"Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World" Included at ARABESQUE: Arts of the Arab World February 23-March 15, 2009

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The ArtReach Foundation, an Atlanta-based nonprofit chosen to be the Exclusive Presenter for the US Tour of "Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World", is honored to announce that selected works from the Exhibition will be displayed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts during ARABESQUE: Arts of the Arab World Festival, a three-week celebration of Arab arts and culture. The festival is presented in cooperation with the League of Arab States.

The ArtReach Foundation, an Atlanta-based nonprofit chosen to be the Exclusive Presenter for the US Tour of "Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World", is honored to announce that selected works from the Exhibition will be displayed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts during ARABESQUE: Arts of the Arab World Festival, a three-week celebration of Arab arts and culture. The festival is presented in cooperation with the League of Arab States.

US Tour Co-Chairs, Katrina Griessman and Mitzi Prochnow, along with Susan Anderson, the CEO & Founder of The ArtReach Foundation, will be in Washington DC for the Opening Festivities.

"For all of us who have worked on the US Tour of "Breaking the Veils," to have selected works included in such an extraordinary event is the culmination of a dream", said Griessman. She went on to say, "This collection of artwork is more than just a tour of art. I see it as a kind of global diplomatic initiative…through the use of art. The ARABESQUE is absolutely the perfect place for some of the women artists' work from "Breaking the Veils" to be shown".

The artworks are drawn from the permanent collection of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman. The exhibition brings together the contemporary work of female artists from the Arab and Islamic world in an attempt to break the stereotypes attached to women who live there. The works on display address issues related to gender, the environment, politics, nationalism, social mores, and include abstract works that convey purely aesthetic values. For Arabesque, the Kennedy Center has created an exclusive installation using 29 paintings by the 26 Arab artists participating in the exhibit. The media are as varied as their subjects and include: oils, acrylics, watercolors, inks, gouaches, dry cacti, silkscreen, etching, collage and treated photographic print.

Susan Anderson, of The ArtReach Foundation, said that, "We are honored that the Royal Society of Fine Arts of Jordan, and the Pan Mediterranean Women's Artists Network (F.A.M.) of Greece, the organizers of "Breaking the Veils", selected us to bring this remarkable exhibition to the U.S. Now, to have selections of the exhibit's artwork shown as part of this unprecedented event in our nation's capital only adds to that honor. It is truly an opportunity to advance cross-cultural understanding and dialogue, a strong need at this time in our global history." She added that, "There are several common denominators that exist between "Breaking the Veils" and The ArtReach Foundation. Both use the arts to build understanding and bridge a connection across divides that may have been generated by great pain and disrespect for humanity. And, after a decade of working its way from Bosnia eastward, like "Breaking the Veils", The ArtReach Foundation plans to become established in Jordan, where it will build the ArtReach Middle East Institute to train teachers in the use of the arts for healing.

Under the tireless leadership of the two U.S. Tour Co-Chairs, Griessman and Prochnow, whose thirty year friendship began at Harvard in an art history class, then continued in Washington where they were both students at American University, this initiative has become a passion. The Tour's 3-year commitment was launched at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center last June, and is now slated to open in September 2009 at Yale University. Ms. Griessman, a former Wall Street institutional fixed income salesperson, turned full-time volunteer, and Ms. Prochnow had been looking for an inspiring project to work on together. That project came when the two of them accompanied Ms. Anderson to an International Peace Forum on Rhodes, Greece in 2002, where she had been invited to speak about The ArtReach Foundation's work in Bosnia, and the use of the creative expressive arts as a means to help heal from trauma. It was then that all three women had a chance to see the exhibit's artworks, inaugurated at that event by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan. Ms. Prochnow remembers from her first impression until now, "This exhibit provides the viewer with an opportunity to break the veils of misunderstanding and misconception, and thus, to embrace all humanity's universal similarities, instead of differences." Since that 2002 inauguration, the full 72 works of art have traveled to 21 venues throughout Europe and Australia.

Delta Air Lines is the major sponsor for this U.S. Tour.

http://www.artreachfoundation.org

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Mitzi Prochnow

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