International cultural mobility plays a major role in building international coöperations and exploring new markets.
The U.S. has long been an important audience and market for Belgian performing artists, but unfortunately, economic challenges and—increasingly—visa issues are making many artists think twice about performing and touring in the U.S.
While there are indeed some significant new challenges, it is important for artists, agents and managers to be aware the exact nature of those challenges, and understand the legal strategies being used to keep the U.S. open to international artists.
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Executive director Tamizdat
Tamizdat is a nonprofit organization that facilitates and advocates for international artist mobility and cultural exchange. Driven by the conviction that the international mobility and exchange of culture is fundamental to a healthy and progressive civil society, Tamizdat seeks through its program activities to assist the international performing arts community to address problems presented by international borders, and U.S. visa policies and procedures.
Matthew Covey has devoted his professional career to helping artists build bridges between international communities, and is a leading legal authority on U.S. arts immigration.
Following his studies in literature and music (BA Oberlin College) and post-colonial theory (MA UCD Ireland), Covey moved to Slovakia where he co-founded the critically acclaimed US/Slovak indie-rock band Skulpey. After relocations to Dublin and then New York, Covey worked as a festival talent-buyer before running Knitting Factory Records’ Amsterdam booking agency.
In 2000, he co-launched Tamizdat’s Prague operations, managing Tamizdat RPM for three years before returning to New York to become the manager of Grammy Award winning band, the Klezmatics. Through the early 2000s, as U.S. visa policy became an increasing impediment to international culture in the U.S. which inspired Covey to attended law school (JD NY Law School) so as to further Tamizdat’s work facilitating international cultural mobility.
He launched Tamizdat’s affiliated law firm, CoveyLaw, in 2015, and it has quickly become the U.S.’s leading authority and advocate for arts immigration. Covey is is admitted to the New York Bar, and is also president of Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History of the United States.
Covey has presented and chaired sessions on artist mobility issues at numerous conferences, including Alliance of Artist Communities (St. Paul), Amsterdam Dance Event (Amsterdam), APAP (New York), Arts Midwest (Minneapolis), CMJ (New York), Edinburgh Fringe (Edinburgh), Eurosonic (Groningen), FimPro (Guadalajara), Focus Wales (Wrexham), Folk Alliance (Kansas City), Grantmakers in the Arts (Denver), Great Escape (Brighton), HWCH (Dublin), IndieWeek (New York), Ireland Music Week (Dublin), M4Music (Zürich), MICC (Montreal), MaMA (Paris), Mundial Montreal (Montreal), New Colossus (New York), NXNE (Toronto), Output Belfast (Belfast), Palestine Music Expo (Ramallah), Reeperbahn (Hamburg), Spring Break (Poznan), SXSW (Austin), Western Arts Alliance (Los Angeles), WOMEX (Copenhagen, Thessaloniki, Santiago De Compostela, Cardiff, Budapest, Las Palmas, Tampere), Winter Jazz (New York), and YouBloom (Dublin).