US State Department Arts Envoy Program welcomes artists Alison Rector and Abbie Read to Doha, Qatar in April 2016.
The artists will travel to Doha March 30 to April 7, for a collaboration they call Welcome to the Library. The Arts Envoy Program shares the best of the U.S. arts community with the world to foster cross-cultural understanding and collaboration and to demonstrate shared values and aspirations. American arts professionals-- including performing artists, visual artists, poets, playwrights, theatrical and film directors, curators, and others-- travel overseas to conduct workshops, give performances, and mentor young people. Programs seek to connect with international publics who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with American arts professionals.
Both Read and Rector make visual art about libraries. Read creates mixed media constructions using old, discarded books, found objects, altered books and other ephemera, while Rector makes oil paintings depicting historic American library buildings. Both artists remember childhood years surrounded by books, at a time when when books and libraries were influential components of one’s upbringing. “The public libraries of our youth were safe places to retreat to places of the imagination, places of unlimited adventures. Books were companions inviting us to become a part of the stories contained within. We are hoping to bring a strong sense of our feelings about libraries to this collaboration” write the artists. “We look forward to sharing our art-making experience with the citizens of Qatar.”
As Arts Envoy artists, Read and Rector appreciate the opportunity to be cultural diplomats. The artists will be teaching multiple art workshops in Doha and speaking about their work, as well as attending a reception at the US Embassy and viewing art work around Doha.