Cultural Programming in Turkmenistan

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Executive Summary: The U.S. Department of State’s Embassy Ashgabat announces an open competition to implement programs focused on visual and performing arts. The project can address any area, including painting, sculpture, song/vocal performance, dance, music composition, theater and others. The objective of these projects is to promote U.S. culture and values, as well as the principles of equality, inclusion and diversity through artistic media, while helping build up the next generation of artists in Turkmenistan. Projects can involve audiences of diverse levels and ages, from school children to adults, including independent artists. Background: Turkmenistan's rich cultural traditions span thousands of years and are integral to its identity as a relatively young country. Its art portfolio is exceptionally rich and spans a variety of artistic media. Song, dance, painting, sculpture, poetry, filmmaking and even carpetmaking all have historically been important cultural and artistic outlets for the Turkmen people. Modern Turkmen artists have continued this tradition of versatility and creativity, which, coupled with a sense of curiosity and openness to new ideas, have made them ideal collaborators for artistic and cultural programs with the U.S. Embassy. Over the past 30 years, the Public Diplomacy Section at Embassy Ashgabat has successfully collaborated with numerous diverse artists and performers, who often note that their work is enthusiastically received by other artists, the public, and that state institutions receive them warmly because of the opportunities these visits provide to raise awareness about Turkmenistan’s rich cultural heritage. In particular, the Embassy has enjoyed successful collaborations with Turkmenistan’s musicians, including, most recently, a collaboration centered around Broadway music. This program not only reached audiences around the country, but engaged leading local artists who staged the first full-length musical production in Turkmenistan independently after participating in the Embassy program. Within the visual arts, Embassy Ashgabat has recently carried out successful projects involving painting. Local art school students greatly enjoyed learning from a recent visiting painter, who conducted masterclasses and workshops on the subject of plein-air painting, including a follow-up program that allowed some participants to visit the United States. Through cultural programming, Embassy Ashgabat seeks to highlights how art serves as an important tool for self-actualization, discovery, and education. In fact, both Turkmen and American participants of U.S.-sponsored programs often remark on the importance of the information they learned through these programs as well as the connections they’ve made with other participants. Strengthening partnerships through the arts is especially important now, when global events seem to be dividing and distancing people from one another. Embassy Ashgabat considers its cultural programming as important as its educational exchanges, and through this program, the Public Diplomacy Section plans to continue working with the younger audiences, with an emphasis on promoting the values of equality, diversity and inclusion through the mediums of visual and performing arts. Projects that share U.S. values and cultural traditions, and foster artistic collaborations are especially welcome. Project Audience(s): · Students from local art and music schools (children and teenagers) based in Ashgabat and other cities in Turkmenistan; · Turkmen State Conservatory and Institute of Culture students (teenagers and youth), based in Ashgabat · Young performers (musicians, singers, actors) seeking to develop their skills, based in Ashgabat and other cities in Turkmenistan. Project Goal: Facilitate the exchange of artistic practices and cultural preservation methods through joint educational and cultural programs between U.S. and Turkmen artists. Project Objectives: Conduct project or projects, preferably with children and youth, that would strengthen existing skills, teach new skills, promote international collaboration, and raise the general profile of the United States in Turkmenistan. Project Objectives: (Project proposals may address one or more of these objectives). Objective 1: Increase awareness and appreciation of U.S. culture and values among Turkmenistan’s youth and artists through exhibitions, festivals or educational and cultural events. Objective 2: Strengthen visual and artistic skills of Turkmenistan’s artists and youth through workshops, training programs and mentorship opportunities. Objective 3: Equip Turkmenistan’s artists with skills and resources to practice and effectively showcase Turkmen traditional art forms. Objective 4: Facilitate joint collaborative initiatives among and between Turkmenistan’s and U.S. artists that showcase cultural exchange and mutual understanding.

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U.S. Mission to Turkmenistan