Thursday, March 18, 2010

Africa Exchange Program

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651 ARTS created Africa Exchange in 1995 after being selected by the Ford Foundation to participate in their new Internationalizing New Work in the Performing Arts program. This was a major acknowledgment that 651 ARTS had established itself as one of the leading U.S. arts organizations dedicated to international exchange.

Africa Exchange began with a core group of presenters and administrators who sought to facilitate opportunities for performing artists in the U.S., Africa, and those living elsewhere of African descent, to identify funding possibilities, build residencies and provide opportunities and tools for contemporary performing artists in Africa to collaborate with their counterparts in United States.

As the program evolved over the years, 651 ARTS broadened the mission of Africa Exchange to include full-scale presentations of contemporary African work on American stages, and a larger focus on humanities engagement between African performers and American audiences.

Since 2005, Africa Exchange has turned its focus to East Africa, creating long term networks and relationships with performing artists in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda, and supporting recent residencies in Africa for U.S.-based artists such as hip-hip performer Rha Goddess (Rwanda), and choreographers Nora Chipaumire, Christalyn Wright, and Reggie Wilson (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda).

Africa Exchange has been involved in many African countries, including: Angola, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Posted by Ernesto Santos on 03/18 at 02:39 PM


Since our founding in 1988, 651 ARTS has created high-quality and innovative educational programming that has direct impact on students, parents, and arts and non-arts educators. 651’s educational programming has been critical to supplementing diminishing arts curricula at numerous area schools. Additionally, we provide students with the rare opportunity to personally interact with artists from many different backgrounds.

Education Program Goals

  • To expose students to contemporary performing arts of the African Diaspora
  • To stimulate critical thinking
  • To elicit responsive feedback
  • To provide students with meaningful interactions with high level professionals

Education Programming

  • Workshops and Residencies — 651 ARTS offers intimate exposure to working artists in intensive workshop settings.
  • Student Matinees — 651 ARTS’ student matinee series offers students access to some of the world’s most compelling performances created by artists of the African Diaspora.
  • Student Review Contests — Students who attend the matinees are invited to write performance reviews of the artistic work they have seen and submit them to 651 ARTS.  First and Second Prizes, of $100 and $50 are awarded to the most thoughtful reviewers.
  • Evening Outings — Approximately 20 discounted tickets for each 651 ARTS public presentation are available for students, their parents and teachers to attend evening performances at the BAM Harvey Theater, Kumble Theater, and BRICstudio.
  • Moving Words — This literary series features performing artists talking about the books that have influenced their work for an audience of area high school students.  The purpose of the program is to use literacy as an access point for contemporary performance work while encouraging reading, critical thinking and discussion.
Posted by Ernesto Santos on 03/18 at 09:22 AM