Out West
The Great American Landscape

Meridian International Center, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is organizing an exhibition on the American West for circulation in China beginning in early 2007. The exhibition, Out West: The Great American Landscape, is a cultural exchange project and has been heartily endorsed by the Ministry of Culture of China. Out West is the second part of an exchange begun by Ancient Threads, Newly Woven, an exhibition organized jointly by Meridian and the China International Exhibition Agency in Beijing on contemporary art from the Silk Road of Western China, now on tour in the United States. Out West, which will tour China, is to bear the Olympic logo and will be part of the cultural dimension of the 2008 Olympics and one of the cultural presentations leading up to the games themselves.

The purpose of this exchange is not only to present an exhibition of good paintings, but, seen in a larger context, carries an educational, cultural and social message. Its underlying goal is to help create an atmosphere of increased good relations and mutual understanding as a background for business development and other bi-lateral relations. The targeted audience is "ordinary people," whose real knowledge of America may be limited. With an eye to the unfolding future, an important segment it the exhibitionís message will reach is Chinaís younger generation.

Out West will include art works by a range of contemporary artists of the American West. In a variety of mediums, subjects will include cowboy culture, Native American culture, the introduction of other ethnic groups to Western traditions and way of life and more. Also emphasized will be western landscapes, from New Mexico to Wyoming, the people and the animals that inhabit them, the effects of the Western culture on films, and influential historic events. Meridian is working with museums, universities, collections, and individual artists to put together the best representation possible of contemporary Western art. A catalogue will be published in English and Chinese.

Meridian is working with the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, which will be the initial venue for the exhibition. The Museum will assist in organizing a tour within China that will include venues in Western China. The Vice Minister of Culture, Madame Meng Xiosia, on recent visits to Washington, has pledged the enthusiastic support of the Ministry for the project. The Chinese Embassy in Washington is also working with Meridian.

The exhibition will preview at Meridianís prestigious Cafritz galleries in Washington in mid-february 2007, an event which will involve the Chinese Ambassador, Congressional representatives from participating Western states and all exhibition sponsors. Out West will begin its China tour in early 2007. The popularity of such an exhibition is assured as there has not been an exhibition of this type in China and it is eagerly anticipated.

Out West, like all of Meridianís exhibitions, fulfills the organizationís mission of promoting international understanding through the exchange of people, ideas and the arts. Art is used as a tool for opening windows onto other cultures and increasing insight and appreciation of similarities and differences between nations and peoples. It can also serve as a tool for a corporate sponsor to spread its message. This exhibition will be the fourth exhibit of American contemporary art which Meridian has organized and toured abroad. It is the first devoted totally to art of the American West.

Out West: The Great American Landscape, organized and presented in China by Meridian International Center, with the assistance of the China Museum of Fine Art in Beijing, and with the support of a consortium of sponsors, will be an excellent opportunity to portray this important part of American life and heritage to the Chinese people. As part of the cultural dimension of the 2008 Olympics, this exhibit can further enhance the growing relationship between two of the worldís great nations.

Sponsorship has been provided by American Airlines, Anheuser-Busch Foundation, Fed Ex Corporation and Tyco International. Additional opportunities are available to corporations, foundations and individuals. Sponsors will be recognized in all publicity throughout the tour and, in the exhibition catalogue and, when possible, in the identification of venues.

For more information: Nancy Matthews, Vice President for the Arts, Meridian International Center, 1630 Crescent Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009. Tel: (202) 939-5518. Email: nmatthew@meridian.org.

Boundaries and Frontiers
Artistic Dialogue from the U.S.-Mexican Border

A new exhibition of art from both sides of the U.S. Ė Mexican border is under organization by Meridian International Center, a cultural and educational exchange institution headquartered in Washington, DC, in collaboration with Mexico North Research Network; The Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California; the Mexican Cultural Institute of San Antonio; and the Mexican Cultural Institute of Washington, D.C. The exhibition project has the support of CONACULTA, the Foreign Secretariat of Mexico, The Mexican Embassy, Washington, D.C. and the American Embassy, Mexico City. Curators, museum directors and scholars from both sides of the border are participating in the organization.

Meridian uses its exhibitions of art from around the globe, and attendant educational programs, as tools to promote clearer understanding of issues and provide a focal point for dialogue. The purpose of the current exhibition is to bring to light, through the eyes of artists from both sides of the Rio Grande, the culture of the border area, and the opportunities and challenges it presents for both countries. Organized as a traveling exhibition, Boundaries and Frontiers will preview in San Antonio in March 2006 and open in Washington D.C. in April 2006. It will be presented in the United States in cooperation with the Embassy of Mexico. Following the Washington venue, the exhibition will take its message to both countries with a tour organized by Meridianís Traveling Exhibition Service.

Meridian is seeking support from corporations and foundations. The budget of $200,000 includes organization, catalogue and tour preparation, artist exchange, education guide, and development of an inter-active website which will take the exhibition to areas it cannot physically reach. Meridian regularly works with sponsors to make a mutually beneficial partnership.

For more information: Nancy Matthews, Vice President for the Arts, Meridian International Center, 1630 Crescent Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009. Tel: (202) 939-5518. Email: nmatthew@merician.org.

Painting a Window to the Divine
Icons, Sacral Painting and Popular Religion in Western Ukraine

Developed by Meridian International Center in collaboration with the National Museum, the Picture Gallery, and the Ethnography Museum in Líviv, Painting a Window to the Divine offers a chronological, thematic, and cultural perspective on Western Ukrainian icon painting and religious observance. It marks the first time that precious religious objects from major public collections in this region will tour the United States. Rare illuminated manuscripts and small bronze crucifixes represent the religious experience in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a period characterized by invasions, political instability, and the destruction of many icons. The exhibit focuses primarily on icons created by masters working in ecclesiastical centers between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, along with folk icons painted by popular artists of the time. It contains examples of devotional oil paintings characteristic of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Hand-carved icons from village homes and elaborate painted eggs (pysanki) offer further insight into popular religion.


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