Introducing the Incubator

Since September 2013 ZERO1, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), has been creating and shaping the American Arts Incubator. This program is a unique approach to international creative exchange that leverages what ZERO1 stands for – combining art and technology to shape the future – and we are excited to tell you about it!

What is it?
American Arts Incubator is a new creative exchange program using mural, digital, and new media art to engage overseas communities to address pressing social challenges meaningful to them. The program sends U.S. artists abroad to team up with local people, artists, and organizations to create impactful community-driven art projects.

It’s a hybrid of training lab, production workshop, and public exhibition. The program will create opportunities for innovation by translating creative practices used by artists into community-driven artworks and ongoing arts programming that will bolster local economies, influence public policy, and further social change.

The project involves a unique micro-granting program developed by ZERO1 in cooperation with ECA to be implemented in the chosen countries: Laos, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. Via virtual exchange amongst overseas artists, international embassies, and community leaders, a network will emerge of fully documented, global, community-driven art projects centered on developing citizenship, addressing pressing social issues, and promoting cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.

Who’s involved?
Four multi-talented artists who practice in four completely different styles and mediums were selected from a highly-competitive pool of applicants. David Burke, Felipe Castelblanco, Kendal Henry, and Xiaowei Wang will visit Laos, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Mongolia, respectively.

In each overseas location, we are fortunate to have a local arts organization to serve as partner and host for the program. Finally, many people behind the scenes in Washington, D.C. and at the respective overseas U.S. Embassies have been instrumental in preparing for program implementation and will continue to be key to fostering a successful inaugural American Arts Incubator.

Where are we at right now?
The first week of November was Artist Orientation, when we brought together all the artists, Michele Peregrin from the U.S. Department of State, ZERO1 staff, and a few key community arts experts. Having all the artists in the same room for the first time was incredible, and led to a highly valuable sharing of ideas and progression of project concepts.  The artists are as eager as we are to watch how these one-of-a-kind exchanges unfold – and we promise to share it all! Stay tuned…


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