What Is At Stake:
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the State Department is responsible for our nation’s public diplomacy activities including international cultural exchange programs. Within ECA, the Cultural Programs Division focuses on cultural diplomacy, exchange, and collaboration by sharing the rich artistic traditions of the United States in the visual and performing arts, film, arts education, arts management, and cultural studies.
The Cultural Programs Division provides grant opportunities to U.S. nonprofits for cultural exchange activities; residencies, mentoring, and training programs; programs sponsored by U.S. Embassy public diplomacy offices; and presentations at major international visual arts exhibitions and cultural centers. However, support for cultural exchange and cultural diplomacy has never fully recovered from the elimination of the former United States Information Agency and the USIA’s Arts America Program in 1999. APAP and the Performing Arts Alliance advocate with the broader arts and cultural community for appropriations for the cultural programs division as well as for research and evaluation in the impact of its programming.
What We Are Asking Right Now:
We urge Congress to:
- Direct the State Department to appropriate a minimum of $15 million for the Office of Citizen Exchanges Cultural Programs Division in the FY15 State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill and dedicate increased resources to the application-based exchanges and Arts Envoy program.
- Encourage the State Dept. to conduct research and evaluations on the impact, value, and success of arts diplomacy as part of its smARTpower strategies to build cross-cultural understanding.
- Direct the State Dept. to make information on projects funded through these programs readily available to the public.
- Direct the State Dept. to encourage broad participation in its grant program in support of artistic and cultural exchanges with an emphasis on providing ample time for artists to apply and simplifying the application process.
Information provided by the Performing Arts Alliance.
APAP is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance.