Photo of Graham Reynold's Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance. Woman stands stage right with a microphone. Man stage left in a cowboy hat with microphone. There are musicians seated in the background behind them. The stage and background are lit in a bright reddish pink.

Baltimore, MD – March 6, 2018 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced grants totaling $298,090 to seven dance, 17 music, and six theater companies and solo performers from across the United States. Engagements will take place at 34 festivals in 24 countries around the globe through the second of three grant rounds of the 2018 USArtists International (USAI) program.

USAI is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for support of artists from the Chicago area, and the Howard Gilman Foundation for support of New York City-based organizations.

USAI is the only national initiative in the United States solely devoted to supporting performances by American artists at important international cultural festivals and arts marketplaces abroad. USAI provides grants to ensembles and individual performers in dance, music, and theatre, resulting in the promotion of international cultural exchange and the creative and professional development of U.S. artists. In total, the program has awarded over $5.79 million through 804 grants to 477 ensembles and solo performers since its inception in 2006.

Supported engagements often lead to new opportunities. New York composer Qasim Naqvi received a 2018 USAI round one grant to perform at the The Rest is Noise Festival at Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In his final report, he stated that “My original goal was to perform my solo electronic work Chronology to a new audience. I believe that this was a very successful concert with a sold out audience at one of the premier concert venues in the country. Additionally, I was able to secure opportunities for other concerts in Holland with the programmers at the Rest is Noise and Cross-Linx Festival and also finalize plans for a recording project with the Stargaze Ensemble. All of these meetings allowed me to cultivate existing relationships and form new ones with collaborative partners in this coming year. These collaborations have been the vehicle for my work and are incredibly meaningful for the development of future projects.”

According to the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account, a project of the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. arts and cultural exports have expanded in recent years, yielding a $24 billion trade surplus in 2013. Of that $24 billion, performing arts and works by independent artists generated $1.7 billion. Activities such as those supported by USAI have not only creative and cultural exchange benefits, but an economic impact as well.

The latest round of USAI grantees are a mix of emerging and established companies that showcase a diversity of styles within their artistic disciplines:

  • 600 HIGHWAYMEN, NY: London International Festival of Theatre, United Kingdom
  • The Anna Deavere Smith Pipeline Project, NY: London International Festival of Theatre, United Kingdom & Sibiu International Theatre Festival, Romania
  • ArtSpot Productions, LA: Nisville International Jazz Festival, Serbia
  • CONTRA-TIEMPO, CA: Spotlight: USA Festival, Bulgaria
  • Dance Heginbotham, NY: Spotlight: USA Festival, Bulgaria
  • Dorrance Dance, NY: Singapore International Festival of Arts, Singapore
  • Eric Revis Quartet, CA: TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Canada
  • Graham Reynolds’s “Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance”, TX: PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Canada
  • The Green Fields of America, NY: Celtic Connections, United Kingdom;Temple Bar TradFest, Ireland; & IMBOLC International Music Festival, United Kingdom
  • Hans Tammen, NY: Irtijal International Festival for Experimental Music, Lebanon
  • Harlem Jubilee Singers, NY: Buenos Aires Jazz international Festival, Argentina
  • ICE, NY: Time of Music Festival, Finland
  • Issam Rafea and Gao Hong Duo, MN: Beijing Music Festival, China
  • Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, PA: Zurich Moves!, Switzerland
  • Jumatatu Poe & Donte Beacham, PA: Aquilombo, Brazil
  • Ken Vandermark’s Made to Break, IL: Festival Aural, Mexico & Mar del Plata Jazz Festival, Argentina
  • Kronos Quartet, CA: Platonov Arts Festival, Russia
  • Manual Cinema, IL: International Theatre World Festival, Czechia
  • Merdionalis, NY: Buenos Aires New Opera Festival, Argentina
  • Mivos Quartet, NY: Beijing Modern Music Festival, China
  • ODC/Dance, CA: International Modern Dance Festival (MODAFE), South Korea
  • Paul Taylor Dance Company, NY: New Dance Festival at The Grand National Theatre of Peru, Peru
  • Rivers of Sound Orchestra, NY: November Music, Netherlands & Ars Musica, Belgium
  • S.E.M. Ensemble, NY: New Opera Days Ostrava, Czechia
  • Slavic Soul Party!, NY: Harare International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe
  • So Percussion, NY: Popayan Festival of Religious Music, Colombia
  • Taylor Mac, NY: London International Festival of Theatre, United Kingdom
  • Yarn/Wire, NY: Music Current Festival, Ireland
  • The Young Mothers, TX: NattJazz Festival, Norway & Novara Jazz, Italy
  • Zohn Collective, NY: Cultural May Festival, Mexico & Second Biennial Theater Festival, Mexico

MAAF convened two panels (music and dance/theater) via teleconference on January 29 & 30, 2018 to review applications in dance, music, and theater. The panels consisted of experienced artists and arts professionals as well as lay-panelists. For a complete list of panelists, please click here.

The third and final deadline for USAI 2017-2018 applicants is April 5, 2018 for projects taking place between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019. Deadlines for the 2018-2019 program will be announced this summer. Information about the USAI program, guidelines, current grantees, and the online application can be accessed here.

Photo: Graham Reynold’s Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance (TX) received funding to perform at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Canada through this round of USAI funding. Photo Credit: 2017 Fusebox Festival Trailer. Graham Reynolds.

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work and advance access to and participation in the arts. The Foundation was created in 1979 and is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. To learn more about MAAF, its programs and services, visit our website at

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.

About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. Additional information is available at

About the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. The Foundation is the largest private funder of arts and culture in Illinois, awarding more than $9 million in grants annually to more than 300 Chicago arts groups, mostly in general operating support, as part of its overall Chicago Commitment. Learn more at

About the Howard Gilman Foundation
Howard Gilman believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. The Howard Gilman Foundation honors his legacy by supporting the most robust, innovative, and promising performing arts organizations in New York City.