US RAOs Launch Global Positioning Strategy for the Arts Report 

Three Korean women in vibrant, updated traditional dress and hats, perform on stage in from of a bright purple and pink background. The women stand in a line close-up, and the artist in the center holds a microphone.
Ak Dan Gwang Chil in performance at Frostburg State University (Frostburg, MD) with support from the Mid Atlantic Tours program. Credit: Missy Russell Martz, courtsey of Mid Atlantic Arts.

The six U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (RAOs) have collaborated on “Global Positioning Strategy for the Arts Report,” a resource to the Obama administration as it develops new initiatives in arts and culture.

Informed by “voices from the field,” the report focuses on areas in which the USRAOs have been actively involved internationally: performing and visual arts, literature and media.

Read the report by clicking this link.

Among key points of this report:

  • Full-throated cultural exchange achieves a variety of important public purposes that transcend individual federal agency agendas. It creates an environment for more effective diplomacy, enriches the education of our children, builds greater acceptance of different cultures within our borders, and prepares us to fully participate in the global economy and society.
  • White House leadership is critical to revitalizing cultural exchange. Americans need to hear from their President why cultural exchange matters and deserves public support. White House leadership at the senior staff level can inspire greater collaboration among agencies involved in cultural exchange.
  • The U.S. must increase its investment in cultural exchange in order to achieve its full potential, recognizing that economic recovery is our nation’s top budget priority. Increased funding should include ongoing, multiyear support for federal agencies and not-for-profits to ensure sustainability and enable longer-term cultural exchange planning. Among priorities for increased federal funding is restoring greater cultural affairs capabilities within the State Department.
  • Effective cultural exchange is two-way. It’s not just about talking; it’s about listening. One-time exchanges of exhibitions or performances are good, but not enough. True cultural exchange offers the opportunity for more profound and sustained engagement among artists and between artists and audiences.
  • Using the British Council model as a starting point, a consortium of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) can serve as a primary partner to the government, ensuring efficient use of federal funds by tapping existing systems and networks for importing and exporting arts and culture. The consortium would also seek private funding to expand cultural exchange. While ultimately responsible to funding agencies, members of the consortium would act independently of the government in creating and managing programs.

Cultural exchange can have a positive impact on everything from U.S. foreign policy to commerce to our growth as individual participants in a global society—if there is more innovative programming, better coordination and greater investment. The U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (RAOs) urge that the United States reinvigorate cultural exchange and are prepared to play a leading role.

Two older light-skinned adults with short hair sit at a table together. One of the people is wearing a light purple shirt with curly short white hair and is holding a paper cut out of a hand up to their own hand and smiling.
Mini art lesson at Silver Threads Assisted Living in Gregory, South Dakota. Photo by Prairie Feather Photography. Courtesy of Gregory Horizons and Arts Midwest.