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The two year program of workshops and concerts for young musicians from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Playing Together was designed to weave varied strands of Central Asian traditional music and bring in non-traditional techniques to invigorate musical experimentation. Workshop leaders from India, the US, and Kyrgyzstan included Jeremy Thal, Robert Black, Kenny Savelson, Dhruba Ghosh, Theodore Levin, and Nurlanbek Nyshanov under the guidance of Uzbek composer and conductor Artyom Kim and his ensemble Omnibus, whose techniques of collective composition captivated the imaginations of the young artists.
Program activities included the creation of a Central Asian music website, a CD of original music with US and Central Asian musicians, and residencies and concerts by Central Asian musicians in the US. In 2016, Playing Together celebrated the 25th anniversary of the independence of the Central Asian countries with concerts of original music attended by thousands of people in Almaty, Ashgabat, Tashkent, Astana, Bishkek, and Dushanbe. In July 2016, 12 young musicians from CEC ArtsLink’s Playing Together Central Asian Music Academy, The Bandistan Ensemble, performed at Asia Society in NYC.
The program was supported by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and organized by CEC ArtsLink in collaboration with Central Asian cultural organizations.
One Big City provided a platform for artists to explore cultural and artistic identities and heightened awareness of diverse cultural communities throughout New York. Local artists in visual, media and performing arts collaborated with artists from countries with substantial immigrant communities in New York during a three-week residency at a local arts organization:
Моя Америка (My America): New York artist Daniel Gallegos and Russian filmmaker Mikhail Zheleznikov collaborated on the installation of video, drawings and food-related performance art at Museum of the Moving Image in NYC (blog).
მოჩვენება /MOCHVENEBA/მოჩვენება: “The ghost will show us”: Brooklyn based poet Syreeta McFadden and Georgian visual and information media artist Lado Darakhvelidze collaborated on a multimedia project featuring stories and images from the Georgian community of New York City.
Sounding Walls / Soando Paredes: visual artist Ananda Nahu (Brazil) and musician Jeremy Thal (NYC) at BRIC.
Bronx Reflects: A duo of site-specific installations by Brooklyn artist Robert Hickman and Czech artist Martin Papcún reconnected several neighborhoods in the South Bronx which were disrupted in the 1970s by the Bruckner Expressway. Presented by The POINT CDC.
ĆEŽNJA : BORN LONGING: Brooklyn based poet and performer Abena Koomson and Croatian visual artist and filmmaker Kristina Leko collaborated on a multimedia oral history project that shared stories and songs of the Croatian community in New York City at The Kitchen (blog).
Oceans/Golden Tear Drop (Thong Yod): Bronx-based artist Hatuey Ramos-Fermin and Thai artist Arin Rungjang collaborated on a project that explored the relationships between a Thai dessert and a Puerto Rican dance using personal histories and collective memories. At the Brick House, Art Container, and THE POINT CDC.
The Open World Cultural Leaders Program enabled early to mid-career artists and arts managers from Russia to complete 2-3 week professional residencies at leading arts organizations across the United States. Over 300 artists and arts managers in film, modern dance, music, literature, and theater from a wide range of Russia’s geographic regions participated in the program. Their performances have been attended by a combined audience of over 23,000 people across the U.S.
The program was supported by the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, with partnership and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Renova Group of Companies.
FlipFest! brought an evening-long celebration of diaspora and fusion to New York audiences. DJ Joro Boro and puppeteer Vít Hořejš introduced wildly diverse, cutting-edge work from WaxFactory, Robert Black and Yoshiko Chuma, Jim Neu, Polish vocalist Sylwia Gorak, Russian dancer Ilya Belenkov, Hungarian jazz saxophonist Viktor Tóth, Slovenian choreographer Goran Bogdanvoski, Czech performance artist František Skála, Siberian musicians German and Klavdia Khatylaev and much more. Co-produced with Bonnie Sue Stein/GOH Productions.
CEC ArtsLink presented St. Petersburg’s first international exhibition of public art, “H2O: Nordic and Russian Art in Public Spaces” (download exhibition catalog). The H2O exhibition featured site-specific works by Kaspar Bonnén (Denmark), A K Dolven (Norway), Tommi Gronlund and Petteri Nisunen (Finland), Carl Michael von Hausswolff (Sweden), Jacob Kirkegaard (Denmark), and Finnbogi Petursson (Iceland). It was the first major international exhibition of contemporary art on the grounds of the Peter and Paul Fortress.
St. Petersburg artists Yuri Shtapakov and Pavel Shugurov 33+1 also created new works for H2O. A parallel exhibition at the garden of the Anna Akhmatova Museum at Fontannyi Dom, “Fountain”, featured emerging young St. Petersburg artists who created public art works during a workshop conducted by New York public art specialist Kendal Henry.
An exhibition of work by artists who have been supported by ArtsLink Awards, Flipside investigated post-utopian artistic practice between the era of communism and the integration of many Central European countries into the European Union. Could one utopia have simply been a flipside of the other?
Flipside was a rare opportunity for New Yorkers to see first-hand work by 34 artists from across Central Europe and the United States. It provided information with which to investigate critical questions about international influence, cooperation and exchange in burgeoning cultural environments that were undergoing significant political and economic change.
With the support of the Trust for Mutual Understanding, CEC ArtsLink commissioned the St. Petersburg Center for Independent Social Research to evaluate the effectiveness of a wide range of international programs to assist Russian cultural organizations to adjust to the post-Soviet economy and new political and administrative structures. The first of its kind research and evaluation study was completed in 2005. A final report was distributed in 2006 to U.S. and Russian organizations working in the field of professional development and exchange for arts managers.
In preparation for St. Petersburg’s 300th anniversary celebrations, CEC’s St. Petersburg 2003 program produced collaborative Russian-American cultural projects. CEC’s expertise and long-standing networks in the US and in Russia helped to serve effectively as an advisor to and intermediary between cultural organizations and arts professionals of the two countries.
CEC raised and committed $1.25 million for direct costs of exchanges in the following areas:
CEC administered the American Committee for St. Petersburg 2003, a group of prominent cultural and business leaders chaired by the Ambassador William H. Luers. The American Committee was formally recognized as St. Petersburg’s official US partner for the tercentenary celebrations by Anatoly Sobchak, the Mayor of St. Petersburg at the time.