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Embassies: Cultural Diplomacy Centres
Embassies, as official representatives of a country and its citizens, have several missions to conduct. Not only are they responsible for political and diplomatic relations between their country of origin and the one where the establishment is located, but also for spreading the knowledge and promoting cultural heritage of their homeland. Hence, Embassies can be seen as Cultural Diplomacy Centres and as such, the role they play in the World of Art cannot be neglected.
When an Embassy becomes an Art Gallery…
The mission to engage with the art sector and create cultural and diplomatic relations through various forms of visual arts has been drawing ambassadors’ attention since decades. These days, more and more countries decide to add the art related actions to their core activities in the spirit of the cultural diplomacy centres. The Art in Embassies Program (AIEP or AIE), initiated by the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and President Kennedy back in 1963, was created to develop “cross-cultural dialogue and foster mutual understanding through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchanges.” Since its foundation, over 70 permanent art collections in more than 200 US’ diplomatic facilities in 189 countries have been established.
Embassies and their Art Collections
When creating their Art Collections and Exhibitions, Embassies normally engage hundreds of participants: artists –whose artworks are either purchased for the permanent collection or exhibited in the temporary ones, artists are also invited to participate in the international dialogue and exchange ideas (artists willing to participate in the AIE program can register here); galleries and museums that exhibit their collections in Embassies or lend their art to Embassies for a certain amount of time; private collectors; corporate partners… There are several bodies that coordinate these relations such as the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) and organisations that create communities for Art Collectors and potential Partners (see Uart.com).
Embassies’ Art Collections: Question of Visibility
The visibility of Art Collections showcased in Embassies is limited: mostly diplomatic officers and embassy visitors are usually exposed to the artworks. In order to respond to this situation, Embassies try to take their Art beyond their walls and organise workshops, lectures and collaborative projects to engage with local communities and increase the visibility of Art as well as to initiate socio-cultural dialogue. With the today’s era of digitalisation, Embassies also turn to online technologies to digitalise their collections and exhibit the Artworks online (see online AIE collections here).
Uart.com as a Tool to accomplish the Mission
With an increasing number of Embassies engaging with Art and creating Art Collection, there is a growing need for easily accessible means to search through them and discover their valuable resources. Sharing your Embassy’s Art Collection on Uart is a great tool to increase its visibility and make it available to the vast community of Art Lovers around the World. It can be used as one of the means on the way to accomplishing the mission of a Cultural Diplomatic Centre. Moreover, the Global Map of Art offered on Uart is an excellent way to show the presence of your Art Collections in various Diplomatic Missions in different parts of the globe as well as make them easily localisable for Artists, foreign Cultural Institutions potentially interested in cultural dialogue and the wide audience of Art Lovers.