TransCultural Exchange

Boston, Massachusetts USA
  • by Marisa Jahn, artist, USA
  • by Dr. Allen Nasseh and Farshid Saffari


Since its grassroots inception in 1989, TransCultural Exchange (TCE) has worked directly with hundreds of artists, arts organizations, foundations, galleries, museums and cultural centers in 60+ countries to produce over 350 exhibitions. TCE also provides professional development resources, new markets and career opportunities for hundreds of artists and facilitates new partnerships and exchanges between international organizations and educational institutions, leading to increased visibility, cultural understanding, and economic activity. 


TCE's chief activity is its Conferences on International Opportunities in the Arts, a major forum for linking artists to their international counterparts as well as over 100 key curators, gallerists, residency directors, and critics. More than a third of the attendees note direct tangible outcomes (funding to travel abroad, acceptance into an international residency and/or the possibility to work or exhibit overseas) as a result of their attendance. As the London Biennale Director David Medella notes, these conferences are “one of the best things in the art world today.” 


TransCultural Exchange’s website is a major source of information for artists and those who support them. Featuring links to dedicated portals documenting the organization’s exhibitions, exchanges and biennale conferences and to other organizations, funders, exhibition calls, and employment opportunities. 


For Here, There and Everywhere: The Art of Collaboration, TransCultural Exchange asked artists to work with people from different cultures and disciplines to create collaborative works. Included among the dozens of projects are the artist team PalAmeA’s creation of a public kiosk as a site for noncommercial exchange; Marisa Jahn and Conner Dickie’s use of cell phones for dispersing free poetry; Dr. Allen Nasseh and Farshid Saffari collaborated on a project named East Meets West to prepare a series of montages representing Boston Churches and Teheran Mosques.; Benoit Granier’s work with a therapist to create a new musical notation system; and TransCultural Exchange’s own Curated Conversation for the 2010 London Biennale. The aim with Here, There and Everywhere was to expand upon what TransCultural Exchange prides itself on doing – using the arts to bring people together.


As TransCultural Exchange’s Director Mary Sherman noted at the opening of TransCultural Exchange’s 2009 Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts1, “The arts most likely won’t pinpoint the cure for cancer, but that does not negate their power. Marvelous things can come from where you least suspect. Working in tandem, much can be accomplished; and the arts can help. Like the face of a beloved, the arts can stimulate our curiosity. They can give our lives meaning in ways that we may never be able to explain. Even across vast time zones and geographic distances, the arts give us the ability to touch another person and be touched—and with that, many possibilities can arise.”


This over two decades history of service has earned TransCultural Exchange awards from institutions such as the International Art Critics Association and support from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Asian Cultural Council, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Boston Foundation, Swedish Embassy, numerous consulates and the Netherland-American Foundation, among others.