Thank you very much everybody for joining us tonight. It is a great honor that some of you travelled from far far away to join us this evening. My name is Hans Klemm, the American Ambassador to Romania and here is my wife Mari.
I have four goals this evening, in this brief formal part of the event. One is to introduce you to the “Art in Embassies” program sponsored by the Department of States. It is something that began several decades ago to provide a way for American ambassadors to draw on the rich cultural – not only tradition—but cultural assets that exist in both private and public collections in the United States to help introduce American art to our friends, partners and allies overseas.
Over time we were able to draw on both artists of great renown but also artists who were just starting to make a name. And also, about five years ago, the program opened itself up to allow ambassadors to also include in their residences works of art from local artists. Ten years ago I had the honor to be the American Ambassador in Timor Leste, a small country in South-East Asia. At that time I was only able to draw from American artists in order to fill out the “Art in Embassies” Program at my residence in Dili.
Here in Bucharest, because of the adjustment of the program and with the help of Joana Grevers at Gallery 418, we also have in front of you works of art of a number of Romanian artists. And I am especially proud that three of them are with us this evening: Anca Bodea from Cluj; Stefan Radu Cretu and Stefan Petrica. Their works are around us and having their works of art with us every day is a delight for Mari and me for over a year now.
We are also very proud to have several pieces from Romul Nutiu and Dr. Grevers might make mention of an exhibit that will include his works of art and will open later this summer in New York and also Vincentiu Grigorescu.
That is a very brief introduction in the Art in Embassies Program. There are catalogues on the way out and if you have continuing interest please pick one up.
It is also a special pleasure this evening to have with us Karen Cruickshank, one of the American artists who are exhibited here. In fact, this diptych is one of two works that we are very, very privileged and delighted to have part of our home here, in Bucharest.
And then finally, one engine for this evening is to try to execute a commitment that my President recently made. On June 9th you know that the President of Romania stood next to the President of the United States in the Rose Garden of the White House and at that moment, in his remarks President Trump said that we have a very rich and vibrant strategic partnership but there is still room for further work, particularly in the areas of the economy and in culture. He emphasized this – culture.
I have had an opportunity to meet with Romanian artists and there are many in this room, to meet with the leadership of Romanian cultural institutes and there are many of you in this room. I forgot at the beginning to welcome the Minister of Culture. Thank you, Minister. Perhaps with this as a starting point this evening, I would wish to further dedicate my Embassy and me to exploring ways to strengthen the bonds between American and Romanian artists – I think we were able to do that quite well this evening – but also to explore ways to improve the ability for American institutions of culture and artists to engage and collaborate with Romanian institutions of art as well as artists. And I would like to invite you to offer your suggestions on how we could best do so, to find ways to increase exchanges between our two countries in the area of culture and also ask for your help in ensuring that that occurs.
With that beginning I would like to thank you for your willingness to join us tonight and I will ask Karen to say a few words.