Arts Programming Director scouts talent in Pakistan for U.S. cultural exchange
Arts Programming Director Robert Richter '82, the man behind the popular onStage at Connecticut College performing artist series, recently spent two weeks in Pakistan scouting talent for a new U.S. cultural exchange program.
Richter, who is used to scouting top acts to bring to Connecticut College, toured Pakistan evaluating contemporary art performances for Center Stage, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that brings artists from abroad to the U.S. to engage Americans in cultural diplomacy. Center Stage is administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts.
“The purpose of the trip was to select Pakistani music ensembles to tour the U.S. in the fall of 2014 and gather contextual information to support the tours,” Richter said.
He and three other members of the advance team met with artists in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. In addition, the team presented 10 workshops on topics such as arts management, careers in the arts and promoting social change through the arts at universities, cultural institutions and at the International Young Alumni Conference (IYAC) hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. The IYAC was the largest gathering of alumni of U.S. cultural exchange programs ever hosted by an embassy.
“The State Department has a long history of sending U.S. artists abroad, but Center Stage is the first program where they are bringing foreign artists to the U.S.,” Richter said. The first Center Stage artists, from Indonesia, Pakistan and Haiti, toured the U.S. this fall. Connecticut College was a stop for Haitian singer/ songwriter BélO, who performed on campus in November as part of the onStage at Connecticut College series.