NEA Arts Magazine

NEA International Activities

Partnering To Celebrate the Arts Worldwide


Pennie Ojeda

International Activities Director Pennie Ojeda. Photo by Brandon Jones.

Through the creative expressions of our diverse and dynamic artists, communities around the globe can gain an understanding of the vibrant cultural life in the United States. In addition, it is essential to give our own audiences more opportunities for substantive encounters with high-caliber artists from other shores. For more than 30 years, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has played a leadership role in this arena through catalytic partnerships with foreign governments, other federal agencies, the state arts agencies and regional arts organizations, and private funders.

Innovative partnerships have opened the door to NEA International Literary Exchanges, which expand cross-cultural dialogue about literature through the publication of contemporary literary anthologies in translation. To make world literature accessible to more Americans, the agency also has expanded its national reading initiative The Big Read to include international authors.

The NEA has further enhanced its international role since the U.S. rejoined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2003. NEA Chairman Dana Gioia was among delegates accompanying Mrs. Laura Bush to Paris to commemorate the return. Subsequently, the NEA organized several cultural presentations to showcase U.S. arts and culture at events hosted by U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO Louise Oliver.

For cultural officials visiting the United States, our decentralized system for support of arts and culture appears overwhelmingly complex. To assist visitors in understanding our infrastructure, the NEA published How the U.S. Funds the Arts in 2004 (revised in 2007). This publication provides information on the NEA and its competitive peer review process, descriptions and budget figures for other federal agencies, and explains the relationship between the nonprofit sector, tax incentives, and the role of private philanthropy in the United States.

In the following pages, I invite you to read more about the NEA’s truly transformative array NEA International Activitiesof international partnerships and activities.

Pennie Ojeda
Director, International Activities