Hirshhorn Museum appoints Colombian pop star J Balvin as its first Cultural Ambassador in a bid to boost youth engagement

J Balvin is no stranger to collaboration. In terms of music, the reggaeton singer has created with Beyoncé and Skrillex. In the field of fashion, he was requested by Guess and Jordan. In business, he worked with prominent Latin American psychologists to launch a bilingual wellness app. Today, the Colombian pop star has become the first cultural ambassador of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

In a move designed to boost youth engagement, Balvin will work with the museum to reinvigorate its social media presence. It’s a push that aims to reach new and diverse audiences globally.

“Balvin will participate in our award-winning educational programs on and beyond our campus in Washington DC,” Melissa Chiu, director of Hirshhorn, said in a statement. “Our collaboration, the first of its kind, aims to energize global audiences by connecting them with the most exciting artists of our time.”

Specifically, the Latin Grammy Award winner will be tasked with working on original short videos in English and Spanish for Hirshhorn Eye, the museum’s smartphone guide, and participating in ArtLab, its maker-space for creatives aged 13. at 19 years old. More generally, Balvin will work to advance the Hirshhorn’s public art education programs.

“It is an honor to be associated with a museum that is centered in contemporary art, has a strong national and global reach and believes that art is for everyone,” balvin said in a statement. “I am proud to support the Hirshhorn’s mission to connect a global audience to the museum’s innovative arts education programs, especially for young adults.”

Hirshhorn Museum and Smithsonian Institution Sculpture Garden. Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images.

The relationship between the Hirshhorn and Balvin has been developing for some years. In 2021, he is one of many personalities to have contributed to the virtual version of Yoko Ono. wishing treewhich the artist donated to the museum in 2007. In May, he presented the Hirshhorn Artist Award 2022 to the famous American artist KAWS.

Located on the National Mall, the Hirshhorn is a Smithsonian institution dedicated to showcasing the work of leading contemporary artists. In October, the museum announced its first interior renovation in 50 years— what Chiu called a “revitalization of our museum campus” to address aging infrastructure and expand its exhibition space.

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James C. Tibbs