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A n n u a l R e p o r t 2 0 1 5


Arts and Culture


rts and cultural programs are some of the oldest and most robust in the sister cities network and are often people’s first

introduction to another country. By experiencing and exploring the culture of an international community, citizens gain

insight into the history, values, customs, and sensibilities of their partners.

Today, cultural exchanges provide the foundation for many sister city relationships. These exchanges take many different

forms, with musical performances, art exhibits, peace parks and gardens, sporting events, and international cultural festivals

proving popular throughout the sister city network.

Duluth, Minnesota

122 Conversations: Person to Person, Art Beyond Borders

is an artist led project based on the art of engagement

— art derived from the process of interconnection and

cross-cultural dialogue. Sponsored by the Tweed Museum

of Art and in collaboration with Duluth Sister Cities


and University

of Minnesota

Duluth, School

of Fine Arts,

the project


the combined

122 years of

relationship with Duluth’s five sister Cities: Rania, Iraqi

Kurdistan; Växjö, Sweden; Petrozavodsk, Russia; Thunder

Bay, Canada; and Ohara-Isumi City, Japan. The work in

the exhibition represents two years of planning and 60

Skype or in person interviews with 10 residents of each

of the five sister cities of Duluth, including the mayor from

each city. The large scale paintings created by Anne

Labovitz in her studio, measure 40’ by 40’ and are inspired

and directed by the spirited cross-cultural interviews.

Inscribing conversations through drawing, painting or

carving, the artfully documented dialogue is applied and

overlapped in layers on paper. Each of the ten pieces

depict an interpretation of the conversations and include

faces, words, and descriptions of the experiences that

relate to the individuals that were interviewed.

Riverside, California-Obuasi, Ghana

One of eight

sister cities

in Riverside,


the Obuasi,


Sister City


hosted their

third annual African fashion show fundraiser in 2015. The

fundraiser showcased beautiful West African clothing

as well as West African musical groups, dancers, and

cuisine. Proceeds from the fundraiser benefited sister city

exchanges and health initiatives.

Tacoma, Washington-Biot, France

Tacoma, Washington's newest sister city, Biot, is known

as the glass capital of France, and their relationship

is based around glassblowing and the celebration of

glass art. Tacoma is widely known for its Museum of

Glass—which features the world’s largest hot shop—and

for being the hometown of world-renowned artist Dale

Chihuly. Recent delegations from France have included

two world famous glass artists who worked as guests at

the Museum of Glass during their visit. They also spent

time at the innovative Hilltop Artists Program, which is a

glass blowing studio for youth in one of Tacoma’s junior

high schools. The French artists were so moved by the


they began

discussions of

an exchange

program with


glass artists and

youth artists.