Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Berkshire Fine Arts article

TransCulturalExchange, under the direction of Mary Sherman, has been active in the
Boston area since 1998. A goal of each conference on International Opportunities in the Arts, since 2007, has been to bring together and connect world-wide artists with artists or artists with organizations, universities and communities, as well as promoting inter-organizational work. Further, to advance art and culture, global education, peace and friendship.

We asked Lynne Allan, Director of the School of Visual Arts, at Boston University to comment, and she replied as follows: “The College of Fine Arts is enormously pleased to host the October 2013 TransCultural Exchange Conference on Boston University campus. Most events will take place within easy reach of each other, in the 808 Gallery and the George Sherman Union on Commonwealth Avenue. We will utilize the large Metcalf Ballroom and ancillary seminar spaces and auditorium. The area is convenient to local restaurants, the MBTA and in walking distance to the designated conference hotel, The Hyatt Regency, and other area hotels. The location on the Charles River offers scenic views and lovely walking paths right on campus.”
The TransCultural Exchange website has posted an overview on the upcoming conference and will update periodically. In advance of the conference there are already many events planned in the Boston area, also for early arriving conference attendees. Some events and panel presentations will be scheduled at other universities, as during prior conferences.
Individuals, organizations and universities have hosted artists in many different ways for decades. TransCultural Exchange (TCE) highlighted these many activities and has introduced individuals and representatives of countless programs and projects since the 2007conference. We are offering examples of only a slice of international possibilities here, as TCE has opened opportunities to registrants and participants to connect and interconnect as never before.
Karmela Berg, a noted Israeli artist, lives and works in Tel-Aviv and all over the world. We met at the 2011 TCE conference. At the time she introduced me to her project: ‘Knowing You Knowing Me,’ conceived as group exhibitions by four artists. Other members of the group are from Sweden, The Netherlands and India. The exhibitions are largely educational, with a student art making component, and easily mobile, as one can see in the accompanying photos. The shows were installed in 2010-11 in Uppsala, Sweden, the Hampden Gallery of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, in conjunction with the 2011 TCE Conference, and Groningen, The Netherlands. This project will still be exhibited in Israel and India, to conclude the cycle.
In 2012 Berg and some members of her group of artist friends, traveled to ‘Huntenkunst’ in Ulft, Holland, near the German border. It is a yearly event and approximately 200 national and international artists participated. 4000 visitors came mostly from Holland and Germany. A large former factory complex was refurbished into an exhibition hall, a library, a theatre and a music center. There are also new artist studios and a restaurant.
Exhibiting artists of this juried show, brought work in many media and arrived to prepare their own installations. 60 % were international artists, and opportunities for world-wide communications, connections and friendships are part of the deal. Artists were available to the visitors, answering questions, and to meet curators and gallery owners. Berg and her sub-group: Aldrik Salverda from The Netherlands, Eva Ryn Johannisen from Sweden, Leny van Elk, also from The Netherlands and Brigitte Gmachreich from Germany actually met there intensely to discuss and design a new project.
They held their own five day symposium, which was well planned in advance. Berg writes: "We enjoyed our brain-storming sessions, and the company of artists in planning, thinking and eating together. Those were five beautiful days." The new exhibition’s title could be (or not): ‘Nature to People is Like Water to Fish,’ and will be presented in The Netherlands in May, 2013. The concept is based on A.D. Gordon’s abbreviated writings and translation from Hebrew: “...Man must always be in nature, because he is Man. To Man, who is sensitive and aware, nature is like water to the fish.” Discussions about concept and work are continuing long distance and via email.
Berg also introduced several artists in Holland to ‘The Coaster Project, Destination: The World’ of 2012, where thousands of coaster size artworks (4x4” or 10x10cm) will be freely given away at the Toronto Culture Work Festival. The 2012 project celebrates the 10th anniversary of TCE’s Coaster Project of 2002. Her artist friends have already sent small works to this year’s Coaster Project. She also hopes that more of her international colleagues will participate in the 2013 TCE conference in Boston.
Written by: Astrid Hiemer, 07/01/2012.

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