Each local arts agency is unique. Their diversity in community size, geographic location, and types of international programming represent multiple models through which other communities may be inspired, regardless of their individual size or available resources.

The survey of international activity at the local level demonstrates that:  

  • International cultural engagement by local arts agencies occurs in communities of all sizes, spanning the spectrum of large cities with populations in the millions, such as Los Angeles, to small communities like St. Johns, Michigan, with a population of less than 10,000.
  • Local arts agencies are annually involved in international engagement and arts-related citizen diplomacy activities across 13 disciplines.
  • Communities representing all geographic areas across the United States have forged international connections reaching all regions of the world, including countries like Chile, China, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Russia.
  • With some notable exceptions in larger communities, the majority of these international interactions are coordinated on less than $25,000 per year.
  • The majority of these international programs are motivated by the local arts agency’s mission and are designed to support increased mutual or cultural understanding.
  • Local arts agencies are more likely to support international events within the United States than to send their artists abroad. Many of these programs make use of the skills of professional as well as amateur or community-based artists.
  • There is no one funding formula. Local arts agencies support their work through a combination of financial sources, including earned income from ticket sales and membership fees, and contributions from corporations, foundations, local and state entities, and international partners.
  • Partnerships are critical to success. Local arts agencies collaborate with other cultural organizations as well as with non-arts organizations to support interdisciplinary programming. For example, many local arts agencies have forged strong long-term partnerships with sister cities programs operating in their communities, or with their local public school systems, colleges, and universities.

For more results of the Survey and interviews review the special report Backyard Diplomacy: Prospects for International Cultural Engagement by Local Arts Agencies (LAA) (pdf, 2.3 MB). You can also download the survey questions (pdf, 307 KB).