Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet is a cultural engagement program launched by Arts Midwest on behalf of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. This groundbreaking initiative intends to open and expand the dialogue between American communities and contemporary Muslim societies using the arts as a point of entry.
Caravanserai envisions new pathways for Americans to experience the diverse artistic expressions and cultures of Muslim societies through a series of community-based performing and media-arts programs that feature art and artists from Muslim cultures. The goals of Caravanserai are to:
Since 2011, Caravanserai has hosted a series of deeply contextualized residency tours in communities across the United States. During each season, presenting organizations host week-long music residencies featuring different ensembles, which include educational workshops, community outreach events, and public performances. Several seasons also featured unique residencies with Muslim filmmakers.
The 2015–2016 season invites Muslim American musicians to share their cross-cultural stories in unique, contemporary expressions—hip-hop, rap, soul, dance, pop, rock, and jazz fused with the musical influences of their cultural traditions. The program visits Grand Forks, ND; Fergus Falls, MN; and Traverse City, MI.
The 2014–2015 season featured two unique music ensembles—a dynamic group representing the diversity of modern Malaysia and a renowned troupe performing an ancient tradition—along with an innovative collaboration between 15 Malaysian contemporary filmmakers. The program visited Crockett, TX; Houston, TX; Atlanta, GA; Gainesville, FL; and Chicago, IL.
The 2013-2014 season explored Turkey through residencies by two leading musicians and a celebrated filmmaker. The program visited Lawrence, KS; Post Falls, ID; Anchorage, AK; Honolulu, HI; and Port Townsend, WA.
The 2012-2013 Caravanserai season brought music, film, and photography from Morocco to communities across the United States. The program visited Jamestown, ND; Grand Rapids, MN; Fayetteville, AR; Nashville, TN; and Honolulu, HI.
The 2011-2012 season featured the diverse cultures of contemporary Pakistan. Organizations hosted two musical residencies featuring traditional and contemporary Pakistani artists and one film residency featuring a young and innovative Pakistani filmmaker. The program visited Helena, MT; West Long Branch, NJ; Oswego, NY; Littleton, NH; Providence, RI; and New York, NY.