A few days ago, Juan Carlos I opened the Iberian Suite Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington. Around six hundred artists from approximately twenty countries influenced by the Iberian culture are taking part in the Festival this year, which is held from 3 to 24 March 2015. Alicia Adams, who participated in Fundación Carolina’s IVP (International Visitor Program), organizes the Festival. We have contacted her in order to know the characteristics and signification of the Iberian Suite.
Within the framework of the International Visitor Program (IVP), Fundación Carolina invited Alicia Adams to Spain in 2011. She was Vice President of International Programming and Dance at the time and one of the most outstanding professionals of performing arts in the United States. Adams visited Spain to get to know several festivals, institutions and companies of performing arts, including music, dance and theatre, on the purpose of establishing possible ways of collaboration in the 2011 Spain Arts & Culture program. Inspired by our Ministry of Culture, such event aimed to help with the celebration of a festival that included a broader, more representative offer of the Spanish performing arts at the Kennedy Center.
During the last three years, the Kennedy Center has brought the most representative part of both Spanish and Portuguese culture and tradition. Through the Iberian Suite, they have also presented their global influence, where around six hundred artists from more or less twenty countries influenced by the Iberian culture participated.
Fundación Carolina: Iberian Suite showcases the Iberian culture in the United States. Could it also be considered as a tool to promote both Spanish culture and image? To what extent?
Alicia Adams:The festivals for the Kennedy Center represent an opportunity to present in an intense way the best of the arts and culture of a country or region to our audiences. Many of the artists and authors that we are presenting are those that have not been presented at the Center before and therefore certainly is new work that will engage our audiences. I think it is certainly a tool for cultural diplomacy and cultural exchange which is so important in the world that we now live in. The arts are the best tool that we have to foster understanding amongst peoples.
FC: Is the Iberian culture considered to be a civilization?
A.A: Certainly, from the 12th century to the 18th century at least, the Iberian peninsula meets the definition of civilization– an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached. I think that Americans are not that familiar with the term Iberia which is why it was important to use the term Iberia in the title and all of our messaging to describe and define place. Certainly from the performances and exhibitions t+hey will glean the high level of civilization that existed in Spain, which was a place where people from all parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East migrated and shared knowledge, experience and culture.
FC: How did Alicia Adams connect with the Iberian culture? To what extent did Fundación Carolina have an influence in such connection?
A.A: I was certainly familiar with some of the arts and culture of Iberia before working on this festival. It was exciting to then have an opportunity to explore it in depth and to curate a festival that would showcase the most interesting and innovative work from the peninsula. The Carolina Foundation afforded me an opportunity to visit many cities and to begin the journey that I took. I am deeply grateful for that start as I think we have created a wonderful festival Iberian Suite: global arts remix.