2 exchange programs, 600 artists from over 60 countries

Graphic featuring grid of faces (Courtesy of OneBeat)
(Courtesy of OneBeat)

Dancers, singers and performing artists from around the world are coming to the United States to share their talents through two U.S. Department of State programs.

Each year, the department coordinates with the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and New York City’s Found Sound Nation to bring international artists to the United States through Center Stage and OneBeat.

Cultural exchanges like these “are a powerful way for people to connect across borders and for countries to build respect for each other,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “Moreover, they’re an integral part of U.S. foreign policy. Musicians, filmmakers, artists, writers, and athletes captivate the world.”

Artists take Center Stage

Currently in its sixth season, Center Stage, hosted by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and produced by NEFA, invites performing artists from countries around the world to perform and share experiences with diverse communities throughout the United States.

Scores of U.S. colleges, universities, festivals, music clubs, cultural centers and artist-run organizations have hosted more than 200 musicians, theater troupes and dance companies from 14 different countries through the program.

Grid of 6 photos showing performers (Courtesy of Center Stage)
Center Stage sixth season participants, clockwise from top left: Cachitas Now!, Fémina, MVF Band, Twincussion, Resident Island Dance Theatre and The Naghash Ensemble. (Courtesy of Center Stage)

Center Stage will host six ensembles from Argentina, Armenia and Taiwan for its sixth season this year.

“Center Stage Season 6 centers artists with insights into how we can respond to external forces, renew our sense of community, and build a shared and fairer future,” said Adrienne Petrillo, the senior program director of Center Stage at NEFA in a statement.

Next year’s season seven — which will start in July 2023 and run through December — will feature performers from Ethiopia, the Philippines and South Africa.

Finding the rhythm at OneBeat

The OneBeat tour and residency program celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2022. Since 2012, the program has hosted more than 400 artists from 60 countries.

With the goal of bringing together early-career musicians “to collaboratively write, produce and perform original music, and develop strategies for arts-based civic and social engagement,” OneBeat fosters talent and provides a support network that advances musical careers.

Colombian percussionist Jenn del Tambó posing with drums (Courtesy of Center Stage)
Colombian percussionist Jenn del Tambó in 2019. (Courtesy of Center Stage)

“Since participating in the OneBeat program, I have felt supported and have experienced increased artistic expectations,” said award-winning Colombian percussionist Jenn del Tambó, who participated in OneBeat in 2019. “This international exchange of knowledge with so many people around the globe makes me feel so privileged and so eager to continue learning, producing music, and working with communities — especially with women and girls in my country and in the world.”

From October 17 through November 7, 25 OneBeat alumni will travel to New Mexico to connect with cultural organizations and Native American communities. Their residency will conclude with a half-day festival featuring installations by local artists and a special lineup of five performances by OneBeat artists and special guests in Albuquerque November 5.