Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 App: Mural Artists for Community Engagement/International Arts Exchange

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 31, 2015.
Meridian International Center – a non-profit based in Washington, D.C. – is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Community Engagement through the Arts Exchange Program for American mural artists.
Community Engagement through the Murals Arts, an exchange program supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State, uses mural arts as a means for engaging youth, artists, and underserved members in communities overseas. The program advances U.S. foreign policy by addressing a local community issue, such as youth or women’s empowerment, gender-based violence, social inclusion, regional stability, and the environment.
Working with a community to develop a tangible artwork, the program reaches wide audiences, while also fostering in-depth engagement with specific groups, such as women and underserved youth. To further community engagement, the traveling American artists conduct workshops, master classes, talks, public events, and other outreach activities, in addition to designing and executing murals.
Community Engagement through the Mural Arts is being implemented by Meridian International Center. Four American artists will travel abroad to Brazil, Cuba, India, or Turkey for one month to hold workshops that reach a new community sector each week, culminating in the implementation of a joint, collaborative mural.
Meridian is currently accepting applications for projects in Brazil, Cuba, India, and Turkey.
Founded in 1960, Meridian International Center is a non-profit educational and cultural institution dedicated to promoting international understanding through the exchange of people, ideas, and the arts. The Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy (MCCD) creates exhibitions, cultural programming, and artist exchanges that emphasize socially relevant topics and important world regions. Meridian works with the U.S. government, embassies, museums, and artists worldwide.
  • Foster arts-based international people-to-people exchanges that support and further U.S. Department of State foreign policy objectives
  • Create partnerships through artistic collaboration and professional development, enriching to both the American artists and the international participants
  • Promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries
  • Provide unique opportunities for artistic collaboration, engagement and/or performance between American artists and international participants
  • Foster opportunities for educational outreach and community engagement with diverse and underserved communities, especially youth, women, and persons with disabilities
  • Convey the diversity and high artistic merit of the arts in America, and increase understanding of American art, culture, values, and society for international participants and audiences
  • Engage participants in instructive and informative experiences in the mural arts
  • Create opportunities for sustaining relationships and collaborations between U.S. and international artists and institutions that endure beyond program duration
  • Design and implement an original, mural arts-based, in-country program that demonstrates a connection to the above vision statement and program goals, around one topical issue pertinent to the local community
  • Work together with and receive logistical and administrative support from Meridian International Center, the U.S. Embassy, and an in-country partner, to complete the program
  • Foster in-depth engagement with specific and varied underserved community groups through the design of three 3-to-4-day workshops for community groups and organizations involved in the topical issue(s)
  • Execute one large mural at the end of the 3.5-week program that will incorporate all community groups
  • Incorporate master classes, talks, public events, media interviews, and/or other outreach activities as part of the 3.5-week program
  • Contribute to the social media platforms of Meridian International Center and the U.S. Embassy by providing posts and pictures that document progress throughout the program
  • Stimulate dialogue and promote cross-cultural collaboration through programming
  • Showcase the role of visual and multidisciplinary artists as vibrant, engaged, and innovative partners in addressing broader social issues important to communities worldwide
  • Emerging, mid-career, or established visual artists
  • U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age and currently residing in the U.S.
  • Strong record of artistic accomplishments with international experience; experience working in developing countries is highly preferred
  • Relevant experience working with youth and local communities, whether in urban or rural areas
  • Record of engaging with other artists, art educators, and community members through master classes, workshops, discussions, and other outreach activities
  • Must be flexible, adaptable, and organized
  • Spanish fluency is preferred for proposals specific to Cuba
Artist’s airfare, accommodations, and basic travel costs are covered by Meridian International Center. Artists will also receive an additional $5,000 honorarium for participation. Meridian International Center and in-country partners will cover public art production costs overseas. This budget will be determined during a pre-travel proposal time period, based on approval by ECA, the respective U.S. Embassy, and Meridian International Center.
All applications for this project must be submitted online through CaFE. Applications are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on March 31, 2015.
1. Project Proposal Information
Applicant should describe his/her vision for the program and demonstrate how the proposed program will engage multiple levels of community. Logistical and administrative arrangements do not need to be fully articulated at this stage, as they will be developed and approved by Meridian and an in-country partner. Reponses should be no longer than 800 words.

Keep the following elements in mind while developing the proposal:
  • Within the theme of community engagement through the arts, the project proposal should clearly state a specific social issue that it will address. Sample issues for potential programming include: gender equality, preserving indigenous cultures, youth empowerment, conflict resolution, human rights, health and sanitation, education challenges, or the environment. Applicants should indicate in the project narrative why they have chosen the topical issue, as well as previous programming experience with that issue.
  • As part of the project, applicants are expected to incorporate at least three different community groups that can relate to this issue. The proposal should indicate the three groups the applicant plans to work with, taking into consideration the country and the requirement to work with at least one underserved community. (For example, if the topic is gender quality, the three groups might be municipal workers, gender-based issue NGO, and high school students. If engaging students, outline plans to work around their academic schedule.)
2. Program Schedule/Calendar
Please attach a tentative program schedule or calendar. This must include the following activities:
  • Program Launch Event
  • Three 3-to-4-day Workshops: 1 for each group involved
  • Master Classes, at least once a week
  • Public Speaking or Media Engagement
  • Final Program Event
  • Mural Unveiling
3. Artist Background Information
Please provide a narrative description of your background. Responses should be no more than 500 words.

Artistic background narrative should highlight the following:
  • Artistic accomplishments, particularly as they relate to this program
  • Involvement in projects that have combined political issues or community needs with the arts
  • Teaching experience (ex. leading workshops, outreach activities, or master classes)
  • Leadership experiences and/or experience working collaboratively with other artists or community groups to complete a project
  • Ability to work with underserved communities, in particular women, youth, and persons with disabilities
  • International experience, in particular any experience working in a developing country or in one of the countries specified
  • Foreign language proficiency, highlight speaking and listening comprehension skills
4. Artist CV
5. Copy of valid U.S. passport
6. Work samples
Artists must submit a at least three work samples of past projects, and may share a maximum of 20 files. Arrange files in the order that you would like the images to be viewed. For each image, include the artist's name, medium, size, the year the work was completed, and a brief description of the project. If you maintain a website displaying your work, please also provide that internet address.

Should you have any questions regarding the solicitation, please email murals@meridian.org. Once the deadline has passed or an application has been submitted, Meridian staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.


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