Crossing Borders Through Cultural Exchange Report Released

New National Endowment for the Arts
Report Shows Impact of USArtists International
and Cultural Exchange

Color photo shot from behind two performers on stage with mics singing to an audience in a venue. In the foreground, a full drum kit can be seen.

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Image: USAI supported D’DAT’s Nelisiwe Mtsweni & Alexandria Holiday at WOMAD in 2022. Credit: Delbert Anderson

We are happy to share a recently released report from the National Endowment for the Arts on our USArtists International program, a critical program supporting U.S. artists’ transformative performance opportunities abroad. The report summarizes the USAI Annual Survey Report published in 2022 and features stories of six artists who have benefitted from Mid Atlantic Arts’ USArtists International support. 

USArtists International (USAI) remains a singular national initiative for performing artists seeking support to grow their careers outside of the United States and develop new relationships with audiences and communities through cultural exchange. Crossing Borders through Cultural Exchange takes a look at why USAI is so important and how it helps artists reach new audiences and build their creative practice. The case studies highlight six performing arts groups who have participated in USAI over the past couple of years and provide a glimpse into how they used USAI funding, the benefits they experienced as a result of this support, and the impact of that support on their work and growth.

“We…built our band playing music in Spanish to predominantly English-speaking audiences. Our songs about missing home get a new energy when we are around the cultural elements that we miss so much. I feel like I am a sponge during every international trip and get reinvigorated in my journey as a student of music.”  -Enrique Chi of the band Making Movies

The Annual Survey Report snapshot shows the importance of the program to US performing artists nationwide:

  • Just under half of respondents secured one or more new bookings abroad as a result of the USAI-supported experience.
  • Nearly all respondents said they made new international professional contacts during their USAI-supported experience.
  • 89 percent of respondents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they learned new artistic performance strategies for engaging international audiences.
  • 96 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their USAI supported experience strengthened their visibility as artists.
  • 92 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the USAI sponsored experience benefited them creatively.
  • Two-thirds of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they incorporated more diverse ideas (e.g., innovative, novel, or creative ideas) into their artwork as a result of their USAI-supported experience.

Performing artists from across the US and its territories are eligible for support through USAI. The next application deadline is Wednesday, March 27, 2024.