Give me your talented, your profound, your inspired masses

The arts experience is a global experience, where expressions and perspectives from across cultures and around the world can find each other and celebrate what’s different and what’s the same. And yet, since America locked its borders in so many ways following 9/11, the global arts experience in the United States has been dramatically less global. Domestic presenters and producing organizations had to understand and navigate a labyrinth of new regulations and new government agencies. International artists who hoped to share their voice and connect their craft with American audiences were so often lost in the wilderness of bureaucracy.

The challenge was particularly intense for projects or presentations that required planning and preparation. The government processes and timelines were often completely out of sync with the needs of the arts.

Thankfully, over the past decade, a wide variety of service organizations, arts organizations, and passionate advocates have been working hard to understand the new normal, but also to influence and inform government policies to be more supportive (or at least less disruptive) of international artist exchange.

And just this week, the League of American Orchestras and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters launched a newly updated edition of their resources on the Artists from Abroad website. While the site necessarily focuses on inbound international artists (outbound artists need to figure the rules at their destination country), it’s a welcome step-by-step that will help continue to gradual re-connection of American audiences to international cultural experiences.

The process may still be a labyrinth. But at least now we have a map.



  1. says

    The experience of bringing artists from abroad has become exceexdingly more expensive. Peer authentication is a cost; Petitioning for visa approval is a cost; Priority authorization is a cost ; and cost of visa after final Homeland Security approval is a cost. This makes it almost prohibitive for young, unknown artists to travel to the USA for a few engaements at low fees with which to begin to obtain the critical approval making it easier to secure engagements constituting an actual tour in the USA. The labyrinthian process needs to be untangled and cost reduction put in place.

    American artists seeking engagements abroad, while facing stringent rules and regulations in some countries, are usually not subject to such expensive procedures as encountered on our own shores.

  2. Andrew E Yarosh says

    Kudos to the LAO and APAP for bringing this all together. But in order to be ready for the next round of changes to the process, it would be helpful if someone shared a more detailed story about HOW our industry participated to “influence and inform government policies to be more supportive (or at least less disruptive) of international artist exchange.” It would be most useful if there was a public forum (? Congressional hearing, ? panel at a conference) during which the individuals within government that created these policies could be identified, as would the purposes the policies are meant to serve, and an evaluation if are they making us more safe.