United States effort 2018-2020
The Danish brand is in a strong position on the American market and the Danish and Nordic values and narratives resonate in the United States these days. We can utilize our presence in the minds of Americans to generate dialogue and knowledge sharing, as well as to pave the way for Danish artists and cultural actors.
Danish artists, architects, and designers are definitely ready to enter the American market. Therefore, the time is right for initiating export efforts for Danish art and culture in the United States, with a focus on exposure of Danish artists and the establishment of platforms for Danish art in America.
New geographical focus areas
The Danish representations in Washington D.C. and New York are already well underway in their work with extending the American people’s knowledge of Danish art and culture. They have established important platforms for Danish artists on the American East Coast. But the United States is an incredibly large country, where new areas and cities compete more and more for the attention – and new growth centres experience rapid cultural development.
The overall purpose of The International Cultural Panel’s United States effort will therefore be to open up new possibilities for Danish art and culture in some of the most essential, new centres of American cultural life, namely:
Seattle, Los Angeles, Austin, Houston, Chicago and Detroit
In relation to cultural exchange and collaborations, there has been a natural connection between Denmark and Seattle ever since the opening of the National Nordic Museum in 2018. The main goal is to achieve long-term partnerships, primarily taking place within the music field, given Seattle's current as well as historical position as one of the most prominent music cities in the United States. The range of projects include a collaboration between the Seattle-based music/media platform KEXP and SPOT Festival, where KEXP has been invited to the festival in 2020. In addition, there is an ongoing collaboration with Seattle Symphony focusing on education and exchange of experience, especially in local community engagement and youth empowerment. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, this engagement has been pushed to 2021.
Historically, Los Angeles has had a great impact on popular culture – especially within the areas of film and music. The city is currently undergoing major changes where additional art fields are flourishing, and various national and international artists are turning towards this development. MXD (Music Export Denmark) and the Danish Arts Foundation is behind the project 'LA Crushing On DK', which aims to strengthen the music industry network for Danish musicians and music professionals. Furthermore, the ICP has been focusing on several institutional collaborations, especially within the fields of visual arts and crafts and design - counting Otis College of Art and Design and the 18th Street Arts Center.
Austin is developing rapidly and is currently registering 100 new start-up companies each week – most of them within the area of technology. This requires a reconsideration of the city's infrastructure and urban development to accommodate the many migrants and their families. In relation to this, Austin already has its eyes on Denmark, which has resulted in a cultural alliance, where the Danish Design Center is to lead a workshop on urban development for US mayors during the Austin-based festival South by Southwest. Furthermore, the festival focuses on creating strong and lasting partnerships with local as well as international artists and cultural actors.
In Houston, the potential regarding city-to-country collaboration is rather obvious. The Danish government has recently established a new consulate general in the city, which creates noticeable opportunities for close cooperation between Denmark and Houston. The attention is mainly focused on institutional collaborations within the fields of visual art, crafts and design. Examples on current partners are The Menil Collection, Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts and The Museum of Fine Arts.
The efforts in Chicago are particularly centered on architecture, design and urban development. Art plays an important role as a tool to create social changes, which is particularly evident in this city. An example of this is the project ‘Cabbage Patch’, which was built on the basis of a collaboration with the annual Chicago Architecture Biennale. The project uses significant values such as citizen involvement, education and sustainability as the main foundation for the artwork itself. Other partnerships include Chicago Public Library, EXPO Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago and City of Chicago.
Detroit is situated in a time marked by turmoil and changes. The city is recovering from a historic social and economic low, which has left large areas of the city deserted, and caused a massive problem regarding unemployment. This has led to a substantial demand for solutions in terms of rebuilding the city and rethinking the infrastructure. Furthermore, the current condition of the city has been the catalyst for a large number of social as well as artistic experiments. Through the Travel & Talk-initiative as well as collaborations with organizations such as Detroit Collaborative Design Center and Design Core Unit there has been an extensive focus on partnerships and mutual exchange of knowledge and experience.
The ICP have selected a number of strategic priorities within the fields of crafts and design, music and architecture. Additional to the priorities already mentioned, the ICP have also chosen visual arts, performance arts and film as areas of interest.
Crafts and design
There are currently a significant incitement to expose Danish crafts and design on the American art scene. In response to this, the Danish Arts Foundation have made extensive investments in a special effort in the United States, where the goal is to establish an international platform for Danish crafts and design. The Danish Modern movement was hugely celebrated in the US during the 1950’s and 1960’s, and an additional aim is to nourish this positive conception of Danish crafts and design.
Creating international connections through visiting programs
A range of selected American key figures, such as curators, gallery owners, collectors or academic actors, are invited to Denmark. The intention is to let them experience the Danish scene for crafts and design firsthand through tailored visiting programs. These invitations are crucial in the process of networking and establishing new opportunities for Danish crafts and design.
Strategic residency agreements
The establishment of residencies in collaboration with prominent American institutions, platforms or other collaborative partners can be crucial in the career-enhancement of Danish artists. These residencies also work in terms of contributing to the new narratives around Danish design and as to create a connection with other Danish design initiatives and projects in the United States. Current residencies include Otis College of Art and Design and 18th Street Arts Center in LA and Cranbook College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
There has been created a special fund for Danish artists with the aim to support projects and artistic opportunities for development in the United States. The intention is to form a basis for the artists to research for potential projects and/or collaborations and to initiate them. There are two rounds of application, so that the projects initiated the first year can be further developed for the next round of application.
The Danish music scene keeps expanding and it has especially evolved over the past few years. The multitude of international artists, songwriters and producers located in Denmark are bigger than ever, and plenty of Danish talents are well on their way towards achieving international careers. The American market for music is of major significance to the Danish music industry, and several strategic efforts can therefore be found within the US-initiative - especially within the field of popular music.
Strategic media partnerships
With its weekly online activities, the Seattle-based music/media platform KEXP reaches out to more than 200,000 people globally. The platform is perceived as a highly influential actor in the promotion of up-coming bands and artist, which is mainly happening through the popular live sessions. In 2021, KEXP will enter a collaboration with the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces and SPOT Festival. KEXP will attend the festival and promote current SPOT artists via live sessions. The sessions will be posted on KEXP’s YouTube Channel, reaching nearly 2 million international subscribers.
Strengthening of industry networks
There is a specific focus on strengthening the music industry network in Los Angeles. The ambition of this particular effort is to provide the Danes with an increased market insight and a strong relationship with significant actors in the American music industry. This can generate an opening for creating important networks and collaborations for current international names as well as future generations of new talents. The project 'LA Crushing On DK' involves two networking events in LA, as well as four visits to Denmark for music industry professionals from LA consisting of company visits, study visits, listening sessions and concerts with Danish artists.
South by Southwest – boosting the Nordic platform
The world's largest music industry festival takes place every year in Austin as part of the wide-ranging festival South by Southwest (SXSW). Besides representing music, the festival also covers interactive media, film, gaming, comedy and much more. In a collaboration with SAS and Roskilde Festival, The Agency of Culture and Palaces has been present at the festival since 2017 and operated via the joint Nordic platform ‘House of Scandinavia’. Through this platform, Danish music has been curated and promoted to an American audience and significant music industry professionals. This concept was to have been featured at the festival in March 2020. The aim is to strengthen the Danish presence at SXSW and to promote shared Nordic values through concerts, talks and workshops. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, this engagement has been pushed to 2021.
Danish Jazz in North America
JazzDanmark, the Augustine Foundation, The International Culture Panel and the Danish Arts Foundation has created a project that brings the finest of the Danish jazz scene to North America. The project provides professional, well-established jazz orchestras with the opportunity to perform at the world-renowned Chicago Jazz Festival, a circuit at the most prominent venues on the East Coast and the opportunity to showcasing at the NYC Winter Jazz. In addition, all musicians participate in a preparatory workshop- and strategy course in Denmark.
At the moment, there is a great interest in Danish architecture in the United States. In addition to the interest in the popular and distinctive Danish aesthetics, the increasing focus on sustainability as well as innovative solutions for storm protection has brought the attention of the American public towards Danish architecture. With the overall theme “Commons & Community”, there has been initiated special strategic initiatives in the field of architecture - especially in Chicago and Detroit. Community engagement and social inclusion within design and planning processes are substantial areas of interest. The initiatives are based on the idea that Americans and Danes have much to learn from each other in these particular areas.
The first official Danish contribution to the Chicago Architecture Biennial was made from 10,000 cabbages. The landscape architectural work 'Cabbage Patch' aimed to promote community engagement and social inclusion through a wide variety of activities and initiatives. The project creates a social gathering point for locals and a space for discussions about our use of green spaces in the city and our relationship with nature. The project was realized in 2019.
Travel & Talk
Under the theme 'Communities', architects, visual artists, artisans and designers from Denmark and the United States have the opportunity to attend cross-artistic excursions to Detroit and Chicago, focusing on the exchange of working methods, knowledge and new ideas. This project sets the stage for a virtuous foundation for collaborations across nationality and professionalism. Additional, the American participants will have the opportunity to attend the public conference 'Commons & Communities' in Copenhagen. The project was held in September 2019, and it received a great amount of positive feedback from the 20 Danish participants. The Danish participants consisted of 10 architects, 5 visual artists and 5 artisans/designers, as well as the 12 American participants.
The Unit for Architecture, Design and Crafts and International Affairs coordinates the international activitites of the Agency for Culture and Palaces. General enquiries and questions can be directed to email@example.com
The International Culture Panel
The International Culture Panel (ICP) is a multi-ministry forum established in 2010 in continuation of the previous internationalization strategy for Danish art and culture. The forum’s priority is to promote and empower cultural exchanges between Denmark and the rest of the world. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, some engagements has been pushed to 2021.
Strategic Action Plan
Information about logos and partnerships
The logo for the ICP’s effort in the United States can be downloaded via the link below and used for Danish projects in the US. In order to work professionally with the content of the logo package, it is necessary to use similar software. The logo for the 2018-2020 US initiative includes a logo, which can be used generally for projects in the United States, as well as individual logos that specifically refer to the six geographical focus areas.
Credit titles for project funding
If your project has received funding from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish Ministry of Culture, you can download the logos here.