The Bi-national Arts Institute (BNAI) was established in 2012. BNAI came into existence to deal with the complex and difficult issue of collaboration within our border region. At times, it is hard to see the border as a rich source of culture rather than a divider.
As a catalyst, BNAI channels the creative expression of music, poetry, film, and other media by celebrating our shared human experience across the border. BNAI, as an intermediary, facilitates collaborations between international tertiary institutions, reducing the challenges of security, insurance and vulnerability associated with transnational partnerships.
The institute works with a variety of players, including universities, colleges, city administrations, and the Mexican consulate. BNAI understands the importance of these collaborations and works towards the goal of celebrating our rich, regional culture, which cannot be divided by a man-made wall.
Our signature event is the Concert Without Borders, a collaboration between the cities of Douglas, Agua Prieta, the Mexican Consulate, and Cochise College. This collaboration has grown into a truly bi-national event, with musicians performing at the same time on both sides of the international border wall. The event has attracted national press and visitors from as far as Hermosillo and Phoenix. It inspired a similar concert on the border of Tijuana in 2017, as well as a concert performed in Agua Prieta, Sonora, by the Mexican Federal Police Band and a mariachi group from Mexico City.
Besides the Concert without Borders, BNAI's other projects include a bi-national youth music camp; an English/Spanish Language Institute; a Sonoran music manuscript research project with scholars from Hermosillo, Sonora and Arizona; and a film project for youth which incorporates interviews with asylum seekers.