Performing Americas Program Turns 10

January 13, 2012  •  3 minute read

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Performing Americas Program (PAP) is the only systemic international cultural exchange program in existence in the United States that is 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 34 artist/companies and funded an additional 30 Creative Exchange residencies throughout the hemisphere. PAP has made possible the presentation of Latin American and Caribbean work by more than 50 U.S.-based presenting organizations, and presentation of 17 U.S. artist companies in 47 different cities across Latin American and the Caribbean by presenters who may have otherwise not been able to support these artists’ work. Designing, funding and coordinating an international exchange program has been a formidable task—especially in the less than visionary 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. Presenters and artists from all parts of the hemisphere have responded that more programs like this need to exist, grow and be supported. After their 2010 Creative Exchange residency in Guatemala with Grupo de Teatro Artzenico, Goat in the Road Productions of New Orleans reported, “The opportunity to conduct a Creative Exchange residency through PAP was a dream come true. We are rarely paid a living wage for our work as artists in the United States! To receive a salary to make and share work with an exciting group in Latin America for three weeks was an utter gift to us – as artists, as teachers, as citizens of the world. Thank you.” In the summer of 2011, Goat in the Road reciprocated by hosting Artzenico in New Orleans where they continued the work they had begun a year before. Reciprocity, peer exchange and knowledge building are core values of all of NPN’s international exchange initiatives, and working with partner networks abroad has amplified the possibility for facilitating the growth of true exchanges among artists, communities, and presenter-curators. The host organizations in both the U.S. and Latin America and the Caribbean open the doors to their spaces to offer artists a new, respectful and dynamic environment to create, present and engage in contemporary performance practice. Selected curators from across the continent also travel to meet hosts, artists and see live work abroad, key to the success of program. NPN’s coordination of the tours and Creative Exchange residencies has increased the capacity of NPN Partner organizations and other U.S.-based presenters to present international work, by providing funds and facilitating the often-daunting prospect of obtaining visas for foreign artists. We’ve also increased the visibility of U.S. artists abroad by funding and coordinating their travel to festivals and presenters as far away as Buenos Aires, Uruguay, Brazil and Santiago, and as close as Puerto Rico and Mexico City. “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 war.” (Randy Gener, American Theater Magazine, September 2010) The artists who travel within the program share their artistic and cultural languages, creating lasting and meaningful relationships that not only expand their own 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. Looking forward to its second decade of work abroad, NPN has broadened the scope of its international exchanges by adding new partnerships with the Korea Arts Management Services (KAMS) and the Japan Contemporary Dance Network (JCDN), and by leveraging its experience to identify new possibilities across the globe that will provide more opportunities for artists and presenters within NPN and beyond. Since 2001, the Performing Americas Program has been a partnership with La RED (Red de Promotores Culturales de Latinoamérica y el Caribe) for a hemispheric exchange program which subsidizes reciprocal tours using the NPN Performance Residency model. Funding for Performing Americas is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and, for Los Angeles artists and arts organizations, the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs. For a complete list of activities, participating artists and hosts, and recently posted guidelines for our upcoming round of Creative Exchange, please visit the Performing Americas Program section of this website. To find our more about our partner network, La RED, visit