Vân-Ánh Võ plays the the dan tranh zither.
Baltimore, MD – November 26, 2018 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced grants totaling $172,050 to three dance, 10 music, and six theater companies and solo performers from across the United States. Engagements will take place at 20 festivals in 17 countries around the globe through the first of three grant rounds of the 2019 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, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, 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 theater, 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 $5.75 million through 781 grants to 510 ensembles and solo performers since its inception in 2006.
Supported engagements often lead to new opportunities – and in some cases reintroduce artists to the international presenting network. Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of New York received a 2018 USAI grant to perform at the Chopin and His Europe International Music Festival in Poland. In their final report, they stated that “Though well-known throughout its history as an internationally touring ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra had not performed abroad in several years due to institutional challenges. Re-establishing a global presence is critical both to the orchestra’s mission and its recently completed strategic plan. The appearance with pianist Jan Lisiecki at the Chopin and His Europe International Music Festival in Warsaw marked a major step toward this goal with a successful re-entry into the European concert scene, the most significant market for classical music. Representatives from Warsaw’s Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival attended the concert and were impressed by Orpheus’ performance. Festival directors are now considering inviting Orpheus to the March 2020 Beethoven Festival, and conversations are underway regarding dates and programming. Deutsche Grammophon recorded the performance, reigniting Orpheus’ illustrious recording relationship with the label after a nearly twenty-year hiatus. The resultant album will be widely released in 2019, promotionally kicking off upcoming tours with Jan Lisiecki that same year.”
USAI grantees include a mix of emerging and established artists that showcase a diversity of styles within their artistic disciplines. First round 2019 grantees include:
  • The Actors’ Gang, CA: Santiago a Mil International Theater Festival, Chile
  • Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, NY: Jazz Plaza International Festival, Cuba
  • Aizzah Fatima, NY: OnStage! Festival, Italy
  • The Alonso Brothers, NY: Haiti International Piano Festival, Haiti
  • Analog Arts, NY: Montreal New Music Festival, Canada
  • Anthony Hudson / Carla Rossi, OR: Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival, Australia
  • Arias Company, NY: Colours International Dance Festival, Germany and Fuori Programma Festival, Italy
  • The Azar Lawrence Experience, CA: Inntoene Jazzfestival, Austria
  • Boston Symphony Chamber Players, MA: Prague Spring International Music Festival, Czechia
  • Edgar Arceneaux, CA: Lagos Theatre Festival, Nigeria
  • Erin Markey, NY: In Between Time Festival, United Kingdom
  • Kontras Quartet and the Kruger Brothers, IL: OppiKoppi, South Africa
  • SPEAK, CA: International Live, India
  • The Knights, NY: Heidelberg Frühling International Music Festival, Germany
  • NW Dance Project, OR: Ballet Festival Weeks of the Thüringen State Ballet, Germany
  • Sinking Ship Productions, NY: Varscenefest, Norway
  • THIEFS, NY: Nova Jazz, Switzerland
  • Vân-Ánh Võ & Blood Moon Orchestra, CA: BridgeFest, Vietnam
  • White Snake Projects, MA: Hong Kong Arts Festival, China
MAAF convened a panel via teleconference on October 22, 2018 to review applications in dance, music, and theater. The panel consisted of experienced artists and arts professionals as well as lay-panelists. For a complete list of panelists, please click here.
The next deadline for USAI applicants is November 30, 2018 for projects taking place between March 15, 2019 and March 14, 2020. The third and final round of the 2019 USAI cycle is April 3, 2019 for projects taking place between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. Information about the USAI program, guidelines, current grantees, and the online application can be accessed here.
In July 2018, MAAF completed a comprehensive evaluation of the USAI program from its inception in 2006 through 2017. Results of that report can be found here.
Photo: Vân-Ánh Võ & the Blood Moon Orchestra will perform at Bridgefest in Vietnam in January through USAI 2019. Photo Credit: Anil Prasad.
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 www.midatlanticarts.org.
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. www.arts.gov
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 www.mellon.org.
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. howardgilmanfoundation.org
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 www.macfound.org/Chicago.
About the Trust for Mutual Understanding
The Trust for Mutual Understanding awards grants to American nonprofit organizations to support direct exchange in the arts and the environment between professionals from the United States and TMU’s geographic region: the Baltic States; Central Asia; Central, East, Southeast Europe; Mongolia; and Russia. www.tmuny.org