First Round of 2015 Grants Announced

Over $85,000 Awarded to support U.S. Performing Artists at Important International Engagements


Baltimore December 5, 2014Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced grants totaling $85,150, to three theater, two dance, and six music ensembles from across the United States to support their engagements at 12 festivals in 11 countries across the globe through the first of three grant rounds of the 2015 USArtists International (USAI) program.

USAI is the only national initiative in the United States solely devoted to promoting the excellence and diversity of American performing arts abroad. The program works to strengthen the creative and professional development of American artists through participation at important international festivals and performing arts markets. Engagements supported through the program provide American performing artists the opportunity to exchange ideas and practices with their counterparts around the world, and sustain their careers through exposure to new audiences and access to the international marketplace. In total, the program has awarded over $3,633,000 to 398 ensembles and solo performers since its inception in 2006. The program is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Supported engagements often lead to new career and creative opportunities. Mivos Quartet traveled to the Wien Modern Festival in November 2013. They had this to say about the experience: “Our performance at the Wien Modern 2013 Festival was an absolute highlight of our career to this point. The audience turnout for the concert was so strong that people were turned away after the venue had reached capacity” and “To sum it up, our performance at the Wien Modern 2013 Festival has proved to be a vital one for our development in the European market, and is currently responsible for no fewer than 4 future engagements in Austria.”

The latest round of grantees are a mix of emerging and established companies that showcase a diversity of styles within their artistic disciplines from the Hawaiian traditional music masters Led Kaapana and Mike Kaawa to the jazz fusion of New Jersey’s Jason Kao Hwang’s Burning Bridge octet, and from the Elevator Repair Service ensemble theater of New York to the contemporary work of the Northwest Dance Project of Portland, Oregon. They include ensembles from California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon. For a more information and a complete list of grantees, click here.

MAAF convened a panel of the following experienced artists, arts professionals and one layperson at its Baltimore office on October 20, 2014:

  • Paul Brohan, former Director of Artistic Initiatives
    Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, MD)
  • Bruce Labadie, Artistic & Festival Director
    San Jose Jazz (San Jose, CA)
  • Raelle Myrick-Hodges, Curator of Performing Arts
    Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans, LA)
  • Roell Schmidt, Director
    Links Hall (Chicago, IL)
  • Kay Turner, former Folk Arts Director
    Brooklyn Arts Council (NY, NY)

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work, advance access to and participation in the arts, and promote a more sustainable arts ecology. For more information on the Foundation’s programs and services, please visit:

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
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. To this end, it supports exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. The Foundation makes grants in five core program areas: Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities; Arts and Cultural Heritage; Diversity; Scholarly Communications; and International Higher Education and Strategic Projects. The Arts and Cultural Heritage program seeks to nurture exceptional creative accomplishment, scholarship, and conservation practices in the arts, while promoting a diverse and sustainable ecosystem for these disciplines. The program supports the work of outstanding artists, curators, conservators, and scholars, and endeavors to strengthen performing arts organizations, art museums, research institutes, and conservation centers.