Interview with an artist: Michelle Angela Ortiz

You may remember Michelle Angela Ortiz, a mural artist based in Philadelphia, from Meridian International Center’s Cuba Forum on June 9th. She recently returned from Cuba as part of Meridian’s Community Engagement through the Mural Arts program, a joint initiative with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. There, she worked with the local community in Regla to create stunning works of public art. We spoke with her about her experience, methodology, and the power of art to transform communities.

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Spotlight on Soft Power: June 2016

Festival d’Aix-en-Provence International Festival of Lyric Art Aix in June Aix-en-Provence, France June 4-26   The Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, International Festival of Lyric Art, is kicking off its 2016 celebration with a month long prelude of musical events called Aix en Juin/Aix in June. The Festival d’Aix takes place in its namesake, the town of Aix-en-Provence, France. The festival was founded as a response to the Second World War, when all of Europe was struggling to rebuild their infrastructure, culture and identity.  France responded by launching a string of arts festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival in 1946, and the...

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Community Engagement through the Mosaic Arts in Istanbul, Turkey

 Community Engagement through the Mosaic Arts

I was honored to be selected by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center to be a cultural ambassador in Turkey through their Community Engagement through the Mural Arts Program. I specialize in community-based public art and work with communities to create mosaic murals and street art that have cultural significance and communicate messages of empowerment, awareness and social justice… while fostering well-being through creative expression. I travel often for my work and whenever I go to a new place I try to keep an open mind and heart to welcome in the new.  I had been to Turkey one time before, in 1992… so a really long time ago… and I was really excited about this project.

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Discovering Cuba Through Its Culture

Despite Cuba’s geographic proximity to the United States, historical circumstances have served to widen the distance between our two countries. As both nations begin to turn the page towards a future of greater closeness and cooperation, leaders from both sides of the straits are seeking ways to increase understanding and develop relationships between our countries. In April of 2016, led by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, a distinguished group of members of Meridian International Center’s Board of Trustees and other supporters, undertook a trip to Cuba. Consistent with Meridian’s mission to “understand global issues and cultures, exchange ideas, collaborate on solutions,...

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