Art in Embassies

The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies advances U.S. public diplomacy through temporary and permanent art exhibitions, publications, and cultural exchange.

A Mission for Cultural Diplomacy

For five decades, Art in Embassies (AIE) has played a leading role in U.S. public diplomacy through a focused mission of vital cross-cultural dialogue and understanding through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchange. The Museum of Modern Art first envisioned this global visual arts program in 1953, and President John F. Kennedy formalized it at the U.S. Department of State in 1963. Today, AIE is a public-private partnership engaging over 20,000 participants globally, including artists, museums, galleries, universities, and private collectors, and encompasses over 200 venues in 189 countries.  Professional curators and registrars create and ship about 60 exhibitions per year, and since 2003, over 58 permanent collections have been installed in the Department’s diplomatic facilities throughout the world.

Art in Embassies fosters U.S. relations within local communities world-wide – an integral aspect of Department of State’s commitment to smart power. In the last decade, more than 100 artists have traveled to countries participating in AIE’s exchange programs and collaborated with local artists to produce works now on display in embassies and consulates. Going forward, AIE will continue to engage, educate, and inspire global audiences, showing how art can transcend national borders and build connections among peoples.