Spotlight on Soft Power: July 2016

Pop is Our Tradition

Hello Kitty®, Sailor Moon, sushi, anime, manga, and Studio Ghibli® are just a few examples of Japanese Pop culture that have gained popularity in the United States. J-Pop Summit looks to foster this growing interest and bring Japan straight to America. Since 2009 J-Pop Summit has been held annually in San Francisco. It was created and hosted by SUPERFROG project, whose goal is to educate the American public about the uniqueness of Japanese Pop culture. The project continues to be sponsored by a growing number of well known enterprises: UNIQLO, SEGA, Mazda, Funimation, and Lyft, just to name a few.


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.


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...


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.