The Odessa Review, Issue 9
In May 2017, H.E. Marie Louise Yovanovitch, the 9th United States Ambassador to Ukraine, invited the artist George-Ann Gowan, a longtime friend and a resident of her native Kent, Connecticut, to participate in their second joint public diplomacy project under the aegis of the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies program. The global visual arts program, formalized by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, is a public-private partnership engaging over 20,000 participants globally, including artists, museums, galleries, universities, and private collectors, shipping about 60 temporary exhibitions per year and curating the permanent collections of the Department’s diplomatic facilities throughout the world. George-Ann identifies as a cultural diplomat: ‘I realize how meeting just a single person from another country can change one’s perception of that place’. Over the course of her short visit she meets with local artists, museum and gallery professionals, academics and students, immersing herself in the local visual culture while giving lectures and workshops, and sharing openly her experience as an artist, a local patriot of Connecticut, and a woman who used creativity to overcome personal tragedy and to inspire others.