The Center for World Arts is a founding member of the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium (TACAC). TACAC is a landmark program designed to initiate and sustain a dynamic exchange of arts and ideas between artists, arts organizations, and public communities throughout the United States and the African continent. The Consortium works with a range of African contemporary artists living and working in Africa and/or the Diaspora to interpret contemporary life through traditional, popular, and or contemporary forms. The Consortium’s programs are rooted in experiential opportunities that nurture dialogue and exchange allowing organic connections to evolve among artists, professional and public communities. We are dedicated to developing, hosting, presenting, and supporting dance, music, theater, multidisciplinary, and performance arts projects by artists who are interpret contemporary life through traditional, popular, or contemporary forms.
Joan Frosch, director of the Center for World Arts, analyzed the methodology and function of the work of the Consortium in five interrelated and interdependent program areas (Frosch 2011). Each area includes a range of activities that Consortium members individually and collectively develop, host, present and support:
Founded in 2004, in response to the lack of viable exchange programs in the U.S. for artists from Africa, the Consortium is currently comprised of 11 diverse and dynamic U.S. arts organizations, including festivals, performing and visual arts centers, producers, and universities. Each member has made a long-term commitment — on a curatorial, institutional, and personal level — to multi-dimensional and multi-directional cultural exchange. In the collective of our consortium, we possess expertise in creative residencies, scholarship, touring, presenting, and collaboration with African partners. MAPP International serves as General Manager of the Consortium.
The Center for World Arts offers the celebrated African performing arts program at the University of Florida, directed by Mohamed DaCosta (Guinea), and offers extended creative residencies to individual African artists, as well. Further, the Center documents and archives artist activities, analyzes in writing and film key artistic movements, and educates students, professionals, and the greater public through public performance and an array of publications. Through its celebrated filmmaking, residencies, and publication UF Center for World Arts has contributed a pioneering history of contemporary artists and arts commentators in and of Africa. Our work has featured the art and ideas of such luminaries as: Faustin Linyekula (DR Congo) and Panibra Gabriel Canda (Mozambique), Lacina Coulibaly and Souleymane Badolo (Burkina Faso), Germaine Acogny (Benin/Senegal)Nora Chipaumire (Zimbabwe/USA), Michel Kouakou/ Daudet Fabrice/Nadia Beugré (Cote d’lvoire/France), and Mamela Nyamza, Neliwise Xaba (South Africa)and Kettly Noel (Mali), among many others.
The Consortium has received the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Ford Foundation, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Fund for National Projects. Individual touring and residency projects have received support from CulturesFrance, and from the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (with lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation). Center for World Arts supporters, such as the National Endowment of the Arts, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the French Consulate (Miami), and SouthArts, along with the University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance, College of the Arts, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Center for African Studies, France Florida Institute, the Harn Museum of Art, Warrington College of Business, and University of Florida Performing Arts, among others, have supported our participation in TACAC, for which we are grateful.