Artist Exchanges Continue

Artist exchanges between Kansas and Paraguay continue to be an essential part of our partnership.  Kansas-Paraguay Partners member Judith McCrea submitted this review of a creative and active program during the last year.

An exciting new exchange agreement between Kansas-Paraguay Partners, Comitè Paraguay-Kansas and Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano pairs artists from Kansas with winners of competitions in Paraguay. Kansas’ artists are chosen according to their expertise of the specific medium featured in each Paraguayan competition. The winners are offered a travel grant through Partners of the Americas to Kansas where they work, study, observe classes, workshops, exhibitions, and attend other cultural activities. Here are some highlights from the first round of exchanges between the two Partners:

In June, Amber Hansen, a Lawrence artist and filmmaker, juried a photography exhibition in Paraguay.  The winner was not able to travel for personal reasons. However, Teresita Gonzalez, a photographer and social activist, spent a week in Lawrence, courtesy of Royce Smith, art department chair at Wichita State University. In her presentation at the Lawrence Arts Center, Ms. Gonzales presented photographs that document the Hospital de Clinicas in Asuncion before it moved to a more modern facility. She gave a moving tribute to long-standing health care problems and the transformation of the historic hospital into a medical museum.

Eric Conrad, a Lawrence artist and Chair of the Department of Art at Emporia State University, juried a Paraguayan sculpture competition that sponsored the winner, Sergio Jara, to visit Kansas in October. His work in stone is monumental in scale. Sergio was an energetic visitor who contributed to activities in the art departments at Emporia State and Washburn University. He gave a presentation at the K.U. Latin American Studies’ Merienda series and taught a children’s class at the Lawrence Arts Center.

At the same time, well-known Paraguayan independent film producer and arts administrator, Meli Rockford, visited Lawrence. She showed an award winning film, “El Tiempo Nublado”, at the first annual film festival, Lid Off, in Lucas Kansas. Along with many staff and volunteers in both Kansas and Paraguay, Ms. Rockford will be instrumental in guiding future exchanges and spin-off projects.

Judith McCrea, Professor in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Kansas, helped select, via Skype, a painter to visit Kansas this coming fall. In December 2015, an exhibition of McCrea’s paintings titled Pensamientos Pequeños, was shown along with related prose poems at Museo Contemporaneo in Asuncion. Five works were added to the Museum collection that combine views of the artist’s Kansas farm with “monos” and “esquelitos” from travel to Latin American.

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