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Support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation

Posted: Monday, December 20th, 2010 at 3:34 pm in Press Releases

Contact:  Renata Petroni
Tel: (504) 717-1293

The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation awards $100,000 to the National Performance Network to strengthen international opportunities for U.S. artists/companies in Latin America and the Caribbean

NEW ORLEANS, LA (December 20, 2010)­ The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation has awarded the National Performance Network (NPN) $100,000 to strengthen international opportunities for U.S. artists by supporting their tours and residencies to Latin America and the Caribbean, and to promote cultural awareness as well as an artist’s knowledge base by supporting US presenters’ travel to Latin American and Caribbean and Latin American presenters’ travel to the  United States.

NPN is honored to receive this first-time generous support and is grateful for Ms. Margaret Ayers’ vision which recognizes the importance of cultural engagement in promoting global understanding through the development of sustained relationships: “The objective of cultural exchange-based diplomacy is to promote mutual understanding through the development of sustained relationships and goodwill. Sustained relationships are possible only when there is dialogue and mutual respect. The most benign way to achieve this is through “layered engagement” that takes place when multiple exchange activities occur simultaneously. Such engagement is believed to produce more authentic interaction, which in turn results in the development of long-term relationships.” (Margaret C. Ayers, Promoting Public and Private Reinvestment In Cultural Exchange-Based Diplomacy, April 16, 2010)

Performing Americas Program (PAP) is a partnership between the NPN and LA RED (Red de Promotores Culturales de Latino America y el Caribe) and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to create a systemic exchange of contemporary performing arts in the western hemisphere.  PAP is based on the principle of reciprocity as opposed to a unilateral cultural “export/import” model, a focus on knowledge building and relationship building, a focus on geographical, ethnic and cultural diversity, and the principle of non-interference in the artists’ selections by the presenters.

Now in existence for nearly a decade, the Performing Americas Program is the only systemic international cultural exchange program in existence in the United States based on reciprocity and knowledge building.  With its focus on exchanges between the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, the program has successfully toured 28 artist/companies and hosted another 23 in Creative Exchange residencies throughout the western hemisphere.

Designing, funding and coordinating an international exchange program has been a formidable task—especially in the complex national climate of international diplomacy that has prevailed since the program began in 2001.  Almost in spite of this, however, this project has flourished showing that the need and demand for international cultural exchange is as strong, and possibly more important than ever, “Performing Americas has boosted touring, U.S. visibility and creative partnerships at a time when the U.S. suffered dismal public relations abroad as a consequence of the second Iraq” (Randy Gener, American Theater Magazine, September 2010)

The artists who travel within the program, reach deep into communities and share their artistic and cultural languages, creating lasting and meaningful relationships that not only expand their cultural horizons, as well as those of the host and audience, but also dispel destructive myths and stereotypes by conducting honest human exchanges that do the work international diplomatic relations fails to do.

“Participating artists concur that the contact with the host communities has been an eye-opener for them in ways they could not have foreseen.  The depth of their exposure to another culture forced them to re-think their preconceptions.  Fernando Lee from Brazil was firm that PAP plays an important role in breaking cultural barriers.  He said his own eyes were opened because he traveled to several different cities across the U.S. with very different demographics and attitudes.  This introduced him to the diversity of the U.S. itself.  NPN’s own commitment to diversity – in its selection of the curators, in the presenting venues in the network – also gives colleagues in La RED another glimpse into the cultural richness of the U.S.” (Radhika Subramanian – Evaluation of Performing Americas Program, 2005-2008)

For information about the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation please refer to the web-site:

To find our more about La Red visit

Contact Renata Petroni for information on the National Performance Network’s International Projects
Tel. (504) 717-1293 Email:

Download Press Release announcing NPN funding from Robert Sterling Clark Foundation

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