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Mission Statement
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The mission of the eeg-cowles Foundation is to contribute to increasing international understanding between people of different cultural heritages through exchanges in the arts. The Foundation is also committed to supporting durable projects in the arts, thereby contributing to the artistic and economic independence of artists whenever possible.

The contemporary dance programs supported by the Foundation are the result of discussions held directly with the dancers involved, from each country, to try to respond to needs defined by the artists themselves. We believe that an artist is someone who strives to put into practice an original and personal vision through non-pre-determined expression. We try to encourage the uniqueness that contemporary dancers in Africa today can bring to the emerging local, national and international performing arts scene, which in turn enriches the experiences and exchanges between artists and audiences of very different backgrounds wherever encountered.

The contemporary dance programs supported by the Foundation in Africa since the end of 2010 are part of a new and exciting artistic exchange, not only between dancers in their own and in other African countries but also with dancers from the rest of the world — an ever-increasing family of artists without borders, clearly contributing to human understanding and peace.

Vanguard contemporary performing arts open new ways of thinking and looking, questioning and acting in society and the world. At the same time, experimental contemporary performing arts are rarely self-supporting and rarely provide job security or steady income. Creativity is fragile, and can never be considered a commodity. Nevertheless, all civilizations and cultures are remembered for their art, and no people on earth have survived without it. Contemporary performing arts must necessarily be subsidized for the cultural enrichment of all.

There is a vital urgency on several levels in the support now provided by the Foundation to programs in West and Central Africa: the need for art itself to enlighten people's lives, the empowerment of both men and women by encouraging independent thought and action through the creative process, and a response to literacy and health through the educational benefits of dance. Our programs can provide handholds to economic survival, and, in some cases, simply to survival itself. The Foundation supports programs and artists confronted by war in their countries who have chosen art rather than arms. There are also those who have survived in the streets, child-soldiers, child-prostitutes and vulnerable adolescents who are now able to restructure their lives through dance. By offering to all these young people our workshops in creative dance, the Foundation helps lead them to self-confidence and self-expression in a new life.

Ours is a small family foundation, able to work quickly and closely with the artists concerned. We believe in being present, in being close to the artists themselves. We believe it is important to work with the same artists over a certain period of time to allow us to better understand each other, to build basic skills and communication, to create links of trust and hopefully to facilitate a creative future for all those involved. If we could, we would create a peace corps for the arts, but, within our own financial limitations, we believe we are making a difference in people's lives on a small but very important human level.

October 2011