re-entry of the United States into UNESCO. A very important
13:32development for culture. Would you address, really, what is the importance of cultural
13:38diplomacy programs, such as Art in Embassies and others? And how can we best use arts and
13:46culture to convey U.S. Values and democracy abroad?
ADAIR MARGO: I remember, when I went with
13:52Mrs. Bush to the United States re-entry into UNESCO. And Jim Billington was on our plane.
13:58And he made a comment that I haven’t forgotten. He says, you know, we really need to get better
14:03about communicating all of the United States to all of the world.
And I think Art in Embassies– of course,
14:12from El Paso, Texas, sometimes I believe we need to get better at communicating all of
14:16the United States to all of the United States, because we are so rich, and we’re so diverse,
14:22and we have so many different perspectives. And in fact, just being upstairs in the Ben
14:28Franklin room with Bruce Nowman– I mean, these neon– poking their eyes out, poking
14:35their fingers at each other, and then much more subtle works, I mean, somehow, they all
14:39fit in that environment.
14:42And that’s what, I think, Art in Embassies has done so well is to cast a really broad
14:47net. Being from El Paso where I am Texan, but barely– you lose balance when you’re
14:53in Mexico or New Mexico. But we’ve always participated in Art in Embassies. So they
14:59cast a broad net, I think, for these various voices from across the United States, and
15:07then share that with the world through our embassies, which is really, I think, a brilliant
15:13When you talk about– I wanted to just share one example, because you– I think you asked
15:18me, how do we better use artists to promote U.S. values. And I just got from– I’m going
15:27to use a performing arts example, because it’s been on my mind since being in Mexico
15:32City about a month ago with my husband where Wynton Marsalis was playing.
And he’s a performing artist. But I know many
15:40of you– I visited with you this morning at a reception– the artists, that you have stories
15:44you can share. I know you’re doing the very same thing.
But in watching Wynton Marsalis and those
15:51marvelous jazz musicians perform– not only did they perform for huge audiences, but then
15:59they went and jammed with jazz clubs until 3:00 in the morning. And then they get up
16:06in the morning at 7 o’clock and go to a children’s concert.
And I started thinking, how– you know, how
16:12do they do that? How do they have that stamina? And I realized that it’s because they were
16:18sharing what they loved. They were sharing what they loved with people who really loved
16:23it too. And that’s how they didn’t run out of energy.
And when Wynton Marsalis, when he talked about
16:30what they were doing in jam, and he talked about– he talked about how, in jazz, each
16:39instrument has a lot of ego to it, because you can make a horn sound like your horn,
16:43you make your drums sound like your drums. So you impose– there’s a lot of ego to it,
16:49but there’s also a lot of respect for the other players, because they have their own
16:57And that’s what America’s about. I mean, that’s why, I think, Art in Embassies– it’s not
17:04in a preachy kind of way. But just by sharing that, I think it communicates with this country’s
17:12ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you, Adair. I’m going to ask Karl to pick up on Adair’s
17:16comments and maybe take them a little farther about the significance of using arts and culture.
17:22And maybe you could also address something that the undersecretary brought up. You know,
17:28other countries have really deep policy differences with us right now. Can culture overcome that?
17:36KARL HOFMANN: Thank you, Ellen. Before I start, I would say, just as a– I’m not an artist.
17:43I’m not a gallery owner. But I suppose I could call myself a practitioner of cultural diplomacy
17:49when I was abroad. And I want to say, on behalf of my wife and myself, to all of you who are
17:56artists and all of you who have participated in the program, how honored we are– and I
18:02know I speak for every American ambassador when I say this– how honored we are to be
18:06the temporary custodians of your creative work.
This is a very powerful tool you give us.
18:14It’s a tremendously powerful tool that you give us, that we can put in our toolbox and
18:20use in our efforts to engage peoples around the world, across the spectrum of human interaction.
18:28And I want you to know that we’re very honored that you allow us to do that.
You know, Adair was talking about jazz just
18:37now. And of course, I have spent a lot of my career in Africa, most recently in Togo
18:43in West Africa. And jazz, of course, is, in many ways, inseparable from the African-American
18:54experience. And I wonder if we could– you can’t even conceive of disaggregating Africa
19:02from American culture today.
19:05So we were able to see, in Africa, how we could use art, whether it was the medium of
19:13photographs that Ann Meredith loaned us, or paintings that Karen Gunderson loaned us,
19:19or jazz musicians who visited us as well, we were able to point out that there are these
19:25connections that transcend policy differences. And as ambassadors abroad, as Margaret Tutwiler
19:31said, are always trying to promote American interests and safeguard American values.
We’re always trying to find a way to– while
19:42we forcefully advocate for American policies– to convey that there are many other ways in
19:47which we connect and to build support for what we’re trying to do. And art, music, were
19:54a very effective way of doing that.
19:56I think one particular point I would make in the Togo context. Togo, like many parts
20:01of Africa, suffers from a serious HIV/AIDS problem. And there’s a great stigma attached
20:07to it. Hard to break through that stigma. The government denied the existence of the
20:13problem. People were not willing to deal with those who were HIV positive in a positive
20:18way and allow them to continue to contribute to society, as we know they can.
And we used the photographs that Ann lent
20:25us of HIV positive Americans– big, big blown up photographs were in our residence– to
20:34provoke discussions around this and to make it clear that this was something we were grappling
20:39with. And yes you are grappling with it too in Togo. And it was a very powerful message
20:44that we were able to deploy in support of what we were trying to do.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thanks, Karl. How
20:49about others of you on the broader question of cultural diplomacy. Is it important? How
20:55do we practice it? How could it be better?
CHARLES COWLES: I think it’s extremely important.
21:01My first exposure was through the Museum of Modern Art. In the ’50s, under Nelson Rockefeller,
21:07the Museum started a big program called, The International Council. And they chose people
21:11from around the world, primarily people who were museum trustees around the world, to
21:15become affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art, so that when the museum sent a show overseas,
21:20it would be better received in that country.
And they could smooth the way through the
21:23government problems and things like that. And then, of course, brought those people
21:27in as patrons the museum. There were a lot of left-wing people who criticized the museum
21:34for using art as a tool for diplomacy, but I think it was a great tool. Very truthfully.
21:40ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Well, you’re bringing in the role of other cultural institutions
21:44outside of government.
21:45CHARLES COWLES: Well this actually–
21:45ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: And we’re going to come back to that.
CHARLES COWLES: This sort of preceded this
21:48idea of Art in Embassies, I think.
21:49ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: That’s right. It was a precursor, wasn’t it?
CHARLES COWLES: Yeah.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Michael or– do you
21:56have– do you want to comment on Adair’s descriptions? No? Not yet? Thurman?
THURMAN STATOM: You know, I– I think about
22:08it on a– I mean, it’s obviously very, very important. And I relate to the diplomacy issue
22:14on a very one-on-one basis, as an artist working and, you know, with people. And I found that,
22:21in Mozambique , it was just very– it opened doors, I think, to different sort of sectors,
22:27and then, within that area. And you know, as a vehicle, I think, there’s this potential.
22:34I mean, there were so many outlets opened up through it, that I feel very positive about
22:43ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Well, let’s– speaking of the artist experience, I’m going to jump
22:47back to Karl again, to just tell us a little bit more about what happened when you were
22:52ambassador and Karen Gunderson came as part of the American Artists Abroad Program. Maybe
22:59you want to describe what that is, and tell us what happened. And did it surprise you?
23:06Was it what you thought was going to happen? Did you reach the audience that you hoped
23:10to reach in that residency?
23:12KARL HOFMANN: Well, I think so. I think so. But Karen’s right here, and we should probably
23:15ask her to speak at some point. I’ll tell you about my perspective on it.
Karen Gunderson joined us in Togo in the summer
23:23of 2002, I believe, and from our perspective in the embassy, had a fantastic program. I
23:31mean, a program with fantastic impact.
23:34She worked with some local artists. She got into some practical discussions with them,
23:39helped organize a show. And the best thing about it, the best of all is that she has
23:43maintained contact with them and is still working now through our embassy there to try
23:49and help them further develop their talents. And hopes to be able to help them show some
23:55of their work here in the United States.
23:57And I think that’s a great example of how– as someone was saying earlier– the artistic
24:03experience is really a conversation. I mean, this is so much of what we were presenting
24:08was clearly influenced by some of the things coming out of Africa, in our case, other influences
24:15around the world. It was a two-way street.
So from those two weeks in Togo, I think Karen
24:21laid an important sort of foundation for lasting cultural communication that, I hope, is going
24:30to blossom further. We found it a really positive experience.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Karen, are you near
24:35KAREN GUNDERSON: [INAUDIBLE].
24:37ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Where are you?
24:39KARL HOFMANN: Go ahead. Stand up and say a few word about it.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yeah. I think we should
24:44hear from the artist.
24:45KARL HOFMANN: I’m sorry to do this to you. I’m sorry to do this to you.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Well, let’s hear directly
24:50from you what your experience was and what did you think– what was the conversation
24:57that you were having, people to people, there?
KAREN GUNDERSON: During the workshop itself
25:04with the young artists, I tried to talk to them about women in art. At one point, there
25:15was a young man who was doing kind of generic looking African women. And I took him to task
25:22for it. And we had kind of an argument. My French wasn’t very good, and his English wasn’t
25:30very good, but we had a good talk.
25:34And ultimately, he ended up sending me a great image of a woman. What I said to him was,
25:39your mother– you know, you would care about what your mother looks like. You would care
25:43about your sister. You know, these are individuals. Every African woman doesn’t look the same.
25:50And so then he ended up sending me some other images of– to show me he could do it kind
25:57But they were very talented and very resourceful. And they have such a joy about things and
26:06such a kind of respect that, when I left Togo, I left understanding that, when I think about
26:13Africa, it’s a much different place than I thought of. Because before, I would think
26:18about it being poor people in trouble. Yes, that’s true. But there’s a real spirit there
26:24of people that I really care about and I hope to help. And that’s basically what it gave
26:30me. And I really am grateful for it. Thank you.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Did it change you
26:33and your art to be there?
26:36KAREN GUNDERSON: Oh, I’m so stubborn as an artist, I’m not sure–
–if it did or not. If it did, it’s going
26:43to sink in over time.
26:45ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Uh-huh. Yeah.
26:47KAREN GUNDERSON: Not directly in that–
26:49ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Could you tell us just a little bit more about what Karl mentioned,
26:52which is the ongoing relationship that you’ve had since you left with [INAUDIBLE]?
KAREN GUNDERSON: Well, we have been emailing.
26:59I decided that an important thing to do would be to have an exhibition of this group that
27:06I got close to while I was there. There are about eight of them. The class itself was
27:10about– the workshop itself was about 16 people, I think. And about eight of them connected.
27:16We connected, like, you know, just people do.
And I wanted to be sure that there were women
27:20in the group as well, so I kind of singled out three of the women. And so we’ve got about
27:26five guys and three women. And we’re writing each other by email. And they’re sending me
27:32images of their work.
27:35And I have kind of culled from their work what I think are the best images and made
27:39a CD. And I’m going to be– and I’ve started a letter. And I’m going to be sending this
27:45to different colleges and university galleries throughout the United States and try to get
27:49them a group show, because I really feel that we kind of export our culture, you know, via
27:57us so many different articles into the world. And isn’t it a great thing to have them come
28:02to us, and gain from them? So that’s– and we’ve been having this really nice dialogue.
28:10ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you, Karen. You’ve opened up another really important
28:14subject I’m hoping Michael Kaiser will address.
KAREN GUNDERSON: Good.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Now, Michael, you’re
28:19Cultural Ambassador. You’ve been active in facilitating cultural exchange, and including
28:24the recent visited the Iraqi orchestra to the Kennedy Center. And you’ve mentioned how
28:31cultural diplomacy is a two-way street. And I know you’re working on a new International
28:38Capacity Building Program. So tell us about that.
MICHAEL KAISER: Sure. I have to start by saying
28:43that I work in the performing arts, not the visual arts. So I feel a little bit like the
28:46odd man out today. But there is one major difference between the performing arts and
28:51much of the visual arts world, which is that the performing arts is ephemeral. You give
28:56a performance, and it’s gone. Whereas, for many of you who work in the visual arts, you
29:01create something, and it has lasting value.
So this image– this concern of creating something
29:06that lasts is very, very important to me. And as I was working and discussing with the
29:11State Department the whole concept of cultural ambassadors, I really was concerned with the
29:16notion of someone going off to another country, seeing a concert, and leaving. And was concerned
29:23about what lasting impact do we really have.
I was also concerned that, for many people
29:30in many countries, they feel they get enough American culture. It might be popular culture,
29:34but there’s a concern of how do we do something that supports their culture and really creates
29:40A third factor is that much of the world is changing. And particularly the way the arts
29:46and performing arts are supported throughout much the world is changing. We, in this country,
29:50have never really enjoyed very much government support or central government support. But
29:55in most of the world, that’s how the performing arts have been funded. And yet, most central
29:59governments are cutting back rather substantially on the way they support their arts organizations.
30:06So with all of that in mind, I created a program to help to take American expertise, and how
30:11do you work entrepreneurially to create support for your arts organizations, and how might
30:16you work with arts organizations around the world to support local culture. So rather
30:21than exporting American culture, what we’re supporting is American– what we’re exporting
30:24is American expertise.
30:27The first country we’ve worked on is Mexico. We’ve been working there now for almost a
30:31year, and will continue now. And we’re actually having, I think, quite an important impact.
30:35In Mexico, about 90% of the funding for the arts for government-supported organizations–
30:40which is most of the performing arts organizations– 90% of their funding comes from the government.
30:45The government is cutting back very substantially. And the arts organizations are left without
30:49any knowledge of where to go for funds.
30:52Complicating matters in Mexico is, if you, for example, sell more tickets than you were
30:56budgeted to, you have to give all the money back to the government. So if you are– there’s
31:01very little encouragement to be an entrepreneur in the arts. And if you’re running a ballet
31:06company, or symphony, or opera company, you really can’t build a larger base than the
31:10government’s willing to give you.
31:12So we’ve been working to, on the one hand, train Mexican arts organizations how to become
31:17more entrepreneurial. And on the other hand, working with the Mexican government through
31:21their central funding agency, called Conaculta, to change the laws for the way arts organizations
31:29And I think we’re going to have a fairly substantial impact in that country over the next several
31:33years. Right now, we’re working with a task of 25 arts organizations who now have all
31:38new rules for funding, and who are the right to raise money and the right to sell tickets,
31:42and the right to do subscriptions, and the right to become a little bit more self-sufficient.
31:47And I think, if those 25 organizations prosper– and I think they will– then we will really
31:52change the entire way performing arts organizations in Mexico are funded.
To me, this is a wonderful way for us to be
31:57exporting our expertise. We’re getting better press in Mexico for this project than for
32:02virtually anything else having to do with America at the moment. And it’s something
32:06that I’m very excited about working on with other countries as well, although, we’ll continue
32:11with Mexico for a couple of years. But we’re in discussions with South Africa. And we’re
32:15in discussions with China and with several other countries about how we can use this
32:19kind of project to change the arts landscape and really contribute, as Americans, to the
32:25cultural landscape of foreign countries.
32:27ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Michael, are you– when you’re exporting arts administration
32:30expertise, are you using the expertise of the Kennedy Center, per se? Or are you drawing
32:38on some other cultural institutions? And conversely, do the Mexican arts administrators come here?
32:46Is it an exchange?
32:47MICHAEL KAISER: Right now, the project is run through the Kennedy Center. That will
32:51change as we add countries. So it will be much broader than the Kennedy Center.
There is an exchange now with respect to artists.
33:00We have a ongoing festival, called AmericArts at the Kennedy Center, which includes artists
33:07from Mexico. It’s a look at Latin-American art. And a whole contingent of Mexican artists
33:12have been to the Kennedy Center, as part of this.
In terms of bringing their arts managers to
33:17the Kennedy Center, we can bring very few into a program we have, which is an Arts Management
33:21Training Institute at the Kennedy center. In fact, our first Mexican participant will
33:24be here this September.
33:26But the majority of the work is done with myself and my staff in Mexico. And then we’re
33:31using technology, computer technology. We have web chats and discussions on a regular
33:38basis with the arts leaders in Mexico.
33:40ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: You also mentioned cultural ambassadors, which is a program of
33:45the Department of State. Does everybody know what cultural ambassadors are? OK. I didn’t
33:51think so. Can you explain that a little bit more?
MICHAEL KAISER: Surely. The State Department
33:55has created a problem called, Culture Connect, which has several different kinds of artists–
34:02presently, I think it’s mostly performing artists– working to go abroad and to represent
34:09themselves and their country as they work abroad.
Denise Graves, the great American opera singer,
34:14is a cultural ambassador. Yo-Yo Ma, the great American cellist, is a cultural ambassador.
34:18Frank McCourt, riders, is a cultural ambassador. There are several different people participating
34:25in this program. Each of us gets to create our own project. And for me, the project that
34:30I’ve mentioned in Mexico is what made sense for me to do.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thanks. Adair, I wondered
34:36if you wanted to pick up on that, because you’ve had so much experience in Mexico yourself
34:41on and whether this is a kind of a best practice or model program you could see the US taking
34:50ADAIR MARGO: The Kennedy Center’s?
34:51ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Mm-hm.
34:53ADAIR MARGO: Yeah. I think it’s a wonderful idea. One thing that, you know, with Mexico–
34:59we are so decentralized, as I’ve, you know, communicated. We’re so diverse. And connecting
35:05all these various states or a country who’s used to dealing with administrative culture
35:11with all these various states and helping them navigate connections– it’s all about
35:18connecting artist and connecting organizations. But I’ve heard a lot about the Kennedy Center.
35:25Did you want to know what we’re doing with the President’s Committee?
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: I was trying to give
35:28you the opening.
35:30ADAIR MARGO: Well, one of our areas, when we were asked what we would like to do with
35:37this committee, which is a very nimble committee, without a lot of resources, although we can
35:45bring private resources to the table, one was international relations, beginning with
35:51Mexico. And as our closest neighbor, and since I’m from the border and have known Mexico
35:59for a long time, friends in Mexico– but what we’ve– we had a meeting. Actually, we– just
36:07getting together has a lot– can affect, I think, a lot of change.
Our committee– one of our first meetings,
36:18we had wanted to go to Mexico, but could not meet outside of the country. And so really,
36:21just convened the cultural organizations from Mexico and the United States, the NEA, the
36:28NEH, IMLS in Santa Fe, which is the northern capital of the old Camino Real, the royal
36:38road. So there was this history of connections between Mexico and the United States.
And just that convening, being able to convene
36:48people, called them together, helped things begin to formulate. The Maya exhibit was just
36:54opened here, which was in the works. Rusty Powell joined us there in Santa Fe. But by
37:01all the right players being there, the Diego Rivera Exhibition happened there at that meeting.
37:10And every time we meet, we now, even the projects that we go about, this– we do awards once
37:19a year here in Washington, recognizing U.S. Programs. We have invited Mexico to recognize
37:27some of their programs. So again, it’s about pulling people together, I think, so often.
37:32In fact, one time, I was speaking to the White House personnel. And someone said, well, you’re
37:37a legacy with this committee. What would you want it to be? What do you want to see?
And I really think it’s all about relationships.
37:46It’s hoping that, when the administration’s gone, when I’m gone, when various people are
37:51gone, that enough people will have come together and gotten to know each other and to know–
37:57as the artist who was in Africa who said, I realize they’re not like that, because I
38:02know so and so, or I know so and so. It’s bringing them together enough so that, when
38:08you have policy disagreements or yelling, ranting, and raving about all these things,
38:13that all of us can say, they’re not like that, because I know so and so.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Overcoming what Eli
38:21Vizel might call, “the other.”
38:22ADAIR MARGO: Yeah.
38:23ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yeah.
38:24ADAIR MARGO: Absolutely.
38:25ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: What about some of the others of you on the subject of building
38:29capacity of cultural institutions abroad, or the exchange of arts administrators as
38:36cultural diplomacy and cultural exchange? Anybody want to comment on that? No, not in
38:45particular. We’ll come back to that.
38:47All right. I’m going to turn to Thurman, because I think it’s time to hear from an artist again.
38:52And I know that you participated in the American Artist Abroad Program in Mozambique. So why
39:00don’t you sure some of your experience about that? And I think you might want to show some
39:06THURMAN STATOM: OK. That’s fine. Why don’t you start. You can start with one of the images
39:12Let me think– Mozambique. Let me think. I was– you know, the ambassador had three of
39:19my pieces. And I remember, when I first got involved with Mozambique– or actually, the
39:24Arts in Embassies program– I was so surprised– I was like, why would I– what? They want
39:29one of my pieces?
39:30My dealer calls me up and says they want some of my work. And I’m like, what? Where? What
39:35country is this? I’m thinking– you know what I’m thinking. Then my next thought is, can
39:39I stay at their house, you know? That’s what I’m thinking.
Do you think I could stay at the embassy?
39:44Then I’m going, well, you know what? The government wants some of my work? Anything with art and
39:48the government, I’m a player for. That’s a good idea. You know, arts and the government.
39:54That’s good. Maybe it can lead to something.
And then, after about six years, lo and behold,
39:58I get a call. And they want to me to come to Mozambique. So I did about 12 workshops.
40:04I says, let’s do a lot of things. Let’s do something every day, something different.
40:10And the embassy formatted me. They basically set up different formats. The workshops varied
40:16from nine children to over 240 children in a workshop. There were totally– after each
40:24workshop, I’d died and went to heaven. I mean, I think–
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: You did?
THURMAN STATOM: I did. They were just so–
40:30just so incredibly– what I learned– the content of each workshop was– you can just
40:36go through them to the next one– the content of the workshops vary tremendously from–
40:44at one point, I was with these artists. And we were trying– we were looking at each other.
40:48And I says, how come– why are you here for? What are you doing here for? And they said,
40:52well, we came because they have these big meals, you know?
And I went– and I didn’t know you were going
40:57to be here. I says, what are we going to talk about? So we went, well, let’s talk about
41:01money. All of a sudden, everyone was real interested in me.
And we addressed just survival techniques,
41:08you know, what– we addressed gallery structures, you know, what do they sell. The next thing
41:14you know, we’re talking about tourist artwork, as opposed to traditional sculpture. You know,
41:20each one varied quite– this group here is a group of local artists from Maputo. And
41:26I’d say half of them were better than me. I ended up being the teacher. I mean, they
41:30ended up teaching me about what to make.
41:33And we basically worked for three days, and we collaborated. Anyone could work on anyone’s
41:39artwork. And we ended up doing installations. This– they wanted to learn how to work in
41:46glass. And I went, what do you want to work in glass for? And then, the next thing you
41:52know, they were making my pieces better than myself, you know? You know?
And so we exchanged technical stuff. You know,
41:59we talked about– at one point, we were at an internet cafe looking at the value of their
42:03work in the States, as opposed to that, and setting up systems for how do we communicate–
42:10how do they communicate with me. You know? How could they sell their work? You know?
42:17Just things like this.
42:19So they vary quite a bit, you know? Some of the workshops were incredibly rural, you know,
42:26where their people didn’t even have paper at one point. And one workshop, we had to–
42:32there were so many participants, that down I lost count. Over 240.
And we had to make– they wanted to paint.
42:41Everyone wanted to paint. So I went, oh, my god. What do you do? You know? So we made
42:44brushes out of wood. We just used the trees.
And at one point, I was doing yoga exercises
42:51and as sources of inspiration. And then we did dances. And then we had exhibitions. And
42:56it was just really, really fantastic, you know?
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Sounds like you were
43:00there for a year.
43:01THURMAN STATOM: Well, you know, every day, you know, every day, we– I went with the
43:06intent of taking a second trip. So it was sort of like a field trip inside. And so we
43:14scheduled, from the first day on, every day, something. And you know, at one point, we
43:19did a TV show, you know, with kids. And that was hysterical, because I made them all work
43:24blindfolded, you know, which was really fantastic.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Why did you do that?
43:29THURMAN STATOM: You know, the– this is actually a shot during that time. Part of the– actually,
43:36I had to contend with the announcer person that worked there. And she was so controlling
43:41that, when the kids couldn’t see what she was doing, we were able to do something interesting,
43:46ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Ah-ha.
43:47THURMAN STATOM: You know? And–
43:48ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: I knew there was an interesting answer to that question.
THURMAN STATOM: It was to keep her– it was
43:53to keep the announcer under control.
43:54ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Oh.
43:55THURMAN STATOM: But each situation, you know, there was– you know, the diplomatic corps
44:02was amazing. They– at many times, you know, I made them take off their hats and become
44:09workshop sort of organizers and participants, and particularly with a lot of people. And
44:14they basically formatted me to do whatever I wanted with the group. They–
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: They didn’t tell you
44:21what to do, as an artist in residence.
44:22THURMAN STATOM: They didn’t tell me what to– exactly. And I was constantly going, what
44:24do you want me to do? What do you expect out of me? And from it– you know, I stay in touch
44:32in a very ethereal way with all the different people.
You know, the follow-up is difficult, because
44:38I have trouble with names. So I was talking to a guy for about an hour a month ago. He
44:44calls me collect. And it took me a half hour to figure out who he was.
You know? And then I– and so I have their
44:50art. I put the art they gave me up. And I use that to identify people. I go, which painting
44:55are you giving me? He says, oh, that– OK, and now I remember, you know? And you know,
45:00there’s– the potential is just unbelievable, you know?
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thurman, how do you
45:05think their views of the United States changed? Did they change? Or was it their view of you
45:13THURMAN STATOM: I think–
45:15ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: As an individual American?
THURMAN STATOM: You know, I think that, depending
45:22on the region. In the city, I think their view of me and of America changed a lot, because
45:30I think they looked at it as more of a resource and a venue, at least this country as a venue,
45:38for actually being able to make better work and surviving.
You know? I think– and Maputo and Mozambique,
45:46that’s particularly– that’s relevant in the sense that a lot of the artists I discovered–
45:53you know, when they went independent in ’75, they were socialistic. And a lot of the artists
45:59went– when they became a democracy in ’75, a lot of the artists never realized that,
46:06you know, that they could actually increase the value of the work.
And that’s one point that came out of it.
46:15But I think it was a combination of me and– you know. I think that the fabric, which I–
46:23and I feel that, as an artist, the fabric of what goes on in these workshops is really
46:28sort of a foundation, you know, for a lot of the activities that happen, you know?
I actually hear from a lot of performing artists
46:38too, oddly enough. And you know, I see– I see a– it’s amazing, because, one of the
46:45most amazing things that’s exciting for me is the potential of this kind of programming,
46:51particularly, you know, because there’s an embassy in every country. And– but anyway.
46:55ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yeah. Michael, dive in.
MICHAEL KAISER: Yeah. I just– again, from
47:00the performing arts perspective, I think what Thurman said was just so important, is that
47:04you never really know what’s going to come out of these workshops. You can’t program
47:08it. It’s not– it’s not a specific that you can say, we’re going to go here and do this.
47:13And this is going to be the outcome.
47:15The most memorable trip I ever took– I used to run the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,
47:19African-American organization. And we went to Israel. And the learning that went on both
47:25sides was really quite astonishing, both what our audiences learned, but also what my dancers
47:30learned, what my crew learned, what I learned in that interchange.
We could never have predicted that going in,
47:36but we knew it would be exciting. And we knew it would be important. And it was really important.
47:41And that, I think, is one of the great important values of arts exchange is it’s not– you
47:48don’t know how you’re going to influence people’s lives, but you are going to influence people’s
47:54And all the travels I did with the Alvin Ailey Company, really, the extraordinary amount
47:58I learned, that my dancers learned, and that the countries learned, we could not have programmed.
48:03It’s not where we went. We went, because we were paid a fee to go. But boy, was it important
48:06that we went.
48:07ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: And Michael, when you went with Alvin Ailey, or recently, in
48:10this Mexican capacity project, do you think that the people in other countries change
48:19their minds about the United States? Or about individual Americans? Or about American art?
48:25MICHAEL KAISER: I don’t think it’s as simplest as saying, you go, you do a performance, and
48:28everyone thinks about you differently. I believe the same way I believe that you don’t expose
48:34a child once to art, and all of a sudden, they want to become artists. I believe it’s
48:38a question of something habitual. If we habitually allow people to see a different part of ourselves,
48:44and to see who we are, and to see the diversity of who we are, we influence the way we are
48:49But I don’t believe it’s a one-time occurrence. I don’t believe you go and do a performance,
48:53and all of a sudden, someone thinks about you differently. I think it has– I think
48:56they see another side of you, and then another side of you, and another side of you. And
48:59you start to– they start to appreciate you as a whole person.
I should say it’s true in reverse. When we
49:05start to see people from other countries, and we see the art they produce, and we start
49:09to see the many different sides of their work, we all of a sudden understand them in a different
49:14way as well. So I believe it has to do with volume and with different perspectives and
49:19different kinds of art. I don’t think it’s as simple as saying, send over piece of art,
49:23and we’ll change the world.
49:24ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: And maybe it has to do with persistence.
MICHAEL KAISER: Absolutely.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Karl, how about your
49:29experience of that? And also, what was it like to have an artist make you take your
49:34hat off, or your suit, as a diplomat?
49:36KARL HOFMANN: Well, it’s hard. We don’t like to roll up our sleeves, so it’s hard. It was
49:41an accomplishment. Picking up on what Michael just said, I think he’s actually right, of
49:48course. You don’t have one interaction and change the way the other thinks of you. And
49:54that, ideally, we do this as an accretion. You’re constantly adding to this, constantly
49:59expanding the way others think of us, and hopefully, in a positive way.
That’s the ideal. Of course, we know that
50:07there are resource constraints. We can’t do this as often as we want. We don’t do it as
50:11extensively as we want. None of us, I think, is happy with the level to which we’re able
50:16to do this sort of thing.
50:19And of course, the converse is true. There are large– certainly not in Israel, or in
50:24Europe, or in many parts of the developed world– but in the developing world, there
50:29may be large groups of people who do form their opinion of the United States not from
50:35Baywatch, because they don’t look at a television, they don’t have access to electricity, bought
50:39from the human interaction they have with one American, which could be a Peace Corps
50:43volunteer. Or it could be an artist coming through. Or it’s an American diplomat, or
50:50And that’s a challenge. I think– we believe– I think this is our optimistic side– we all
50:57believe that, if given more time and more interaction, we can always transcend differences
51:03and make the other understand, just as we understand the other better. But it’s a challenge
51:10to do that, when we don’t have the opportunity to interact as often as we want. We don’t
51:15have the ability to put people out there and to fertilize one another culturally. And damage
51:22can be done, obviously, to the image of the United States, based on individual interactions
51:28that sometimes form a lasting impression. And that’s a challenge.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Did you want to comment?
51:34ADAIR MARGO: And then more interactions. [INAUDIBLE] I mean, it’s human life.
THURMAN STATOM: Yeah. Right.
ADAIR MARGO: I mean, it’s what you said to
51:40me. I mean, how we misunderstand each other, or one interaction might not be good. But
51:46then, that’s why it’s important to have so much of this going on, especially choosing
51:51people who really want to share what they love. I think that, there, you cannot go wrong,
51:55when you really have people who want to share what they love with other people who love
51:59the same thing. But they’re inspired by their culture, by their textiles, or whatever. And
52:06it’s never a giving or a taking, or a preaching and a receiving, but it’s this constant energy
52:13KARL HOFMANN: That’s right.
52:15ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: I’m going to get Charles in on this, from the gallery owner point of
52:20CHARLES COWLES: From a gallery owner point of view. I moved my gallery about three years
52:22ago to Chelsea. And it’s a very remote location in Manhattan. The only people who come there
52:27are people who want to look at art.
52:30We get 2,000 to 3,000 visitors on a typical Saturday in the gallery. And I would say that
52:3525% of them are from overseas. And they’re there because they want to look at art. They
52:40want to see what’s going on. They also want to tell us what they’re up to, what they’ve
52:44seen, what they’re doing, things like that. We get a lot of people coming, obviously,
52:48who are artists, who want us to look at their work, which we try to do. But we can’t very
52:52well accommodate them all, because we only represent 20 people.
But we also work with our artists. We help
52:57place them in galleries overseas. We place them with the collectors overseas. We do exhibitions
53:03overseas. Like next year– not next year, at the end of this year, November– I’m doing
53:07the Paris photo exhibition and taking with me the artists that I represent who do photographic
53:13work. And that’s a way of, sort of, taking the works overseas and showing them and things
53:17We, of course, work with ambassadors that are brought to us by the Art in Embassies
53:21program. And we lend regularly, if we can, to various embassies. Not necessarily for
53:27sales, although, I’ve had a few sales that way. Not many. But I think it’s really important
53:32that we get this interchange going back and forth.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Well, you mentioned
53:37you didn’t get sales from participating by being a lender. Why are you a lender? Why
53:43are you so involved in the visual arts exchanges?
CHARLES COWLES: Because I think it’s good
53:45for the artist works to be seen overseas. I think it’s good for the embassies to feel
53:51more human. I think it adds a certain quality of life for the people who are visiting the
53:57embassy, as well as the people who live in the embassy. I think it’s really important,
54:00through, for the artist to have their work exposed overseas and for the people overseas
54:05to see there’s something else going on in the world, other than what they know at home.
54:08ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Mm-hm. Well, a couple of you– thank you. Karl?
KARL HOFMANN: Well, I was just going to add
54:13on the point of trying to make us more human abroad. That can’t be overlooked. You know,
54:20all of you who know, who visited American embassy abroad, know the rigors of security
54:25under which we have to live now. And despite the very best efforts of the folks in Overseas
54:33Buildings Operations, those who sort of provide our secure facilities and make sure that we
54:38have what we need to do our jobs, there is the perception that we sometimes live and
54:44work in bunkers. And sadly, we are brought to that requirement in this day and age.
And so anything that we can do to humanize
54:53us, to make us more accessible to our foreign interlocutors, is a good thing. And sometimes
55:00it’s art. And sometimes, it’s other things. I mean, trying to get over this image that
55:04we are hunkered down behind walls is very important. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy.
55:10ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: You mentioned how we need to do more. We wish we could do more.
55:14We should be doing more. Adair did too. What do you think? Is there a role or even a responsibility
55:22of other cultural organizations in the U.S. To be part of this overall effort?
KARL HOFMANN: I’m sure there is. And perhaps
55:31many of our guests here today would have views on that too. I mean, Michael talked about
55:37the difference between the performing arts and the visual arts. And obviously, Art in
55:42Embassies has been, you know, focused on visual arts. But there’s great scope for a lot of
55:48work in the performing arts.
55:51But we know that that’s an expensive proposition. Moving the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe around
55:56the world is an expensive proposition. And finding the resources to do that is a challenge
56:01for all of us. I know.
56:03ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: We haven’t talked about the role of commercial culture or popular
56:08culture in cultural exchange and cultural diplomacy. Is there a role? Or are we more
56:15trying to balance out the huge role that it has, by virtue of its ability to reach millions
56:22of people through the media?
56:24KARL HOFMANN: Well, it’s undeniable that it has a role. Whether it’s always a positive
56:28one is the question, I suppose. But we know that American popular culture has tremendous
56:34influence around the world.
56:38And I don’t think we should think of what we’re talking about here today as a competition
56:42for that, that that’s bad, and what we’re talking about here is good. No. I mean, these
56:47are all ways in which America presents itself to the world.
I think it’s good to speak about what we’re
56:54speaking about here, in terms of this dialogue of cultures. And then our art is enriched
57:00by the experience of others. Clearly, we’re country that’s enriched by the experience
57:03of others. We are a nation of immigrants.
And popular culture doesn’t work quite that
57:08way, or doesn’t seem to work quite that way. I don’t know. I’m sure others have views on
57:13that. But that’s a challenge. That’s a challenge.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Michael, can I get
57:17you to comment on this one?
57:20MICHAEL KAISER: Sure. I’ve lived several places abroad and worked several places abroad. And
57:26my experience was that many people who I worked with felt they got their American culture
57:32through the popular culture, through films, through rock music, through television shows.
57:38I can remember working in South Africa where, every Tuesday night, every restaurant in Johannesburg
57:43had to close because Dallas was on television. And no one went out, so that there was no
57:48reason to have a restaurant open on Tuesdays.
And I believe that what we’re trying to do
57:56in the not-for-profit arts is different from the for-profit arts. The for-profit arts are
58:00creating their work. And if it happens to get abroad and be sold, that’s fine.
But I feel like, in the work we do in the
58:08not-for-profit arts in cultural exchanges, we have an actual motive for going abroad.
58:14We’re trying to make an impression. We’re trying to explain who we are as people. And
58:19I think it is different.
58:22And we have to be very careful, though, how we introduce ourselves as we go abroad, because
58:28we don’t want to be perceived as saying to people, we think this is what is good, and
58:32we want you to see it in a very didactic way. What we really are trying to say is, this
58:37is who we are, and we would like to explain who we are to you. And how we present ourselves
58:43abroad, I think, is absolutely essential, if our art is going to be appreciated and
58:47if this exchange is going to be valuable.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: And what makes it
58:51MICHAEL KAISER: There’s an arrogance– the lack of arrogance. The lack of– the lack
58:56of saying that this is what we consider good in America. But also, I find the tremendous
59:03role of exchange– of collaboration between American and international arts organizations
59:09is, perhaps, the most fruitful way of working. When you can work with an arts organization
59:14abroad and bring your art and your values and teach them, while you’re learning their
59:20art and their values and working together, you appear so much less arrogant than if you
59:24just come and say, here is what we do. We think this is great. You should too.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Mm-hm. Ask Charles.
59:29CHARLES COWLES: You mentioned the word “commerce” a minute ago. I wonder, when you’re moving
59:33a big troupe of performers through a country, or when you’re moving a very valuable painting,
59:39if maybe local art handlers, maybe local organizers, things like that, don’t also benefit from
59:44learning about the way we do things.
59:46MICHAEL KAISER: Some of the greatest experiences I’ve had has been working with backstage crews
59:51in theaters around the world. I remember taking American Ballet Theatre to Japan. And our
59:58languages are so different, but working together, we just had this remarkable collaboration.
60:05And I do think we influenced the way those people who worked backstage thought about
60:09us, just because of the close proximity in which we worked for seven days.
Similarly, at the Kennedy Center now, we bring
60:16the Kirov Opera and Ballet now every year to the Kennedy Center. And most of their technical
60:22staff and crew speaks only Russian. And all of my staff does not speak Russian. And yet,
60:28as we’ve now been in the– we’re now in the fourth year of the relationship, and it’s
60:32just remarkable to see, year by year, we don’t need translators anymore. You know?
We did in the first year. We don’t in the
60:39fourth year. We’re building bridges between people who get to work together and now just
60:45work together in whatever way they do, what they do, without translation. To me, this
60:50is really the best of cultural exchange, because it’s very, very meaningful, and meaty, and
60:56deep, and not superficial.
60:57ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: You know, you’re making me wonder– because I’ve heard this in other
61:01places– whether the whole idea of “we export our culture, and then maybe we’ll invite other
61:07cultures to perform or show their art,” whether that is a model that is passe, and whether
61:15the real cultural conversation of now and the future is actual collaboration and creating
61:23MICHAEL KAISER: I think it is, to some extent. But in the end, artists have to do what they
61:28think is their art. And you don’t want to force an artist to collaborate, simply because
61:32it’s good. If an artist has a personal vision, that’s the way they have to work.
Where it does work to have a collaboration
61:40is when two artists or two arts organizations have some mutual ambition and a mutual vision.
61:47I don’t think you want to force this. I think this has to come naturally.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yeah. Thurman?
THURMAN STATOM: I was thinking, just the act
61:55of engaging. And however, whichever direction it goes, whether you’re importing or exporting,
62:00is just something to work from. And it’s so personal per person.
You know, I was also thinking about perception,
62:10of how, when you were talking about just how I’m perceived, how I’m perceived as an artist.
62:20And I had to reevaluate when I went to Mozambique. And I did about eight other countries, also.
62:29And one was a Islamic country. And how was I perceived and how did I think of myself,
62:38based on the information I was given here, was totally different than what happened there.
62:42You know? And I found that the receptivity to whatever it is I’m interested in doing
62:52was just very high, you know?
62:53MICHAEL KAISER: If I could ask you one point.
THURMAN STATOM: Yeah.
MICHAEL KAISER: It was really funny for me,
62:58in a way. I went to Baghdad last September to bring the Iraqi symphony here. And in my
63:03first meeting with the heads of the symphony, I through we were going to get into all sorts
63:08of cultural issues and whatever. And the only thing they were concerned with was how much
63:11rehearsal time they’d have on the stage, which is the exact same thing that any American
63:15orchestra cares about, or any German orchestra cares about, or any Swedish orchestra cares
63:20You know, artists are artists. And we come, sometimes, with these expectations that some
63:25people are going to be so different from each other. And in the end, I find that most artists
63:29have the exact same concerns wherever they are. And that’s one of the great learning
63:32experiences of exchange.
63:34ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you. Charles?
In the case of this exchange, what did they
63:38gain by coming here?
63:42MICHAEL KAISER: I think one important thing they gained was a world awareness, or at least
63:48this country’s awareness that there is contemporary culture in Iraq. That we read so much about
63:54looted ancient artifacts. But there actually is a contemporary culture and contemporary
63:59wonderful artistic culture in Iraq.
64:02The orchestra itself gained the ability to make a case for its need for new music, new
64:09instruments, whatever. And left here with all new instruments and a new grand piano
64:13and a new music library. But most importantly, I think, left with a collaboration that will
64:19continue not just with our organization and our orchestra, but with others in the United
64:23States where they are now collaborating. They’re now performing more places. And they left
64:30with a sense that their organization has a life to it and has a reason for existing.
64:36ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yeah. Thank you.
64:37MICHAEL KAISER: And it’s a very potent thing.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: It’s really time for
64:42us to turn this conversation over to you. I did want to just provoke one other question,
64:48and then I’ll hope that you will pick up on a lot of these threads about the roles and
64:52responsibilities of other organizations in exchange state arts agencies, included the
65:01role and the influence of the commercial sector, and any of the other things that you’d like
65:06to talk about or post.
65:07But I just realized that three of our panelists represent Federal entities. And I’m wondering–
65:18and we’ve also talked about how important this is, and there’s not enough of it going
65:22on. What is the role of other Federal agencies? What about the National Endowment for the
65:32Arts? What about the Library of Congress? What about the U.S. Department of Agriculture?
65:44In your– you know– in relationship with the endowments, maybe you could address that
65:50a little bit, Adair.
65:52ADAIR MARGO: Well, of course, I love seeing the arts integrated into all of it. Sometimes,
65:56I think, in this country, we become so specialized that we break things out. And so they become
66:03And so, you know, we were talking about this wonderful NEA program about homecoming, you
66:09know, riding and people coming back from the war. I mean, whatever we do, it should be
66:13integrated. I don’t see it as policy in the arts and the arts are soft diplomacy.
You know, Tony Garza said, that sounds dismissive.
66:24It’s not soft diplomacy, it’s effective diplomacy. I mean, I really– I would love to see more
66:31of a cross-fertilization of these artists and the arts and everything, because it’s
66:38part of being alive. It’s not a separate part, it’s part of being alive.
And I keep coming back to the individual artist,
66:46because I do think, in our country, sometimes, when we’re so rich and we have so many organizations
66:52and we have beautiful instruments and we have beautiful concert halls and all these things,
66:58that it’s so easy, without wanting to, to just communicate superiority. And to have
67:06individual artists who are in Togo or in wherever they are working on a human level– that the
67:14arts is a human response to the wonder of being alive and responding to whatever it
67:21is, the wind, or the animals, it’s a human response to the wonder of being alive.
And I think that’s individual artists. And
67:29we can’t lose that in the organizational part, which is wonderful, and we want all these
67:33things, and we want technical help for organizations, but we can’t lose that key human connection,
67:43that it’s not the United States or– I mean, we’re all so– we’re all human beings. I got
67:49off the subject.
67:52ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: I hope that will inspire a number of questions and comments. And I’m
67:58expecting you to use the microphones and give us your expertise and also ask any of the
68:06panelists any questions. Penny, you’re going to have to go to the microphone. So we’ll
68:13give people a little time to get there, but don’t be afraid to line up, so we can use
68:18our time well.
68:21PENNY OJEDA: I’m Penny Ojeda, the International Coordinator at the Arts Endowment. And I can’t
68:26pass up Ellen’s cue there about other government agencies to say that our chairman, Dana Joya,
68:34couldn’t be here this afternoon, but I just want to communicate to all of you something
68:39that I’ve heard him say repeatedly in meetings and conversations.
One of his biggest surprises when he came
68:46to Washington from California, where he was a well-known poet and nationally known, and
68:53previously had worked in New York, when he came to Washington, one of his biggest surprises
68:57was the very small level of the almost nonexistent budget in the arts endowment and generally
69:05in Washington, the low level of international exchange in the arts and culture.
And while our budget at the Arts Endowment
69:13is modest, but growing this year– we have a request that is $18 million higher for 2005–
69:22we are looking to expand and implement new international partnerships at the Arts Endowment.
69:29I think, sometimes having worked for many years at the Endowment in this area now, I
69:34find that one of the biggest challenges is actually our own governmental bureaucratic
69:42obstacles that we need to overcome and figure out how to work together more cooperatively.
69:50So I think, at the Arts Endowment anyway, there is a very positive attitude, very much
69:54an interest in engaging with the State Department, with other government agencies, and looking
69:58for ways to increase international exchange. And I know that our chairman would say that,
70:02if he were here. And it’s important that people know that the Endowment, while our focus is
70:09domestic, we do support international exchange for 2004.
We have a program working in cooperation with
70:18the Open World Leadership Center to expand exchange with Russia. We’re doing work with
70:23Mexico. And we’re looking for creative ways to take resources and expand them to do expensive
70:31international work. That’s what it comes down to. It is very costly. So we look forward
70:36to hearing more possibilities for cooperation.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Now, Penny, before
70:40I let you sit down, would you tell everybody a little bit about what’s happening at states,
70:48and at the grassroots, and maybe Jonathan Katz and Bob Lynch and some others of you
70:52who are working more broadly can describe that too. Because, you know, we’ve talked
70:57about some very, very important initiatives that come from federal agencies and the private
71:03sector. But there’s a lot going on, sometimes, in not even an organized fashion around the
71:11PENNY OJEDA: There’s a lot going on very organically. And I would say, probably, most of it’s going
71:15on at the local level. There’s a lot of international exchange among small, community-based organizations.
71:23Much of it has to do with the more recent immigrations and people connecting back to
71:29their community of origin.
71:31The Endowment worked for a number of years to encourage state arts agencies to do more
71:36international work. And though, now, a lot of states arts agencies budgets are suffering
71:43great duress, there are a number of them that are still doing international work. Ohio is
71:48the champion. They’ve had an excellent international program for, I don’t know, probably a good
71:54They have actual cultural agreements between the state government and the city of Argentina.
72:00I think they have one with Chile. They’ve had them in the past with Japan. Very active
72:05international program in the state of Ohio. Other states have programs that are more targeted.
72:14And I don’t know. If Jonathan’s here, he might be able to comment on that.
And an exciting aspect of international work
72:24that has increased in the last few years is the, sort of, more official dialogue and engagement
72:31bodies that are convening around international issues. And there’s an organization called,
72:36the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, which are the, sort
72:41of, peer organizations to the National Endowment for the Arts that was founded about three
72:48years ago, I guess, and has had their second general assembly in Singapore this past fall.
72:58And Jonathan attended that.
73:00It’s a very good information exchange for national agencies to know what’s going on
73:08in other parts of the world, other countries. They have an excellent online bulletin that
73:14comes out every couple of weeks, called ACORN, which I encourage you to subscribe to, if
73:18you’re interested in this, because it’s a good compendium.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thanks.
PENNY OJEDA: And Bob can give you the lowdown
73:24on what locals are doing.
73:26ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Bob Lynch?
73:28BOB LYNCH: One of the things that Americans for the Arts– or the thing that Americans
73:32for the Arts focuses on is domestic. We’re trying to get more resources for arts and
73:37arts education into American communities. So international is not the focus.
However, along the way, what happens is that
73:45you see– and we have seen– the hunger and the interest in city after city all across
73:50America. And the point of that– I think, the main point is, they tend to end up doing
73:55it independently. And they’re looking for ways to do it more collaboratively, Federal,
74:02State, Local. And I think there’s huge potential there, when I think that it hasn’t been the
74:08But even without it being the focus, there have been major collaborations with Northern
74:12Ireland, with Mexico, with Australia, with Israel, with China over the years. And that
74:19has been largely self-funded by the cities. Although, we had a terrific partnership with
74:24the National Endowment for the Arts for years through Americans for the Arts partnering
74:28on Northern Ireland issues. But largely, self-funded.
And continuing, I think that there’s a huge
74:35opportunity for a continuing and growing partnership and dollars from the local point of view to
74:43get this happening on a much wider scale. The cities also take part in things like sister
74:49cities programs and independent artist exchanges. And then the artists themselves tend to–
74:55and the arts administrators themselves tend to continue on their own.
The last thing that I’d just say, to Michael’s
75:01point earlier, is that the thing that Americans for the Arts has been asked the most about
75:06and what we end up doing ourselves is about arts administration. Arts administration information
75:12largely about how the American art system is funded. And there’s great myths about how
75:17it’s entirely privately funded and less reliant on earned income. And we have a lot of things
75:24that we can provide as help that way, as well as learning on our own.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you. Yes? Please
75:31say your name.
75:33AUDIENCE: Hi. Yes. William Swatcharneck. I’m a visual artist, a painter. I wanted to mention
75:40a couple of other potential vehicles for engagement. And I’ll just relate from my own experience.
75:49In the 1980s, I was a Fulbright fellow in Spain. And as a result of that, the cultural
75:55attache in Barcelona knew about my work and requested me to go down to Honduras in 1991
76:03to– there used to be a program called, Arts America. And I hope that some sort of equivalent
76:09of it will end up being revitalized. That was through the United States Information
76:15Agency, which has now become subsumed under the State Department.
And among the things I was asked to do was
76:24to give a painting workshop at the National Art School. And about half the students didn’t
76:31even have paints. And for about 30 years, I’ve been making a lot of my own art materials.
76:37I know a fair bit about the use of indigenous materials.
And I ended up going back to Honduras in ’95
76:45with another Fulbright, actually. Stayed there seven years. I went there to paint. The grant
76:52was only nine months, actually, but I stayed on. I went there to paint and also to work
76:57with the art school. And I ended up working with schools all over the country who couldn’t
77:02afford art materials. I showed them how to make their own, using indigenous practices
77:06that had to do with their own culture.
77:08And so this became a sort of reverse cultural exchange where I was encouraging artists,
77:14art students who, in many cases, were otherwise being so influenced by the American or European
77:21model to give more value to what comes out of their own culture. And so a lot of rich
77:32experiences came of that. And I started a program, actually, called the Latin American
77:37Art Resource Project, with that in view.
77:40And as I said, I stayed there for seven years. And I was tremendously enriched by it. And
77:46engagement took place on a really profound level all through not only Honduras, all through
77:52Central America and the Caribbean as result of that.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: So I want to recommend the Fulbright
77:57as another avenue.
77:58ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yes, that’s right. And a good example– yours is a good example
78:01as artist, as educator, and diplomat. Claire?
CLAIRE FRONVILLE: Thank you, Ellen. My name
78:10is Claire Fronville. I’m with the Center for Arts and Culture, but I wanted to put on a
78:14different batch of affiliation, and that is of the private foundation sector, to keep
78:20that in mind as another important source and maybe a quieter one than the Federal, or State,
78:27Local governmental source of fostering international cultural exchange.
While private foundations give approximately
78:37$3.5 billion in assistance and in support throughout this country, a fraction of that
78:44goes toward international arts exchanges. However, within some foundations that are
78:50also operating foundations, it is so interwoven in the fabric of it, of their organizational
78:57activities across their sectors, speaking with greatest familiarity from the Getty,
79:04which was my former employer, with the conservation institute, the research institute, and the
79:10museum, international activity is such an important mission of each of those pillars
79:17of the Getty.
79:18For five years, it’s maintained silent and constant working relationships with China,
79:24for example, to develop the China principles, which now guide all state-sponsored preservation
79:30and historic restoration. That’s one example. But I just wanted to raise that as another
79:35important factor in this equation. Thank you.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yeah. Thank you. Thank
79:38you. Very good point. Yes, sir?
79:41JESUS MOROLES: Jesus Moroles, from Texas. I’m a granite sculptor. I just want to say
79:48from experience that I’m kind of, in the world of sculpture, appalled at how much we don’t
80:00do for other countries.
80:02I know I’m invited to different countries to work. And not just to go work over there,
80:08but actually to live with the people. And I just don’t see it coming the other way.
80:15I think that we’re such a rich country and that we have the resources. And it’s almost
80:21like I’m an ambassador. And the other people are ambassadors for their country. That why
80:26can’t we bring people over here and do the same thing?
And we actually do work and leave work in
80:34these countries. And that represents us there forever. We’re in northern China. 500 miles
80:42northeast of Beijing, a world sculpture park just opened. They’ve been inviting people
80:48for the last 10 years from all over the world.
Every country’s represented there. And they
80:52fund this. They bring people in, and supply all the materials, and put them up. And then
80:58they end up with this huge undertaking.
81:02And they’re doing this in every city. Every city in China is doing this. And in India.
81:09And in Egypt. I’ve done it on the Aswan River. And so I just say, I think that we should
81:18somehow organize something that goes the other way. I think that we can’t have a border coming
81:24this way. We need to open our borders in both directions.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you. Does anyone
81:29want to comment?
81:30ADAIR MARGO: Ask him what he does though, because he– tell them what you do, Jesus.
81:34JESUS MOROLES: I have a cultural center outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico where I feel like
81:42we’re not doing enough. And I call it my back pocket foundation. But any time I have anything
81:49extra, we do– and it’s primarily just for artists from other countries. So we’ve invited
81:5518 Koreans to come over. And we had an exhibition– a Peruvian came and lived and worked in the
82:05studio for a year. Chinese had artists in residence programs. And I just finished an
82:11exhibition from Shandong Province where it’s called True Words of contemporary wood carvers
82:17from Shandong Province. And it’s called True Words, because they’re all deaf mutes.
And so– you know. And we published a book
82:25that it’s world premiered at my place. And now I’m traveling around to museums. And I
82:31know that, if I can do it with no resources, I know that we can do it with a lot of resources.
82:36So I just think that we need to do more.
82:39ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you, Jesus. Anybody else on the panel want to comment
82:42or respond? Yeah, Michael?
82:45MICHAEL KAISER: I, of course, agree that we could do more. I think one of the things that’s
82:49different, though, is that, in this country, the arts are so decentralized, whereas, in
82:52so many other countries, particularly those countries where the government is a key funding
82:57source, the artistic decisions, artistic projects are more centralized.
I think there actually is a lot of art and
83:03artists coming to this country, but we just don’t know about them, because when one thing’s
83:07happening in one city and one thing’s happening in another city– and we have an awful lot
83:11of performing artists coming to the Kennedy Center, but that doesn’t necessary affect
83:14the whole country. It’s just known here in Washington. So I think that part of it has
83:18to do with the decentralized way we fund and work in the arts in this country.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yes. Yes, sir?
WILLIS “BING” DAVIS: Hi. My name is Willis
83:25″Bing” Davis from Dayton, Ohio. Professor emeritus from Central State University and
83:31HBCU. Before making my comment, I move to make a statement.
Having served as Vice Chair of the Ohio Arts
83:40Council on a Democratic and Republican governor, having worked with the National Endowment
83:44and Expansion Arts, having served as a chair in past, present, of National Conference of
83:51Artists, this is the most talented, inclusive gathering of artists I’ve ever had a chance
84:00to be with in my 42-year career. And I think it speaks to the fact that the program was
84:08looking at the quality of the work of the artist, and not so much of their ethnic background
84:13and geographical region. But I’ve been inspired and almost ready to start my teaching career
84:19over again, after today’s session.
84:21But my comment was is that, I know, coming out of a pretty good academic school, DePaul
84:27University in Indiana and Miami University, I heard a lot about art. And what I found
84:32as I began my teaching career in 1960, I knew a lot about Monet, and Cezanne, and Renoir,
84:37and Picasso, and Delacroix, and [INAUDIBLE]. I knew a lot about a lot of things, but I
84:42didn’t know anything about me or those artists that represent my heritage.
In looking at Maya, Incan, Australian Aboriginal,
84:49then traditional African art, it changed my life and my work. And in 1966, I said I stopped
84:56teaching art, and I began to teach people, because I’d found that the arts were reflective
85:00of the spiritual, cultural, and social values of people and was embodied in everybody’s
85:05And I think, what this program has been doing– and I’ve only been familiar with it for a
85:09couple of years– is doing just that. And I would just like to commend the program and
85:14hope that it will continue. And maybe to follow up my dear friend, Jesus’ recommendation,
85:20is that we look at some traditional ways to do what your goals and objectives are.
The National Conference of Artists, a service
85:26organization of African-American artists that began in 1959 with the leadership of E. J.
85:32Montgomery and Lois Mailou Jones and Margaret Burroughs, has had its Third. international
85:38conference just this past July, of taking 61 artists to Ghana for 10 days to interface,
85:43which began in ’85 in Dakar, Senegal with 150 artists exchanging ideas and looking for
85:50ways to interface and bring knowledge back in exchange.
I’m hoping we can find some of those organizations
85:56that may be smaller than the governmental agency that can assist in this tremendous
86:01goal and objectives. But I’m just tremendously moved by all the talent and all the people
86:06that are here and, hopefully, that will continue beyond. Keep up the good work.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Thank you, sir.
And both you and Jesus raised something that
86:19I hope some others will address, Peggy Bulger, Ray Burgie, or some others of you, and that
86:25specifically the power of traditional and folk arts, especially to reach indigenous
86:33people and what kind of exchange and collaboration we should be thinking about there. Ambassador
86:40AMBASSADOR CYNTHIA SCHNEIDER: Hi, Ellen. I’m Cynthia Schneider. I’m a professor at Georgetown
86:43University and was formerly the ambassador to the Netherlands. In fact, I’m thrilled
86:48to see two of my sculptures from my exhibition in this exhibition.
I encourage all of you, when you go to the
86:54reception afterwards, and see the Kiki Smith sculpture, which is actually a fountain, which
87:01was commissioned for my exhibition. And just imagine that fountain making its debut on
87:08my terrace on the day of the embassy Easter egg hunt, with all the little sub four and
87:14five-year-olds scampering around this rather bizarre nude sculpture. But we all grew to
87:24I want to speak from a couple of different perspectives from some. I’m an art historian,
87:31by training. I was very privileged to be an ambassador in the last administration. And
87:37I’ve also worked in arts administration on the President’s Committee.
And I think there are a number of things that
87:46we could talk about, which are not worth talking about, such as why is there no more USIA?
87:53I mean, there isn’t, so we’re just going to have to deal with it. And but that doesn’t
88:00mean that you give up on culture.
88:04And there are a number of really excellent programs going on now. The Culture Connect
88:10program is one that I know Mr. Kaiser’s been associated with. And I totally agree that
88:15the Art in Embassies program is an absolute banner program of what works.
But my experience was that culture, as part
88:27of the State Department, is far too capricious. If it happened to be an interest of a particular
88:35ambassador– and it is an interest of many, many ambassadors. You don’t have to be an
88:40art historian. Many ambassadors are leader in this– then it would happen. But it’s very
88:48hard to make much happen, if it’s not by happenstance the interest of that particular ambassador.
88:56And my experience was there is a real lack of leadership and commitment from the State
89:05Department to the use of culture. Commitment comes, as expressed, in money, certainly.
89:13And that is still true. And I just think the words of, “there is no money,” they just fall
89:20a little hollow, in light of the money that’s being spent on other projects in other parts
89:26of the world.
89:28And I don’t mean to be melodramatic–
89:34–but I think that this kind of cultural outreach is truly part of our national security.
And, you know, think what would have happened
89:52if we had followed the advice of the curators and experts who went to the Pentagon with
89:59maps and said, these are the sites that must be preserved, and made that part of the strategic
90:07objective of taking Baghdad. Not–
90:11You know, and I don’t mean to say, not the decision of a certain person at a certain
90:17place on a certain tank at a certain time, but part of the strategic planning– I’m obviously
90:23am not in the military, and I don’t mean to imply these things are easy– but everything
90:28you do sends a huge message. And right now, we are suffering so much, and we’re paying
90:32for it every day in lives, from the wrong messages that have been sent. And that would
90:39have sent the right message right away.
90:42But it would have required taking culture as seriously as other people take it. Other
90:51people take our culture very seriously. I mean, they love it. And they take it as a
90:57major part of America.
91:00Right now, the ambassador from the Hungary is traveling the United States, having made
91:05a stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which I think is a fantastic thing for an
91:10ambassador to do. And he is giving a lecture, which he’s giving in the State Department,
91:15I’m happy to say, on– the topic of his lecture is, how rock and roll brought down the iron
91:22ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: So subversive.
91:25AMBASSADOR SCHNEIDER: I don’t know if an American were giving that lecture if anybody would
91:28take it seriously. But this is his personal experience, and he really means it.
And so I wish that we– and when I say we,
91:37I mean the State Department– and this is I totally nonpartisan comment, you know? It
91:42was under my administration that USA was dismantled. So this is a non-partisan thing. I wish that
91:51our government would take our culture as seriously as other people do.
It is our number one export– when I was ambassador,
91:59it was aerospace products. Now, its cultural products. And what an opportunity that is
92:06that we’re missing, you know? I mean, it is out there, like it or not. With the aerospace
92:12products, I can tell you we spent a lot of time and money targeting those sales. And
92:17it was money and time well spent. It was worth it.
What about giving some thought to actually
92:24strategically– I don’t know– placing, enhancing, distributing, some of those commercial products,
92:31and not let it go totally to the open market, which is the way it’s done now. Because that
92:37is diplomacy. Like it or not, it is.
92:39ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: With that provocative question, let me ask if any of the panelists
92:42want to comment or respond. No?
92:48AMBASSADOR SCHNEIDER: Finally, let me just mention– the other thing is visas.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yeah, quickly.
AMBASSADOR SCHNEIDER: You know, it’s worth
92:52just mentioning visas, because we all know the impact of person-to-person exchanges and
92:58how incredibly positive that is, whether it’s the Fulbright Program or whatever program
93:03it is, I mean, that just pays rewards 100 times over– and the International Business
93:10Program, whatever it is. And the point just can’t be made enough that the idea that we
93:16are protecting ourselves by shutting people out is not, I think, right.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Thank you.
Thank you. Jonathan Katz?
JONATHAN KATZ: My name is Jonathan Katz, and
93:36I direct the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. And that association was created
93:41by the state and territorial arts agencies of the United States, including Guam and the
93:46Northern Marianas, and American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, to represent
93:51them and to be their clearinghouse as a learning community. And a challenge in an international
93:58cultural programming has to do with how difficult it is to learn what it takes. And there are
94:05several skill sets involved. And one of them is to know and be able to do what it takes
94:10to take American art from here and share it with the world. And that’s one set of skills
94:16And it’s another set of skills and knowledge to take art from all over the world and bring
94:22it here and move it around. And it’s another set of skills and knowledge to set up the
94:27exchanges of art between governments and nations and states and cities. And it’s another set
94:35of skills and knowledges to share our observations about cultural policy and about arts administration.
94:43And so, as we have resources, we try to be a clearinghouse for those kinds of skills
94:48and knowledge. And I can mention a couple of things too. The states operate for touring
94:55purposes in regional groups. And the National Endowment for the Arts has fostered over the
95:01past 30 years regions that include all the states in the United States and the Pacific
95:06region as well. And that’s where a lot of our touring expertise internationally resides,
95:11because of something that governments can get together and do at economy of scale.
So a kind of thing that we did at one point
95:19was to work with the National Endowment for the Arts and convene state arts agency leaders,
95:24regional arts organization leaders, and other people in this room to talk about what it
95:29takes and you need to know to foster cultural exchange.
A couple of other things I’d mention going
95:36on. The International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies that Penny mentioned,
95:42it’s one of my goals to see that the state arts agencies interact with that international
95:47forum, so that the knowledge that the world has about doing these kinds of things become
95:52the knowledge that the state arts agencies also have, and so that there’s an exchange
95:56of those skills and expertise.
95:59There’s an interesting initiative that the Michigan Cultural Council has with the Salzburg
96:03Seminar, and that has to do with identifying a vocabulary and a paradigm for how nations
96:10can talk amongst each other in a common vocabulary about culture, the establishment of organizations
96:21and networks, and about the expertise that administrators then get, and about what artists
96:27then need to know. But a series of questions like that that could be asked of any nation
96:32and any cultural system, so they can talk with a common vocabulary about cultural exchange
96:37in the place of arts and diplomacy.
96:39And finally, I’d mention that there are other coalitions in this room that I think it would
96:44be valuable for us to hear. COLEAD is one of them which, Ellen, you’ve been involved
96:48in. And Harry Blaney is here and Frank Hodsoll too. And I think that would be useful for
96:51us to hear about a little bit. And then perhaps even some of the things that the President’s
96:55Committee has done with the Fox Administration, like the workshop that, Adair, that you’ve
97:00facilitated at the very beginning of the Fox Administration about arts administration.
97:05ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thanks, for bringing that all up. May we go to the this side, please?
97:08MARYANNE POLLOCK: Yes. Hello, my name is Maryanne Pollock. I’m a visual artist. And I just wanted
97:13to– I best express myself visually, in visual art. I’m a painter. And my work was sent to–
97:24I actually left this country with $40 to my name, because I was so discouraged trying
97:32to make a living as an artist full-time.
97:34So I had an intuition to go to Egypt, and I followed it. And it was very interesting.
97:42All kinds of doors opened. Sort of just Egyptians embraced me, as an American artist. They wanted–
97:50as was said before, they were curious. They– I don’t know how to express myself. It just
97:57was so tremendous. I felt so much love there.
And so I was working. And when I came back,
98:04someone in the Arts in Embassies program heard I was over there. So blah, blah, blah. By
98:11the time I came back for a solo show the next year, four paintings were in the U.S. Embassy.
98:17So in fact, as everyone else is saying, it did open doors for me in a very big way.
So over the course of six years, I had the
98:27honor to meet so many amazing people in the State Department, in the– internationally,
98:36it’s just a tremendous experience. But as the funding for U.S. Aid diminished and doors
98:43started to close, and my intuition that something terrible was going to happen– because that’s
98:50what happens when you close your heart.
98:53And the U.S. Embassy, by the way, in Egypt is the largest in the world, as most people
98:58know. And we have no arts and culture center. And there was no money, is what was told for
99:07me. And I had all kinds of projects proposed. And not to make it– put a big– be big wet
99:13rag, but I guess, just what I’m saying is, in my heart, and in my sketchbooks and files,
99:20I have lots of work that I’d love to do in the Middle East. And I speak a little bit
99:26of Arabic. And I feel very strongly, as the professor from Georgetown– I’m sorry, I didn’t
99:31catch– I just feel strongly–
99:33ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Professor Schneider.
MARYANNE POLLOCK: –as anybody who’s here
99:35does. And I just wanted to say that, if there are any doors open still, I’m very interested
99:41in going as an arts ambassador. And I do you believe that art is the greatest promoter
99:47of peace that there is.
99:49ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you.
99:50MARYANNE POLLOCK: And the best bang for the buck, as they say.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Thank you.
NANCY MATTHEWS: I’m Nancy Matthews, from Meridian
100:03International Center. And I would like to speak a little bit about those of us in the
100:07private, non-profit arena who are trying to be cultural ambassadors in our own way. Meridian
100:15has been working in the field of cultural diplomacy now for quite a long time. Not only
100:20do we have international visitors who come in many fields, including the arts, but we
100:25also have a very active exchange exhibition program.
We have brought exhibitions here from Vietnam,
100:32Iran, South Africa, China, and a number of other countries. The purpose of these exhibitions
100:40is the promotion of international understanding, which is exactly what we’re talking about
100:44today. We have also sent American exhibitions abroad. And I can’t tell you the hunger there
100:51is for this kind of thing abroad.
100:53We sent one all through East Asia, just at the time of the Millennium. But most recently,
101:01we sent something called True Colors abroad. It was organized just after 9/11. And it has
101:0978 artists participating, many of them very well-known. And it’s traveled to Turkey, to
101:15Germany, Northern Ireland, Albania, Slovakia. It just opened in Slovakia a few weeks ago.
101:22And I can’t tell you the impact that this exhibition has had wherever it’s gone.
But what I’d like to say is that we who are
101:31working in the non-profit area have one huge challenge, and that’s funding. These exhibitions
101:37are very, very expensive. And we have to really sell it to corporations to underwrite it,
101:45But it is not easy because the competition today for corporations to give away their
101:49money makes it extremely difficult to get it for the arts. You have to be a real salesman.
101:56So I’m just saying this is one of the challenges I think we all face, that all that we may
102:01want to do is possible, only if we have the funding. Thanks.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you, Nancy.
102:10BARRY BERGEY: I’m Barry Bergey, and I direct the Folk and Traditional Arts Program at the
102:15National Endowment for the Arts. And I wanted to say that I had the privilege of taking
102:19a Bluegrass band and a Western swing band on a USIA tour in 1981 throughout North Africa
102:27and the Middle East. And I saw the real value of that program and artists meeting on a grassroots
102:32level, both to exchange ideas and, of course, musical licks as well.
Next week, on Saturday, I’m going back to
102:42my hometown in Missouri to see bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. And it
102:48strikes me that probably was the first government funded arts touring program, because Lewis
102:54and Clark took along musicians. And there often was an exchange of music and of goods,
103:00of handicrafts along the way, as a way of people getting to know one another.
And this brings to mind the idea that there
103:08is always reciprocity involved in artistic exchange and artistic outreach. And I wondered
103:15whether any of our embassies had a program that involved collecting and exhibiting indigenous
103:23work from those host countries, because I think hanging that work, side by side, with
103:29American artists sends a powerful message. I think, sometimes, we think we’re only presenting
103:33ourselves. But this idea of working with the local artists is also a very powerful one
103:40and having that kind of exchange.
103:42ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Yeah. Great question. Karl or Ann Johnson, do you want to respond
103:47KARL HOFMANN: I will just say, from my narrow perspective, that that does occur. It’s not
103:53necessarily centrally organized, but missions around the world do try and promote local
104:00artists as well, and display them alongside American artists. And we did some in Togo.
104:05And I’m sure there are other places that do it as well. I don’t know, Anne, if you have
104:09ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Director of the Arts in Embassies program.
ANNE JOHNSON: The Art in Embassies program,
104:13of course, is a loan program. But we also are in the Overseas Building Operations. And
104:19we started curating a little bit, helping them. When a new embassy is built, there is
104:23a percentage that is given for the purchase of art. And they’ve been using outside consultants
104:30for that. And they started using us. And so I know a little bit about it.
The part of– we have just done Istanbul.
104:37Just an absolutely beautiful building and a wonderful our collection with a lot of wonderful
104:41American art. But a part of that budget has to be spent on local art, from people native
104:48to the country. So I think that’s a wonderful part of the State Department, a wonderful
104:55And I probably shouldn’t tell you that we’re now buying it a lot, because we just really
105:00want you to lend to us. But we’re really– that’s really part of interior furnishings.
105:05And they are more interior design. Our program is all about diplomacy, and making friends,
105:12and sharing what we all know that we have in common. But the U.S. Government does do
105:19And also, I wanted to say I know there was some huge concern originally. Our curators
105:23were all upset. And we were trying to help when the Iraqi museum was raided. But I have
105:29heard good things that a lot of that has been recovered. And I think a lot of the non-profit
105:35groups in the States have been instrumental in that project.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Thank you, Anne. Yes,
105:43ARMANDO ARISMENDI: Yes. My name is Armando Arismendi, and I’m from Austin, Texas. I’m
105:48not an artist. I’m here escorting my wife, who is an artist, Connie, in the Art in Embassies
105:55The reason I’m here talking today is because I’m also the Secretary of the Board of Directors
106:01at Mexico Art Museum in Austin, Texas. And one of the recent accomplishments that we
106:07had was to sign an agreement with CONACULTA in Mexico to bring permanent collection art
106:14from Mexico into our museum in Austin.
106:18And so why is this important? The reason it’s important is because it’s bringing the richness
106:23of the culture of Mexico into Texas, into the United States. For me, there’s two parts
106:31to this. One is that, in Austin, particularly the Mexican and Mexican-American community,
106:38is particularly isolated from where they came from, which is Mexico. And so this is an attempt
106:45to bring the richness of their culture, of our culture, to Austin and to Texas. I mean,
106:51because, for the most part, what you see in TV is a very negative perception, a negative
106:57view of what our culture is, in general.
107:02The other part is to educate the non-Hispanic community as to what Mexican art really is.
107:09There’s also a stereotypical view of what that is. And we’re trying to change that.
107:15At least, that’s one of my passions is to not only educate the Mexican– the Hispanic
107:21community in Austin and in Texas, but also to bring the richness of the Mexican heritage,
107:27the Mexican culture and art to the United States. And so that’s what we’re trying to
107:33And I would challenge everybody in here to continue to pull that kind of culture, whether
107:40it’s Mexican, or African, or Chinese, wherever, to pull that into the United States, because
107:47we are– we’re a pretty isolated country here. And we really need to pull– we need to become
107:54more diversified in that respect. And if it doesn’t come from us, then who will do that?
108:01And that’s why I’m committed to doing that, in particular, from the Mexican culture perspective.
108:08ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you. Harry Blaney?
HARRY BLANEY: Thank you, Ellen. My name was
108:14used in vain by Jonathan, so I want to do a announcement, if you would, or a plea, really,
108:22more than anything else. COLEAD, the Coalition for American Leadership Abroad, is a group
108:27of about 53 foreign affairs NGOs. And we’ve been working with the other person’s name
108:32who was brought in vain, Frank Hodsoll, at the Center for the Arts and Culture, and yourself,
108:37Ellen, in your earlier hat, to try to broaden and strengthen American culture and art in
108:44the international exchange field. And we are still working hard on this.
And the plea– and by the way, Kenton Keith
108:53is over there as well, who gave me the idea to work and labor in this area, from Meridian
108:59International– I would like to say that, really, in the hands of each of you here,
109:05particularly those of you who are living outside of Washington DC in the grassroots, you can
109:10actually have a hand and help in the process. Because one of the common themes throughout
109:15this discussion at every level, whether private, in the city or state, or the national level,
109:21is the problem of funding, which has decreased and has been cut, destroyed, in many cases,
109:27unnecessarily over the years. That there is a need to express your voice.
I would like to urge you that, on the local
109:35level, and with your congresspersons, and senators, and your cities, and your mayors,
109:40to talk about all the things that you’ve talked about today and the value of that to all of
109:44us and to our country, particularly at this particular time of crisis and difficulty.
109:50And it is your voice, if you would, on the Hill with the Administration and with your
109:56fellow citizens and groups, both in terms of about the need for the resources that are
110:02behind this, but also the resources you have in your own hands locally, and in the private
110:07sector, and the foundations, and corporations, and all the rest.
We need a larger and bigger voice. So I ask
110:13you to join all of us when you go back, not only here, because it is actually in our hands
110:19here, as citizens, to try to fight and struggle and make that voice clear and to find the
110:25resources and let others who may be pressured by other forces, if your forces are not there,
110:32people will not pay attention, will not understand that process. So I’d like to urge you all
110:37to think about ways you can cooperate with other members of the arts and cultural community
110:42and, I might add, with the foreign affairs community, and try to make our international
110:48cultural program stronger and better. Thank you.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you.
PEGGY BULGER: Hi. I’m Peggy Bulger, and I’m
110:57Director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. And I want to echo
111:02my colleague, Barry Bergey’s, remarks about the give and take that happens, especially
111:09at the grassroots level, especially at the level that perhaps gets forgotten, even by
111:16the arts community. Ironically, after many, many years of working in arts organizations,
111:22five years ago, I found myself in a library. And never having realized how tragic it is
111:29that we don’t really break out of our little arts community to look at arts and culture,
111:34which is something that the Center for Arts and Culture is really trying to do, is to
111:38look at the whole aggregate and the process of creativity and get the humanities, the
111:45arts, the historic preservation, and folklife to work together.
So I’ve been very privileged to work with
111:51Ellen and her staff, when she was at the Arts and Culture Center on looking at culture in
111:57the big picture. And just the comments about Egypt is very interesting. Just recently,
112:04the Library of Congress has a program called Global Gateways, which is a kind of– same
112:11kind of a project, in many ways, as Arts in Embassies. But it’s working with libraries
112:18across the world to do online exchanges, digitize materials, make sure that they’re there forever.
112:26And we’re working with the National Library of Egypt right now out of Cairo. And they
112:31had wanted to bring the techie people. And they wanted to bring, you know, the folks
112:35who are Middle East experts. But they called back and they said, bring the folklorist.
112:39And I thought, what?
112:41And it turns out the National Library of Egypt is very interested right now in recognizing
112:46the fact that their arts at the grassroots level are extremely endangered right now.
112:52If nothing else, they need to document it.
And I just went to see the Quilts of Gee’s
112:58Bend exhibit when it was up here. And I thought it would make a wonderful exchange– I’m saying
113:06this to the Arts in Embassies people and anybody who might be working with exchanges– be a
113:11great exchange to go to the street of tent makers in Cairo where men are making the most
113:17intricate quilts I’ve ever seen in my life– and this is like passed down from generation
113:23to generation– have an exchange with the quilting.
And I didn’t realize that our embassy in Cairo
113:29is the largest overseas. So maybe I’ll give them a call. Anyway– [LAUGHS]
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you. Yes?
KATHLEEN WALSH: Yes. My name is Kathleen Walsh.
113:43I have a solo exhibit in the embassy in Quito, Ecuador. And I was invited last year, especially
113:49by Ambassador Kristie Kenney, to come and work with Ecuadorian artists. And along the
113:55lines of grassroots compatibility, I said I would agree to anything, as I was so amazed
114:01to be invited.
114:03And one of the things that happened was the artists that I worked with were very interested
114:07in knowing what did I see in Ecuador through my eyes as an artist? What could I tell them
114:15about what I was seeing? And I couldn’t really paint while I was there– I’m a painter–
114:21because I was overwhelmed. But I did write.
And we kept a copy of the quotes. And Ambassador
114:27Kenney later asked if she could reproduce my paintings into a calendar. And I had never
114:34really thought of them being in a calendar, but I agreed. And they were interspersed with
114:39these quotes about what did I see in the little villages that I worked in.
And she just recently sent me an email about
114:48this calendar, which I think now is covering most of the country. She writes, “I just received
114:54a letter from an Indian woman to whom I gave a copy of your calendar. She said she was
115:00reading aloud to her children the various quotes, so they could appreciate art in their
115:07country and the ability see beauty in their daily life. Surely, that’s testimonial enough
115:16to keep the program growing.”
115:21ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Thank you. Eloquent testimony. Sir?
RICHARD DANNA: Hi. My name is Richard Danna.
115:30I’m an art–
115:30ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: I’m sorry. And just before you start, I regret to say, we have
115:35about six minutes left.
115:36RICHARD DANNA: I’m going to be brief.
115:37ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: So if the remaining speakers would speak briefly. Thank you.
RICHARD DANNA: My name is Richard Danna. I’m
115:43an artist based here in Washington. I’ve shown a fair amount internationally. I’ve also been
115:49involved with a number of cordial exchange programs with artists from other countries.
115:55And one thing I’m always struck by when I’m in other countries is the intrinsic value
116:01that other cultures place on the role of the artist in society.
And I say this by way of contrast to the United
116:09States where, I think, there may be more of a tendency for Americans to look at the value
116:14of someone just by the amount of money they make. Present company excepted, I assume,
116:19in terms of that view.
116:21And I mention this just by way of saying that the United States certainly projects itself
116:30as the most powerful military force in the world and an economic juggernaut, but it does
116:36become a question of what perception we want to have other people take of the United States.
116:42And I think one where, to balance that other perception, that this is a country that really
116:49appreciates its culture and is proud of it would be a very positive thing.
And perhaps the value of culture in other
116:58societies is underestimated by the U.S. government, perhaps even the State Department, other than
117:04Arts in Embassies. And I think the more culture we can promote, the better. And I would agree
117:10with Michael Kaiser, that I believe it has to be in a sustained fashion.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Thank you. Thank you,
117:17very much. I’m going to go to Bill Gilcher and Andrew Solomon. I’m going to, as the essayist
117:23for the very fine book, I’m going to give you the final wrap up set of comments. Bill?
117:29BILL GILCHER: I’m Bill Gilcher. I’m an American working for the Goethe-Institut, German cultural
117:33centers in the United States, here in Washington, one of seven, and around the world, around
117:38130 or so.
117:40I’ve been thinking about these issues for some time. It seems to me that it’s a no-brainer
117:46why the State Department should be actively engaging and looking for artists to speak
117:53to the issues of our time. These are, after all, the world’s expressive people. These
117:59are the people who think, who feel for all of us, who are less articulate, who speak
118:05for the millions and millions of people and for their feelings and for their thoughts.
118:10So we desperately need to harness the energy of these people and to get them to address
118:16the serious, horrible issues that are facing us as a people, and the peoples of the world,
118:25The role of the arts in a time of war and of terror, the role of artists, of arts organizations,
118:30is something which is just absolutely desperately pressing. And it just doesn’t strike me that
118:36we’re doing anywhere near enough. Artists fear to be instrumentalized, to be used for
118:41political purposes. Let’s ask the artists to speak to these issues. Let’s listen to
118:46them not just our own artists, but artists around the world. And I think that we’ll have
118:52something to listen to and we’ll have something to think about for a long time afterwards.
118:56ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Andrew?
118:57ANDREW SOLOMON: I was– I’m Andrew Solomon. And I’m a writer and have written on cultural
119:03diplomacy before. In the early 1990s, I was in Kazakhstan. And I had gone out into the
119:13steppe in Kazakhstan to talk to some of the people there about their perceptions of the
119:18West. It was at a time when there was really a grappling going on among the spheres of
119:22influence over that extremely large country with extremely large oil reserves and nuclear
119:28And when I talked to a group of people in a yurt one day, they said to me, you know,
119:34when the Iron Curtain fell and the Soviet Union ended, our instinct was to head toward
119:41the United States. That had always been the place that we fantasized about.
He said, but they had seen, of the United
119:47States, exactly three things. They had seen Dallas. They had seen Baywatch. And they had
119:52seen Dynasty. And he said, having seen those things, he said our feeling is that America’s
119:58not moral and that it is not serious. And we therefore feel now that our engagement
120:03should be with Iran, which was one of the other countries attempting to exert influence.
120:07And this was a small group of people in a particular yurt. And I don’t, by any means,
120:11wish to suggest that our popular culture should be held back from other countries, only that
120:15it should be balanced with that higher culture, which I think communicates to people the American
120:20ideals that we’re so eager to export to the rest of the world. And particularly, at the
120:25moment when we’re confronting terrorists and talking about a war against other principles
120:31of government, it’s a war of ideas. And the war of ideas can be won only by the compelling
120:36and direct address to those ideas.
120:39And I think it’s through the cultural sphere that ideas are most vividly expressed and
120:43that other cultures have the best opportunity to engage with them and to recognize the splendor
120:48of them, which is not to say that the work should be propaganda or should narrate a specific
120:52and particular version of America, simply that it should reflect the diversity, the
120:57complexity, and the profundity of America, and the nature of the freedoms that are so
121:01essential to this country.
121:04ELLEN MCCULLOCH-LOVELL: Amen!
121:10Well, Andrew. Thank you, for your excellent summary. That means that all I have left to
121:17do is to congratulate the State Department and the Arts in Embassies program and all
121:23of you on the 40th anniversary of this flagship program. Thank you Anne, your fine curatorial
121:31and administrative staff for all that you do.
ANNE JOHNSON: I’m sorry. I cannot let that
121:43go unanswered. Ellen and her staff and the Center for Arts and Culture have been a great
121:47partner for this. It could not have happened without them. They’re the experts in this.
121:51We do the art. So thank you, very, very much, Ellen, for your expertise, and your time,
121:56and all of your support. We really appreciate it.
ELLEN MCCULLOCH LOVELL: Thank you, Anne. Thank
122:04And I want to thank each member of the panel for your insight, and your willingness to
122:11share your expertise, and engage in my questions, and share your personal experiences and testimonies.
122:18It was all very, very valuable.
122:21And finally, I want to thank each of you. You enriched this conversation greatly. I
122:26hope that the Center for Arts and Culture and the Department of State can find a way
122:30to continue this conversation. And now I ask you to applaud yourselves.