The International Arts Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1987.
The Foundation’s mission is to use music, art, and education to:
· Promote cultural diversity and global awareness
· Implement cultural, civic, educational, and economic development programs to benefit the community
· Increase awareness of the value of culturally diverse communities
Pavilion of Global Cultures
In keeping with the Foundation’s commitment to diversity, the Pavilion of Global Cultures offers a place for the expression of diverse cultures through traditional customs, dances, songs, and folklore.
The Children’s Global Playground
Because one is never too young to learn the importance of diversity, IAF partnered with Putumayo Kids to introduce The Children’s Global Playground. Putumayo Kids is the children’s and educational division of Putumayo World Music. Putumayo Kids is committed to introducing children to other cultures through fun, upbeat world music. The Children’s Global Playground gives children a space for the rejuvenation of community spirit, cultural exchange, and “edu-tainment” through arts & crafts, music, storytelling, dance and more.
NORD/International Arts Foundation Teen Camp
The foundation was a proud sponsor of the NORD/International Arts Foundation Teen Camp. Teen camp affords inner city children the opportunity to hear influential celebrities and community leaders speak on topics such as sex, violence, peer pressure, self esteem, and the value of staying in school. They also learn about various cultures, including those of Africa and the Caribbean. Many of the participants as well as other local youth gained their first volunteer and job experience at the International Arts Festival.
The capacity to create music has existed in all cultures, yet most of the American public has been exposed to only a small fraction of the world of music. One of the positive aspects of globalization has been the “discovery” of musical expressions from around the world. A smaller and more connected world has meant that westerners can begin to experience the depth of musical forms from around the world.
World music embodies the essence of diversity. Sometimes it is as different from western music as night is from day, but more often than not what we have come to call world music is a fusion of diverse cultural influences. The traditional and the modern; the rural and urban; east and west.
The International Arts Festival was designed to promote unity via the irresistible appeal. From its inception the festival has highlighted the alluring and tantalizing qualities of New Orleans life. . . Music, Arts and Food. . .
The festival attracts musical acts and artists from around the world in an effort to fuse world music and raise awareness for local community projects. Past artists include Akon, Common, India Arie, Floetry, Ernie Smith, Neutral Sisters, The Roots, Lataye, Steele Pulse, Hugh Masekela, Sugar Minott, Bambola 2000, Third World, and many more. In addition to attracting national and international artists, the Festival also serves as a platform to showcase local New Orleans artists such as Cyril Neville, Leo Nocentelli, Russell Batiste, and Early Brooks. The festival has also helped many local food vendors and crafters gain regional and national attention.
The Foundation is committed to keeping the Festival in the soulful and rich city of New Orleans and helping to economically and culturally rebuild one of the world’s most precious landmarks. IAF President and Founder sums it up best – “We’re proud that we have helped with the economic development, helped educate our young people and also brought positive cultural experiences to the entire community. We have helped with the diversity issue in terms of bridging the gap of cultural understanding and I think this is most important, more than anything we’ve accomplished thus far.”
The Foundation partners with the South African Investment Group (SAIG) to produce the One World Music Festival in Durban, South Africa. The festival is used as a tool to stimulate economic development and discourse between New Orleans and its sister city, Durban. IAF and SAIG also use their invaluable experience to promote cultural and educational exchange between the two cities and with the country of South Africa as a whole.