U.S. Department of State – Media Note
October 19, 2023
As the United States approaches its 250th year, the State Department’s Art in Embassies program is working with cultural institutions, artists, families, and galleries to curate art collections that promote U.S. diplomacy.
The first collection, The Clarice Smith Collection, comprises 72 artworks by Washington, D.C.-based artist Clarice Smith. These pieces encompass portraits, landscapes, and still-lifes rendered in oil, pastel, and watercolor. They will immediately become available for exhibit in U.S. embassies and Ambassadors’ residences under long-term loan agreements.
Clarice Smith, a passionate advocate for U.S. diplomacy, supported cultural diplomacy through Art in Embassies’ partner, the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE). Additionally, she collaborated with her son, David Bruce Smith, on a series of engaging biographies introducing young students to leading figures who played pivotal roles in shaping our democracy.
Art in Embassies Director Megan Beyer and Chief Curator Camille Benton announced the Collection during Art in Embassies’ 60th anniversary dinner with ambassadors and cultural leaders at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
The Clarice Smith Collection is made possible by David Bruce Smith’s Grateful American Foundation.
The Office of Art in Embassies, established in 1963, plays a crucial role in U.S. public diplomacy, connecting nations through curated exhibitions. It showcases the innovation and cultural prowess of the United States and fosters cross-cultural connections.
For more information about Art in Embassies, visit art.state.gov. Press inquiries can be sent to Megan Beyer at BeyerMC@state.gov.
A repository containing 72 of Clarice Smith’s paintings has been chosen for the Clarice Smith Collection, the inaugural “Democracy Collection” for the US Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies (AIE). These paintings will be on long-term loan with the State Department to be made available to US Ambassadors for display in their embassies and residences throughout the world. This important office is celebrating its 60th year in existence and was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The purpose of Art in Embassies is to create vital world-wide cross-cultural dialogue and to foster mutual understanding through the visual arts. Clarice Smith was an avid supporter of the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) which reinforces the AIE mission.
The Clarice Smith Collection and the long-term loan were announced by Megan Beyer, the director of the office, and Camille Benton, the chief curator, on September 19, 2023, at the Art in Embassies dinner celebration at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.