Heidi Boisvert

I feel as though I was not simply a cultural envoy imparting new knowledge, but a nurturer who quietly cultivated a new family. It was one of the most fulfilling and positive experiences I’ve encountered in my life, and we created a very special bond.

American Arts Incubator in Ukraine is the unique network that demonstrated how public art and creative collaboration can be used as tools to build community, address pressing social challenges, and promote cross-cultural understanding.

The project helped strengthen the U.S. Consulate's ties with the Kochi Biennale Foundation (Host Partner) as well as local artists and rights activists.  It also allowed the Consulate to contribute to the gender rights related public discourses and movements that Kochi has witnessed in the recent past.

The emphasis on Augmented Reality (AR) and other forms of cutting-edge visual communications has assisted the work I am conducting in comics and graphic storytelling that aims to create interactive and exciting ways of addressing complex social issues such as the supply and caring for fresh water.

AAI has provided a platform for a diverse group of participants to engage in projects that introduced to a larger community how we can think about gender differently... It helped foster creative courage and allowed participants to challenge the status quo and push traditional boundaries.

Overall, this experience really brought together many of the skills that I have been cultivating — the entrepreneurial, design, art, community relations, intercultural dialogue, translation — into one space and I am looking forward to applying this methodology to bolster my interdisciplinary practice.

I've also found that working collaboratively internationally is hugely rewarding and I plan to find more opportunities to do so, as it broadens cultural dialogues and gives more perspectives to the work being made than to just work within my own country.

Young people came alive in their creativity is a construct these projects, instead of utilizing traditional means of advocate for issues, they experience how collaborative art displayed in a public place could engage other young people and the broader public in the cars. Learning how to express creativity through art whilst advocating for social issues is powerful. This experience has been life-changing for all involved.

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