Opening up the World: An International Look at Art

2014, Number 1

About this issue: 

Although we are a national arts agency, the NEA’s artistic vision and impact are hardly limited by U.S. borders. How could they be? Art is inherently fluid, able to cross cultures and affect people regardless of geography, language, belief, or political disposition. As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a 2012 speech, art “reaches beyond governments, past all of the official conference rooms and the presidential palaces, to connect with people all over the world.”

The NEA has always played a part in spreading art globally, whether through exchange programs we sponsor or grants we have awarded to organizations featuring international artists. We also have been a strong supporter of literary translation, which is featured in this issue, awarding 355 NEA Translation Fellowships since 1981.

Additionally in this issue, we admire the creative talents of Arab photographers, currently on exhibit at Houston’s FotoFest, and go on tour with Maracatu Nação Estrela Brilhante as they introduce U.S. audiences to Brazilian maracatu music. We watch as theater shows the plight of those with physical disabilities in Croatia, and we get a director’s look at Film Forward, which uses cinema to promote cultural dialogue across the globe. As you read through these stories, we hope you’ll see how art can expose our shared humanity even as it provides a window into new perspectives and ways of life.

[NOTE: All maps included in articles are from Wikimedia Commons.]

Cover Credit: 

(In) Beautification, 1333 (detail), 2011, by Tarek Al Ghoussein, part of the FotoFest 2014 biennial View from Inside: Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media in Houston, Texas. Image courtesy of the artist and the Third Line