More support for artists who are interested in community-based projects abroad! The Department of State introduces a two-year pilot program, smARTpower, to send 15 artists overseas to work with local artists and residents.

Although Bound in Japan does not fall within the parameters of smARTpower, I applaud the program for supporting visual artists who want to make a difference in the world. Quality of life isn’t just about shelter or security. Survival is merely a starting point. Who among us wants to merely survive? In this regard, artists have a unique opportunity. Art is a great tool for engagement, education, and empowerment.

Here is a more detailed description from the smARTpower site.

smARTpower—an initiative of the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by The Bronx Museum of the Arts—will send fifteen American artists abroad to work with local artists and young people around the world to create community-based art projects. Travel opportunities of up to 45 days will be awarded to selected artists to design and develop programs in cooperation with local arts organizations in host countries including China, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kosovo, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Venezuela. smARTpower will support the development and implementation of community-based art projects that engage youth and other local residents, including artists. The projects are strongly encouraged to create a tangible legacy of the work accomplished through smARTpower in a variety of visual arts media, including but not limited to painting, sculpture, drawing, video, installation, photo-based work, public art, and interdisciplinary projects. Participatory work is strongly recommended and encouraged. Artists will address a full range of relevant subjects including, but not limited to, women’s empowerment, the environment, health, education, and civic engagement.