The U.S. Embassy is grateful to Michael Contino for lending us his talent and hard work through a series of "Sketch Workshops" that took place at the American Art Space, located in the Al Riwaq Art Gallery, this winter and spring. His efforts have increased America's profile in the Bahraini arts communities and made us contacts that we would not have otherwise have made.

It was our pleasure to watch Michael's class progressing from mark-making to the basics of portraiture. Each class built on the previous one, exploring a basic technique using exercises to deepen the students' understanding of these principles. Michael took his class on walks around the neighborhood - these street exercises made the classes stimulating and fun. It is a testament to Michael's talent that his classes grew with week, ending as a standing room only event.

With the unfortunate closing of the art gallery, we are now in the process of looking for a new home for our American Space. It is our hope that when we find that new home, we can ask Michael to return and hold another art series, building on the work and leadership he has already shown.


Tom Tanner Public Affairs Officer U.S. Embassy Manama, Bahrain