Maria Teresa Velasco
presentation: US Capitals of Culture
category: Network of Networks
In April 2007, the International Bureau of Capitals of Culture established the US Capital of Culture (USCC). The objective of this initiative is to provide a new setting to develop, support, communicate, advance and encourage local participation in the culture of the USA. Every year, as a new city is selected to be US Capital of Culture for a year, it will be able to promote its local culture and distribute its information both within the USA and abroad. Finally, the organization's goal is to establish close collaboration between USCC and other countries and regions around the world, where the Capital of Culture program already exists.
Capitals of Culture is an extraordinary approach to build local unity and engender a local sense of community as well as to promote the selected city beyond its boundaries. Hence, the International Bureau of Capitals of Culture has had great interest in developing the USCC.
During the term of the initiative, a selected Capital of Culture connects with national and international events and celebrations that give way to social cohesion and international recognition. Other projects that have already earned a special place in the world are: the Universal Expos, of which London was first in 1851, and the concept of the Olympic Games of the Modern Era, conceived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in Athens in 1896.
Capitals of Culture differ from Olympic Games and Expos in that their nomination is for a full calendar year, which gives the city enough time to promote its resources actively through the celebration of specific activities and extraordinary events that address the city's relevance.
Capitals of Culture were first established in Europe, when Melina Mercouri, Minister of Culture of Greece and well known actress, promoted their creation. Athens became the first Capital of Culture in history under the name of European Capital of Culture in 1985.
Since that time, different countries in diverse parts of the world have embraced this concept and developed their own Capital of Culture initiative.
Established in 2005, the International Bureau of Capitals of Culture provides an umbrella for the American Capital of Culture, the Brazilian Capital of Culture, and the Catalan Capital of Culture and promotes the creation of capitals of culture wherever the concept is still unknown. The Bureau supports the US Capital of Culture program.
Website: US Capital of Culture