The Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art has announced a $1.8 million gift from the Sultanate of Oman in support of educational programs celebrating Omani and East African arts and culture.
Made through the Sultan of Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., the largest gift ever to the museum will help fund multiyear programming starting in 2014, including "Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa," an initiative to highlight the cross-cultural connections between East and North Africa and the Middle East. Programming for the initiative will include traditional and newly commissioned dance and musical performances based on contemporary and historical connections between Oman and East Africa; a lecture series, virtual exhibitions, cross-cultural exchanges, and hands-on workshops on Omani art; public workshops on calligraphy and Majmar craft painting; and a celebratory look at Swahili traditions.
"Oman's gift marks a significant milestone as we look to celebrate our museum's fiftieth anniversary in 2014," said NMAA director Johnnetta Betsch Cole. "This unique gift and collaboration will enable audiences to gain a broader understanding of how African and Omani history and culture shape and enrich the world."