Clark Foundation Shifts Focus to International Cultural Engagement

Long known for its support of reproductive rights and efforts to improve the management of cultural and public institutions in New York, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation has introduced a new initiative designed to promote international cultural exchange, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The shift in focus reflects the personal interests of Robert Sterling Clark, who died in 1955 and had a passion for art and the exploration of other cultures. So far this year, the foundation has awarded $1.8 million to arts organizations that promote international cultural exchange by introducing American culture overseas and introducing American audiences to other cultures, especially in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Clark Foundation president Margaret C. Ayers told the Journal that the United States has a long history of using culture as a means of furthering diplomacy but that the approach fell out of favor during the 1990s. Ayers added that she hopes the foundation can use its grantmaking to revitalize the tradition of international cultural exchange.

Melanie Grayce West. "Foundation Shifts Focus to International Exchange." Wall Street Journal 08/23/2011.