Crossing Bridges is a hybrid bi-national Mexico – United States organization promoting cultural exchange among the countries and cultures of the Americas, with a current focus on artist residencies in Mexico. Crossing Bridges LLC is based in New York City. Puentes y Redes S.C. (Bridges and Networks), based in Mexico City, holds up the other end of the bridge. On the social responsibility side, Crossing Bridges is collaborating on the adaptation of three eco-tourism parks created and owned by the P’urépecha indigenous community of the state of Michoacán, Mexico, into international artist residencies. The emphasis is on exchange with indigenous artists from Canada and the United States. although this emphasis is non-exclusive.
Crossing Bridges has been birthing since founder Jan Hanvik began working on US-Mexico dance exchange projects in Mexico and Manhattan in the 1980s. It continued developing while he pursued the field of transcultural exchange in numerous cultures throughout the hemisphere. An LLC was created 12/16 to house Crossing Bridges’ activities.
The concept of creating artist residency programs in Mexico came about when Hanvik’s affiliation with the 500-member Alliance of Artists Communities led to a deep identification with the global artist residency community. An opportunity revealed itself in the fact that 70,000 (of 90,000) applicants to U.S.-based artist residencies failed to be matched up with an opportunity.
Many travel companies offer cultural tourism. Few focus on creative tourism, in which the arts or creative tourist embeds themselves in the surrounding cultural milieu. There is a lack of definition in the field, allowing Crossing Bridges to help define the field. Hanvik has realized transcultural projects with Puerto Rico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, Chile, Argentina, Russia, Taiwan, Canada, Norway, France, Belgium, Spain, the Quiché Maya of Guatemala, and numerous other countries and cultures. He designed and implemented an interstate multiyear cultural tourism project, Art in a Landscape, the Sculpture & Nature Tour, guiding the cultural tourist to sculpture parks throughout New York State’s Hudson Valley and Massachusetts, and for 8 years ran a Latino-founded international artist residency program in New York City. He has researched the field of multinational creative/cultural tourism in over 34 countries, having arranged the artistic programming, the funding, transportation, lodging, marketing, and all other appurtenances of a meaningful, immersive cultural tourism experience. The rescue and renaissance of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center in Manhattan; curation of the Guatemala pavilion of the Tama, Japan International Farmers Fashion Fair; a tour of Mexican dance festivals by the Hunter College (New York) Dance Company; and Art in a Landscape are just a few examples.
Crossing Bridges has slowly been birthing since the founder, Jan Hanvik, began working on US-Mexico arts exchange projects in the 1980s. It continued developing while he pursued the field of transcultural exchange in numerous cultures throughout the hemisphere. An LLC was created 12/16 to house Crossing Bridges’ activities. Hanvik resigned his full-time position as Executive Director of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center, an intentionally pluralistic multi-arts residency and community cultural center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side May 2016 to dedicate himself fully to the enterprise. The first trail university-level exchange project, between Elon University in North Carolina, was realized in January 2017. The first artist residency, Tlacopac International Artist Residency in Mexico City, was launched in its beta version in February, 2018.
The product or concept of brokering residencies by artists from all parts of the world in artist residency programs throughout Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, and Latin America, came about when founder Hanvik was hired by the National Endowment for the Arts right out of college and sent around the country to examine conditions at artist residencies nationwide and their outreach to artists of color. His affiliation with the 500-member Alliance of Artists Communities since before its founding in 1990 led to a deep identification with the need to shore up this community. A prime market opportunity revealed itself in the statistic that 70,000 (of 90,000) applicants to U.S.-based artist residencies, applicants ready to invest their money, time and energy in such an enterprise, failed to be matched up with such an opportunity.
Market research revealed that an increasing number of travel companies are ramping up their cultural tourism offerings. However, these are focused on such formulaic trips as Venice, the pyramids, and the Metropolitan Museum and Museum of Modern Art. Almost none are focused on creative tourism, in which the arts tourist embeds her/himself in the surrounding cultural milieu. When the figure emerged that in the U.S. alone, 70,000 potential arts tourists sought such an immersive creative tourism experience and couldn’t find it, the door to the emerging market swung wide open.
Crossing Bridges succeeds because the founder has realized such transcultural projects with Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Japan, Chile, Argentina and numerous other countries and cultures. Hanvik designed and implemented an interstate multiyear cultural tourism project, and for 8 years ran a Latino-founded international artist residency program in New York City. Our great allies and collaborators include the Alliance of Artists Communities, the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the College Art Association, and many more. The only barriers to entry are start up costs (luckily, in this field, limited to tech requirements) and the lack of definition in the field, which is actually a plus, allowing Crossing Bridges to DEFINE the field.
The great strengths of the Crossing Bridges management team is that it has already proven itself to be a team, realizing projects together in New York, Mexico, Argentina, Japan, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Chile, and other countries. Hanvik has researched the field of Ibero-American cultural/creative tourism in over 34 countries, having arranged the artistic programming, the funding, the transportation, lodging, marketing, and all other appurtenances of a truly meaningful, immersive creative/cultural tourism experience. The rescue and renaissance of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center in Manhattan; the creation of Art in a Landscape: The Sculpture and Nature Tour; curation of the Guatemalan pavilion in the Tama, Japan International Farmers Fashion Fair, are just a few examples.
Crossing Bridges is developing a new financial model emphasizing the for-profit model of sales of product, in this case cultural tourism packages, while availing ourselves of the fiscal sponsorship of a network partner, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit PAMAR Inc., also dedicated to Ibero-American cultural exchange. During startup and in slow periods, Crossing Bridges will broker one-off productions of special events for consultancy fees generally paid by grant income. On the social responsibility side of Crossing Bridges’ operations, it will undertake the creation of a subset of the Ibero-American network of artist residencies Residencias en Red (or RER), namely, a network of 9 – 10 residencies in indigenous communities throughout the Americas. It is believed that a major donor to this LIRA (League of Indigenous Residencies for Artists) initiative has been lined up for a one-time-only donation of $250,000. This amount will underwrite start-up and general operating costs into 2018.