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Art for the Greater Good

“Gallery” is too limited a word to describe the artistic, social, and political hub known as Townhouse in downtown Cairo. The converted paper factory sits at the heart of Egypt’s cultural life and hosts not only exhibitions, auctions, dance performances, and film screenings, but fashion shows, lectures on artists’ rights and research, and even large-scale ecological issues such as the future of water as well.

Now in its fifteenth year of operation, being home to such diverse events has made Townhouse a center of Cairo nightlife among local and international artists and literati. But this institution is also committed to bringing the arts to all layers of Egyptian society, to further integration and understanding among them. Its outreach program works with special needs citizens and those from marginalized communities, including one, though currently on hold for lack of funding, that taught child laborers the basics of animation, visual arts, and theater.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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