Five Questions with Michael Bojesen

The Chairman of the Danish Arts Foundation Talks to Denmark In New York about Danish Arts in the USA — Denmark’s latest Cultural Enterprise

Design and crafts, architecture, visual arts, music and dance. Denmark sure has a lot to offer when it comes to culture! But even though Denmark is a small country, we still make sure our cultural heritage and innovations make it on the big stage.

Now, thanks to the four-year Danish Arts in the USA initiative, Danish culture will make its way across the United States and land in six very unique cities — Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Austin, Los Angeles and Seattle — showcasing the best and brightest of the Danish cultural milieu alongside key local stakeholders and partners.

With Danish Arts in the USA set to launch in Houston, Texas, we sat down with the Chairman of the Danish Art Foundation Michael Bojesen to talk about why the initiative is so important for the US-Denmark cultural dialogue.

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Michael Bojesen, Chairman of the Danish Art Foundation

Denmark In New York: Danish Arts in the USA is a four year cultural initiative that is set to strengthen the intercultural exchange between the US and Denmark. What makes it so vital for the US-Denmark cultural dialogue?

Michael Bojesen: There are many Danish artists who want to enter the US and become a part of the US market. But some of them have difficulty in finding a way into it. In this respect, the initiative can open doors and create platforms and networks between Danish artists and various actors in the US.

DNY: How is the Danish Arts Foundation invested in the project and what are some highlights of your involvement that you’d like to spotlight?

The Danish Arts Foundation has been investing in this project in many ways, shapes and forms such as music, theatre, architecture, crafts and design. The Danish Arts Foundation is present in cities like LA, Chicago, New York and Detroit.

Right now, we are in Houston and Austin. At SXSW, we support Music Export Denmark among other projects. Music Export Denmark will ensure an export return to Danish music just as they are involved in the coordination of the total Danish presence at SXSW.

If I should highlight one single thing then it would be the Danish band Lowly who is part of a program in the Danish Arts Foundation called ‘The Young Elite’. They have a showcase at SXSW that I am looking very much forward to.

DNY: What do you think the initiative can bring to the table for US cultural institutions?

There is currently a momentum for Danish architecture and design in the USA and the Danish Art Foundation will therefore strategically focus on these two art forms in the years to come. I think Denmark has a lot to offer on values like sustainability and climate solutions in both the design and architecture area.

DNY: What is the broader goal for the initiative?
The project is, as a start, a meaningful cultural dialogue and cooperation between countries — in terms of both inspiration and values — but the project is also about exports. We need to seed and make things bloom. The collaborations and projects must be in it for the long run and set local roots.

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DNY: What kind of reaction or response do you hope the Jewelry Box exhibition will get out of Houston?

Michael Bojesen: A unique aspect of our jewelry collection is that it is actually made to be worn. Many of the pieces in the Danish Arts Foundation’s collection is included in the loan scheme, where individuals taking part in a public event can loan a piece of jewelry for special occasions. The loan is free of charge and the arrangement is very much based on trust. In this way, the jewelry can be used and exposed and, just like other works of art purchased by the Danish Arts Foundation, it can thus reach a public audience. I hope that this will inspire people as well as cultural institutions in the US.

The Danish Arts Foundation is based on a firm belief in the value of the arts in society on many levels. Art is for everybody and the jewelry collection is a part of that belief.

Ema Seferovic is the Press and Communications Intern at DenmarkInNY.

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The Official Medium Blog for the Consulate General of Denmark in New York. For all things Danish, #DenmarkInNY.

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