This programme has evolved from the public diplomacy activities of the Citizen Exchange Corps established in 1962 with the support of the White House, the State Department and both Houses of Congress as well as representatives of civil society. During the 1980s the organisation (which then changed its name to Citizen Exchange Council) developed exchange programmes mostly with the U.S.S.R. The 1990s saw another name change (CEC International Partners) and the broadening of the regional scope (corresponding to the activities of the Soros Foundation). The importance of the ArtsLink Awards programme, however, led to another name change in 2003 to CEC ArtsLink Inc.
Types of awards
ArtsLink kicked off in 1992, with support from the Soros Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. By 2004, CEC ArtsLink had broadened its scope from the former Soviet countries to the 30 countries of Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. Since its inception, ArtsLink has made over $4M in funding available to artists, arts managers, and arts organisations through ArtsLink Residencies, Independent Projects, and ArtsLink Projects awards. Now called ArtsLink Awards, the programme has a cycle of alternate year deadlines according to discipline.
This programme offers artists and arts managers from the eligible European and Asian countries a five-week residency at an established, non-profit arts organisation in the USA. Since 1993 over 30 applicants from Slovenia have been awarded. Among them Neja Tomšič from MoTA Museum of Transitory Art, Kolja Saksida from Zvviks Audio Visual Association (hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008), Barbara Novakovič Kolenc from Muzeum Institute (hosted by Yale School of Drama in 2007), Polonca Lovšin from Obrat Association (hosted by Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, 2006), Mojca Jug from Bunker Institute (hosted by Danspace Project, New York in 2005), Goran Bogdanovski from Fičo Ballet (hosted by GOH Productions, New York in 2003) ...
Since 1999 CEC ArtsLink also supports artists and arts managers in undertaking projects in the United States in collaboration with a US non-profit arts organisation or an individual artist. So far this award has been received by the following artists from Slovenia: Dušan Kirbiš (2000), Katarina Pejović (2002), Emil Hrvatin and Damijan Kracina (2003).
The award supports American artists, curators, presenters, and arts organisations in undertaking projects in 25 eligible countries in Europe and Asia. Over 300 individuals have received awards. In 2007, for example, the Temporary Services art collective from Chicago was hosted by P74 Centre and Gallery in order to work on their documentation of unique inventions and re-inventions of everyday objects, and in 2003 sculptor John D. Antone from Falls Church worked in Ljubljana with colleague Roman Makše and the Sestava Society on the transformation of the former military prison in Celica Hostel.