National Performance Network > International Program Reflections > U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:
Blog Reflection: Julie Bates MacGillis

U.S.-Japan Connection Travel 2016-17:
Blog Reflection: Julie Bates MacGillis

Posted: Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 5:04 pm in International Program Reflections

Blog Reflection: Julie Bates MacGillis
Cultural Affairs

We had a great meeting with Dale Kreisher, Cultural Affairs Officer and Akihito (“Aki”) Nakanishi, Cultural Affairs Specialist, Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Our goal was to meet these supporters of arts and culture and introduce them to our work in Japan. Our time with the officers was short, but we made the most of our 30-minutes at the US embassy. They were incredibly warm, positive and interested in the work we are doing in Japan. They had been working for Caroline Kennedy until the Trump administration took over and recalled all ambassadors. As no replacement has been appointed, they are in a bit of a holding pattern right now waiting for the new ambassador, and to learn who that person is and what their priorities are.

By the time we left, they were enthusiastic and very shocked they hadn’t known about this project before now. For their part, they brought up the issue facing Japan of having literally thousands of museums, and very little training available for curators. They are particularly interested in connecting with Western institutions for curatorial exchanges (for both performing and visual arts, though this seems more established in visual arts and more need in performing arts) to mentor Japanese curators.

They loved the project. They really want to stay in touch, and they were impressed by our emphasis on real two-way exchange between cultures, as well as the curatorial exchange aspect, rather than simply a touring program for individual artists and shows.




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