On February 17, 2015 a team of three visiting American art administrators from US State Department sponsored Centre Stage Cultural Exchange Program facilitated a workshop on marketing and branding for Tanzanian performing artists, producers and art administrators at the Alliance Francaise in Dar es Salaam. The one day workshop was organized by US Mission Dar es Salaam in Collaboration with Alliance Française in response to felt and expressed need by local artist for enhanced capacity to uplift themselves economically to be able to positively contribute to their communities’ social and economic wellbeing.
Through brief presentations, plenary discussions and role plays, the team of American art administrators made of Ms. Adrianne Petrillo from New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), Deidre Valente from Lisa Booth Management, Inc. (LBMI) and Ruth Waalkes from Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) shared with the participants their experiences and expertise on best marketing and branding practices with a specific focus on the American art market. They also highlighted ways and means through which local artist can create and maintain local, regional and international linkages for them to learn from one another and improve their artistic and business profiles.
Speaking after the workshop an art reporter and ethnomusicologist Iman Mani said; “The biggest thing we got as artist from this workshop is the need for performing artists to brand themselves. One of the problems facing music development in Africa and more so in Tanzania is that since music is an integral part of life, many people including musicians tend to take it for granted. This makes it difficult for them to see the business side of it and the need to brand themselves. This workshop has consolidated an understanding that there is a business side to performing arts and that for artists to succeed in the current competitive global market, they have to take the business side as seriously as they take the artistic side.”
Attended by 27 Tanzanian artists, producers and art administrators, the workshop also sought to promote the goals of Center Stage Cultural Exchange Program and U.S cultural diplomacy in general amongst Tanzanian’s art practitioners.
Center Stage is a cultural diplomacy initiative that connects foreign artists with American communities through the performing arts. Among other things, the program provides opportunities for international performing artists in dance, music and theater to tour the United States.
U.S Embassy and Alliance Francaise have been working in partnership to promote art and culture in Tanzania with a view to promoting global understanding, peace and prosperity.