April 2, 2013
Brian Jose, executive director of Fine Arts Programming for the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, is one of only four people from the United States to journey April 3-14 to Pakistan as part of the Center Stage delegation, a cultural exchange program of the U.S. Department of State.
Joining him will be Sarah Long Holland from the New England Foundation for the Arts in Boston, Robert Richter with Connecticut College and Deirdre Valente with Lisa Booth Management in New York.
Jose and the group will be participating in workshops, panel discussions and auditioning artists. They will travel to the communities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.
Center Stage is a U.S. government program that books artists from abroad to tour the U.S. The goals of the program are to create opportunities for artists and Americans to meet, talk, share and learn from one another; and to introduce artists to the diversity of America in its geography, its people, ideas and cultures.
Other delegations traveled to Morocco and Vietnam earlier in March. As a result of these three trips, six to eight ensembles from the three countries will come to the U.S. for month-long tours between June and December 2014. The groups will represent a range of contemporary forms of music, dance and theater. "It's highly likely that one or more of these artists will appear at CSB or SJU," Jose noted.
Jose was both surprised and humbled when he received the call in January to invite him to participate in the program.
"I feel very lucky, blessed and humbled to be able to be a part of this program," Jose said. "When I received the call, I asked 'Why me?' I was told that it is because the work we do here, particularly with our residency programs, is nationally known and exceptionally well done. I am honored to do this for my country."
Jose has been the executive director of Fine Arts Programming since August 2008. He is responsible for establishing the strategic and programmatic direction for the department and is strongly committed to collaboration between the arts and community life.