Tag Archives: Creative and Performing Arts

Are You an Artist Interested in Applying for a Fulbright Grant? Check Out Brian Rutenberg’s Video and Attend Tomorrow’s Webinar.

Thinking of applying to Fulbright in the Creative and Performing Arts and wonder how the program can influence your career? Listen to Brian Rutenberg, Fulbright U.S. Student alumnus, describe how his time in Ireland on his grant continues to inform his work. Want to learn more about the application and requirements? Attend tomorrow’s webinar at 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET. For further details, click here.

A Bit of My Culture for a Bit of Yours

By Derrell Acon, 2013-2014, Italy

Derrell Acon

Derrell Acon, 2013-2014, Italy, performing “Da Dove Viene La Black Art” at the American University of Rome

And so it all began with an email stating that I had been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student grant. I would present on Black American Art while I researched operas by Giuseppe Verdi in Italy. I arrived in the country with wide eyes ready to buckle down on my research and tailor my Black Art presentations. Almost immediately, however, it became clear that it was not only about my projects. I could sense from the very beginning that I would be changed as a person. As an opera singer, I have traveled throughout the world quite often, but I have never lived in a place with a different culture and language for as extended a period of time as I did in Italy. From registering with the cities in which I would live to grocery shopping, to my one-on-one voice coachings with an Italian maestro who did not speak a touch of English, I slowly let the culture of the place wash over me. Time allowed me to notice subtleties in the language and the ways in which people interacted with one another. I began to gauge what was important in Italian culture and what was nonchalantly commonplace.

With the help of some old friends in Novafeltria, I first translated my Black Art lecture-recital into Italian (save the singing and poetry) and then contacted different venues that might host me. I performed “Da Dove Viene La Black Art” at places as awesome as the Liceo Leonardo da Vinci in Milan and the American University of Rome to a very packed audience. On the research side of things, I traveled to many beautiful cities seeking materials on the Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi. I attended lectures, operas, concerts, festivals, and so on to collect as much information as I could about the historic composer’s life and his music. I returned to the U.S. with hundreds of pages of notes and many great recordings.

“Mo Kapav Koz en Kreol Aster” (I Can Speak in Kreol Now)

By Diana Heise, 2011-2012, Mauritius

Diana Heise

Diana Heise, 2011-2012, Mauritius, filming for “Lame La Kone” (The Knowing Hand) in the sugarcane fields by Barkly

To give a glance into my Fulbright experience in Mauritius, I need to begin with the fact that I am a classically trained singer and it was through my relationship with music that I submerged myself in Mauritian culture. I hadn’t seriously sung for years and did not expect this impact when I was applying. So, as you start your application, I would recommend that you consider all the activities that have defined you, as these interests will help you connect abroad. For me, it was through this latent relationship to music that I became an adopted member of the band ABAIM, the crux of my Fulbright experience and my ongoing research.

ABAIM is a musical atelier with 30 members of mostly young people. Their songs are inspired by Sega Tipik, the lament music of African slaves. Additionally, they are one of the last safeguarding organizations of this musical tradition and who still teach the Ravann – a Mauritian drum and principle instrument of Sega Tipik.

ABAIM also considers itself a development organization, developing the lives of the community through music. On Saturdays, more than 60 children from throughout the island attend. Writing skills and traditional games are taught, children report news of the week during democratic assemblies, conversation can range from recounting birthdays to comments on the Syrian crisis. All in between singing.

Are You an Artist Interested in Fulbright? Watch and Learn How the Program Has Had an Impact on Artist Brian Rutenberg’s Career.

My Fulbright Life: Brian Rutenberg (Fulbright Student to Ireland, 1997) from Fulbright Program on Vimeo.

Want to learn how you can apply for a Fulbright U.S. Student grant in the arts? Check out our arts applicants tutorial and webinars.

Fulbright Wins a Silver Telly Award!

By Fulbright Staff


The Fulbright Program has been awarded a Silver Telly Award for our short film “My Fulbright Life: Brian Rutenberg”! We’re excited that the story of cultural exchange is being heard far and wide. Here’s the video:

The Telly Awards have been recognizing excellence in video for 34 years, and only 10% of 12,000 entries receive the Silver Award, their highest honor. If you’d like to see more videos on the Fulbright Program’s impact on individuals and communities, visit http://vimeo.com/fulbright