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Somali Artist Aar Maanta Concert and Residency Program Cancelled

10/06/2017 - 11:00 AM

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Somali Artist Aar Maanta Concert and Residency Program Cancelled
Aar Maanta Minnesota Residency Cancelled

Visa delays have caused series of community residency programs and concerts by a London-based Somali artist to be cancelled, including the events at St. Cloud State University.

Aar Maanta and his band The Urban Nomads were to be part of a program called "Midnimo" which entails university and community educational programs and concerts in Mankato, Minneapolis and St. Cloud. His nearly month-long residency was cancelled after organizers at the Cedar Cultural Center say the US Consulate held the artist's visa application because it was still "undergoing additional administrative processing." However, four members of Aar Maanta's band, who are not Somalian born or Muslim, were all granted their visas. The visa applications were all submitted in May.

The St. Cloud residency included the artist participating in several university classes, working with children at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Minnesota, and events with the St. Cloud Technical and Community College.

The Paramount Visual Arts Center is a lead partner in the grant funded program, and their Director of Education and Outreach, Jane Oxton says eleven college, school and community sites have been impacted by the cancellation, and it's a loss of an opportunity to learn and deepen cultural understanding from a world-class artist.

The Midnimo program is based on a two year grant from the Doris Duke Foundation with a goal of increasing understanding of Muslim culture through performing arts.

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