American Arts Incubator (AAI) is a creative exchange program that utilizes community-driven digital and new media art projects to instigate dialogue, build communities, bolster local economies, and further social innovation. Each incubator addresses a relevant social or environmental challenge such as economic equity, youth empowerment, gender equality, and environmental health.
American Arts Incubator is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs developed in partnership with ZERO1.
The countries selected for AAI 2020 will be announced in early 2019 before finalists are invited to submit a full application. For more information about the program, visit www.americanartsincubator.org.
Sunday, January 13, 2019, 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time. There is no application fee.
Program duration is June 1, 2019 - August 31, 2020.
Core dates for in-person participation include:
Some deliverables are expected in the months leading up to and immediately following overseas travel (e.g., project proposals, documentation, evaluation, etc.).
AAI sends U.S. artists abroad to lead collaborations with local communities that address a relevant social or environmental challenge using digital and/or new media art. Each exchange is supported by the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate and a host partner organization. There are four main activities that occur during the month-long incubator:
After the international incubators are complete, ZERO1 will host one visiting international participant from each exchange country for 10-day professional development workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area to further build participant skills.
PLEASE NOTE: AAI is NOT an artist residency or commissioning program, nor does it support the development of the selected artists’ individual work. Participation in the program is an opportunity to serve as a cultural envoy and group facilitator by leading the exchange of knowledge and skills in art, science, technology while learning about the given social challenge in each exchange location.
ZERO1 is calling innovative digital and new media artists who have a record of:
The program covers airfare, accommodations, and basic travel costs.The artist will receive a USD $7,000 honorarium for participation, plus an assigned budget for workshop production costs overseas. This budget is determined during the project proposal phase, prior to overseas travel. It is based on approval by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), the respective U.S. Embassy, and ZERO1.
AAI artist selection will be a two-step process. Initial submissions received via the online form will be reviewed by ZERO1 and ECA. Finalists will be asked to submit a full application with more detailed responses to a second round of questions, as well as references in January 2019. Finalist submissions will be reviewed by a panel of arts and social impact experts, along with the Program Officer from ECA. This committee will recommend artists to U.S. embassies in the exchange countries. Each U.S. Embassy selects an artist and ECA gives final approval.
Upon acceptance of invitation to participate as an AAI artist, the artist must agree and comply with the contract terms presented by ZERO1 for the duration of the program.
ZERO1 is committed to diversity and encourages applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and persons with disabilities, as well as applications from researchers and practitioners from across the spectrum of new media disciplines and methods.
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State strives to ensure that its efforts reflect the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad. The Bureau seeks and encourages the involvement of people from traditionally underrepresented audiences in all its grants, programs and other activities and in its workforce and workplace. Opportunities are open to people regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. The Bureau is committed to fairness, equity and inclusion.
ZERO1 leverages art, science, and technology to create social change. Founded in 2000, ZERO1 is a Silicon Valley nonprofit arts organization headquartered in San Jose, CA that aims to address complex social challenges, both locally and internationally, utilizing community-driven new media and digital art projects. We believe that artistic experimentation with emergent technologies broadens our critical understanding of the world and provokes novel creative strategies. Through a global network of partners, we bridge governmental, academic, corporate, and cultural worlds to build engaged and vibrant communities that drive social action. Visit www.zero1.org.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. Visit eca.state.gov.
American Arts Incubator (AAI) is an international new media and digital arts exchange program developed by ZERO1 in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. AAI was created to support the collaboration of American artists and underserved communities abroad to create impactful, community-driven public art projects that address local social and environmental challenges.
After a rigorous selection process, we are thrilled to announce the six artists chosen to participate in the 2019 American Arts Incubator:
These American artists will act as cultural envoys, using artistic collaboration to foster new relationships built upon common social values and the collective exploration of difference. They will travel abroad to collaborate with local communities in each exchange country during a month-long incubator, transferring skills in art, technology, and entrepreneurship. Through a digital and new media art workshop, they facilitate dialogue and explorations of a locally relevant social challenge. AAI provides small grants to participants who break into teams to prototype creative projects applying workshop skills to the challenge, and each exchange culminates in an open house that showcases the prototypes and solicits public feedback. After the international incubators are complete, ZERO1 hosts one visiting international participant from each exchange country for 10-day professional development workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area during the summer to further build participant skills.
We are proud to welcome this year’s AAI artists into our ever-expanding network of multidisciplinary creators in art, science, and technology. In the upcoming year, we will be working together to provoke and explore new ideas that build more inclusive, engaged, and vibrant communities around the world.
ZERO1 is calling innovative digital and new media artists with a love of travel and passion for community-driven public art to apply to participate in American Arts Incubator.
American Arts Incubator (AAI) is an international creative exchange program developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and administered by ZERO1. The program utilizes community-driven digital and new media art projects to instigate dialogue, build communities, bolster local economies, and further social innovation.
Inspired by the business incubator model made popular by Silicon Valley’s technology and startup companies, American Arts Incubator is a hybrid training lab, production workshop, and tool for public engagement. At its core, AAI is a cross-cultural exchange of ideas that showcases artists as engaged and innovative partners in addressing social and environmental challenges. Selected U.S. artists team up with youth, women, people with disabilities, and underserved populations through country-based partnerships to inspire community engagement through art programs. AAI awards small grants to local participant teams to develop public projects addressing a social or environmental challenge relevant to their community. In doing so, AAI exchanges seed opportunities for ongoing, community-driven innovation by translating creative practices into projects and programming that can be sustained long after the U.S. artist leaves the overseas location.
Participating overseas locations for this opportunity will be announced in December 2018. View countries that artists have traveled to in previous rounds here.
Program duration is June 1, 2018 - August 31, 2019. Core dates for in-person participation include a weeklong orientation in the San Francisco Bay Area, tentatively scheduled for Fall 2018. International travel for 4 consecutive weeks will occur between January 2019 and May 2019 (specific dates will be determined collaboratively by the overseas U.S. Embassy, overseas host partner, ZERO1, and the selected artist). In addition, deliverables are expected in the months leading up to overseas travel and immediately following travel (e.g., project proposals, blog posts, program reports, documentation, etc.). Artists will be expected to document their experiences and project development before, during, and after overseas travel via the program’s website and selected social media platforms.
We are seeking creative, adaptable, and culturally-sensitive digital and new media artists with experience in socially-engaged art, group facilitation, diverse collaborative environments, and project management. Artists must demonstrate how they have used their art practice to address social or environmental challenges, and how they have facilitated groups to work towards collective goals. Applicants should be proven self-starters who can work independently, respond to time-sensitive virtual communications, meet deadlines, incubate new ideas, receive feedback, and support overseas participants to develop their skills and apply them to the creation of projects that engage local communities.
Emerging, mid-career or established new media and/or digital artists
The Artist will receive a USD $7,000 honorarium for participation, plus an assigned budget for workshop and public art production costs overseas. This budget is determined during the project proposal phase, prior to overseas travel. It is based on approval by ECA, the respective U.S. Embassy, and ZERO1. The program covers airfare, accommodations, and basic travel costs.
All submission materials must be received via the online application by Monday, January 15, 2018, 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time. There is no application fee.
AAI Artist selection will be a two-step process. Initial submissions received via the online application will be reviewed by ZERO1 and ECA. Finalists will be asked to submit a full application with more detailed responses to a second round of questions, as well as letters of reference. Finalist submissions will be reviewed by a panel of arts and social impact professionals, along with the Program Officer from ECA. This committee will recommend artists to each U.S. Embassy. Each U.S. Embassy selects an artist, and ECA gives final approval. Upon acceptance of invitation to participate as an AAI Artist, the Artist must agree and comply with the contract terms presented by ZERO1 for the duration of the program. ZERO1 has the right to accept or reject any responses received. ZERO1 is committed to diversity, and we encourage applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and persons with disabilities, as well as applications from researchers and practitioners from across the spectrum of new media disciplines and methods.
To apply, use the online application:
For more information about this opportunity, visit the FAQ page.
For more information about current and past AAI activities, visit the AAI website.
We connect creative explorers in art, science, and technology to provoke new ideas that build engaged and vibrant communities. Founded in 2000, ZERO1 is a Silicon Valley nonprofit arts organization headquartered in San Jose, CA that aims to address and raise awareness about complex social challenges both locally and internationally. At ZERO1, we believe that art, at the frontier of technology, broadens our critical understanding of the world through experimentation, provoking new ideas, and implementing creative strategies. Through a global network of partners, we bridge the academic, corporate, and cultural worlds to foster collaboration and encourage social action. Visit: www.zero1.org
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) promotes international mutual understanding through academic, cultural, private-sector, professional, and sports exchange programs. The Bureau’s exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders from all fields to increase global understanding of U.S. policies and values and to help American citizens engage with the world. More than a million people are alumni of ECA exchanges, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 320 current or former heads of state and government. Visit: exchanges.state.gov
Photo by American Arts Incubator alumnus Michael Kuetemeyer.
“Fearless science fiction”
These are just a handful of the phrases captured from conversations about selected artists’ work during last week’s American Arts Incubator (AAI) orientation. The six artists comprising the 2018 exchange cohort were already buzzing with ideas for how to apply their wide-ranging art practices to address social challenges abroad, and had gathered in San Francisco to prepare for their upcoming exchanges in Ecuador, Egypt, India, Morocco, Poland, and Ukraine. The weeklong orientation was hosted at the historic San Francisco Art Institute, providing ample inspiration with its scenic courtyard, Diego Rivera mural, and rooftop views.
During the orientation, AAI artists pitched their workshop ideas to mentors from San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts, Yerba Buena Arts Center, and Adobe; two AAI alum also returned as mentors for this year’s program. The group discussed the social and political implications of facilitating socially-engaged art in a foreign country, and practiced live language interpretation. Artists also had a chance to practice facilitating creative icebreakers that ranged from designing symbols representative of their artistic practice to impersonating jellyfish. Local arts enthusiasts also had the opportunity to meet and mingle with the cohort during a midweek happy hour.
After the whirlwind of orientation was over, the artists reflected on their experience. Dasha Ortenberg (AAI exchange artist to Morocco) was inspired by the diversity and commonalities she found within the group: “It was so valuable to see the different ways in which each of us merges ideas about self-understanding and social empowerment with historic spaces, traditional practices, and new technologies. It is so inspiring that we use such different methods to explore similar existential questions.”
Beatrice Glow (AAI exchange artist to Ecuador) expressed a sense of appreciation for the AAI community and the unique opportunity the program represents: “I feel refreshed to take part in a program where artists are valued for our agency as civic actors and the validation that art and tech may build towards a viable means of social change.”
With both AAI staff and artists energized from a week spent together preparing for and exploring the possibilities of international creative exchange, this year’s program is off to a great start. The cultural and artistic exchange will only deepen when the six artists begin collaborating with overseas participants during their upcoming exchange trips in spring 2018.
We received updates from the American Arts Incubator participants in Cambodia! Here's what they've been up to since the exchange wrapped up in May (submissions have been edited for length and clarity):
The Along the Water project is in its second step version — we succeeded with our camping and training students to follow our plan. We also shared our experiences with the community and students about our environmental issues and worked well together. We also used the 360-camera to record the video of all activities during camping and got back a lot solutions from students’ analysis too.
Now we are a bit busy processing our videos and preparing all documents and our personal work but we hope to finish them and share with you soon.
We have solutions for communities now. We wish to find audiences or a small fund to build up our solution and donate to communities for sustainable community life.
Additional details and photo video documentation at https://www.facebook.com/pg/alongthewater
“Bringing the Forest to the City” will be the second phase of the first project “Bringing the Forests to Bophana.” We want to influence people’s mindsets to love nature, particularly forests and wildlife.
This second phase will bring another new flavor by capturing a forest on an island and in a valley by using a web mapping application as a tool to connect one location to another by using virtual reality. Our group of three has been working together since late June, and we are expanding the locations within Cambodia, specifically: Kos Seh Island in the Kep archipelago and Areng Valley in Kos Kong province so users can explore more forest types since the previous project focused on dense and semi-dense forests.
This current project is working on shooting new underwater worlds and locations deep in the forest, and once completed, an exhibition will be held in various locations including the Farm To Table restaurant, Kid City playground, and Bophana Center.
For the second project supported by American Art Incubator — Cambodia, Plastic Commune group will shoot video using the 360-camera about the feeling of the bottle which we would like the people know how they feel and take care of them from now on. In the meantime, we are also growing our social media in order to address the waste issue in Cambodia. Basically, we focus on the Facebook page and our website. We are also preparing a proposal for an NGO which has a creative incubator. They would be able to give us support, space to work, funding, technological support, workshops, business training and support, and mentors.
To finish this project, we will select one educational location to teach children about the trash issue by using our tool that we already prepared from our first projects. We will teach children how trash can be recycled to be a souvenir or useable material.
This team sent us a video as their project update, which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNmzY6qwpoY
We received an update from the American Arts Incubator participants in Guatemala, who combined their four community projects into one effort — the REDCREA Makerspace. Here's what they've been up to since the exchange wrapped up in April:
My name is Angel Castellanos, and I am part of the Design and Communications team, along with my colleagues Diana Castillo and Daniela Briseño. It's a pleasure to share a short review of what we have accomplished as a team. Right now, we are in the process of creating an educational establishment in the municipality of Santa Catarina Pinula.
We are researching the target audience, or as you would say in the field of marketing, a "target group." Currently, we are finding quotes for t-shirts with the REDCREA Makerspace logo in order to incentivize the target audience and draw them in through an impactful design.
In this process, we are making educational materials in the areas of design, layouts, and electronics, which was the most requested by this group of youth.
We are designing pamphlets with more specific information on the REDCREA MAKERSPACE with the intention to re-launch the project and attract public attention for its growth.
We are designing both electronic and paper collateral in order to spread the word in educational and artistic spaces.
As a process to reach more youth with the desire to learn, and with us as professionals that can offer the necessary education in order to encourage a future with more entrepreneurial and creative prospects, we are aiming to invest in these networks in order to expand our reach.
As we are still in the process of investigating our pilot, we will surely find new needs in order to keep moving forward, and using the support we've received from ZERO1.
As part of the REDCREA team, and specifically as part of the Design and Communications group, we're pleased with the collaboration and grateful for the support. I am looking forward to the future success of this project.
Original text in Spanish below:
American Arts Incubator (AAI) is an international new media and digital arts exchange program developed by ZERO1 in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. AAI was created to support the collaboration of American artists and underserved communities abroad to create impactful, community-driven public art projects that address local social challenges.
After a rigorous selection process, we are thrilled to announce the six artists chosen to participate in the 2018 American Arts Incubator:
Each of the selected artists will lead a training workshop, production lab, and public exhibition addressing a social challenge during a month-long exchange to each country. Through AAI’s experience-based learning methodology, participants will engage in discussions, activities, and experiments around an issue of local importance. Small grants will be awarded to participant groups from the local community, creating new opportunities for collaborative innovation. By applying creative practices to social challenges, participants will develop their own arts-based explorations that bolster local economies, influence public policy, and further social change.
The six American artists will act as cultural envoys, using artistic collaboration to foster new relationships built upon common social values and the collective exploration of differences. They will share their technological skills and aesthetic sensibilities with international creative explorers working in the burgeoning fields of social entrepreneurship and arts-based community engagement.
ZERO1 is proud to welcome this year’s AAI artists into our ever-expanding network of hybrid explorers in art, science, and technology. In the upcoming year, we will be working together to provoke and explore new ideas that build more inclusive, engaged, and vibrant communities around the world.
*Updated 11/12/17: Artist Emilie Baltz, who was originally slated to travel to Morocco, has been replaced with Dasha Ortenberg.