Art and cultural exchange are important for a variety of reasons. Not only does art offer a form of self-expression and a window into different perspectives, it also serves as a way to make conversations about differences more accessible in our communities and our world. It is a first step to embracing multiculturalism and diversity in a positive way.

But you don’t have to just take our word for it! See what others have to say  in the links below.

On Art as Diplomacy:

“Cultural exchange programs expose students to people from different cultural, religious, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds and in so doing provide the opportunity for students to develop a greater understanding of diversity – both in Australia and worldwide. They allow students to interact with and learn from people who are different from themselves and to participate in new and unique experiences beyond their own communities. Cultural exchange assists students to develop positive relationships with others, understand a broader range of perspectives, and develop the knowledge and skills needed for participation in our multicultural society.”

– Cultural Exchange NSW

“While living in China, I befriended a Japanese classmate who spoke no English. I spoke no Japanese, but we both spoke Chinese—and more importantly, we both played guitar.  Our connection to music served as the foundation of friendship. She taught me to play Japanese rock songs, and I memorized the lyrics to harmonize with her.  Years later, I stayed with her family in Hiroshima and learned Japanese well enough to correspond with her via email. Along the way, I also amassed nearly 24 hours of Japanese music which I share with others every chance I get.” 

– Alicia Atkins, createquity

“Students nowadays are more likely to have travelled abroad by age of 16 and have easy access to a world of information through the internet. However, they still need to be guided through the process of discovery so that a deeper understanding of their own place in the word is developed….The moment in which a cohort of year 8 pupils land in Seville and realise that Spanish has a life beyond the textbook, the year 7s visiting Normandy and noticing that people behave and react in familiar ways but the small differences are what really matters. The awkward dinner conversations of foreign exchange students with their German host families, the sudden realisation that Dubai is such a long way away on so many different levels. These are character building experiences that bring out the best and worst in all of us and from which we learn so much.”

– Jose Picardo, The Guardian

From our Students and Teachers:

“Paintbrush Diplomacy has been a huge supporter of the schools in Hayward and a catalyst for changing the role that art has in the schools. With the support of Joan Sieber and Paintbrush Diplomacy, we have completed four years of Art Integration Workshops and one year of Elementary School Teacher Leaders. These programs have been invaluable for supporting the arts and changing the conversation in Hayward.”

– Geoff Landreau, Fine Arts Teacher, Mt. Eden High School

“Art makes me feel happy and creative. I love to draw and color because I can use all the colors.”

3rd grade student, Harder Elementary School

“I feel cool and calm when I am making art. It helps me express my feelings.”

5th grade student, Harder Elementary School

“PBD has supported my after school program since 2012. Thanks to their generous support I have been able to offer after school art classes that include drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture to students of a low income community in Hayward. Our school did not have any art program and by offering the class after school we were able to expose students to a new way of learning and demonstrating understanding. PBD has being a main supporter in my development as a teacher and instructor of arts integration for the district. The district is also expanding their view about the importance of the arts in education which is impacting positively the lives of the students in Hayward.”

Marisol Pastor-Cabrera, Arts Teacher, Harder Elementary School

“Art feels relaxing and what I like the most is that you can figure out many things in the process while you are doing it.”

6th grade student, Harder Elementary School