Third and Final Round of 2015 Grants Announced Over $192,000 Awarded to support U.S. Performing Artists at Important International Engagements


Baltimore – July 14, 2015 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced grants totaling $192,680, to five theater, six dance, and fourteen music ensembles from across the United States to support their engagements at 39 festivals in 25 countries around the globe through the third and final 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. USAI supports performances by American artists at important cultural festivals and arts marketplaces around the globe. Committed to the presence of US based artists on world stages, USAI provides grants to ensembles and individual performers in dance, music and theatre through formal invitation from significant international festivals. USAI encourages and promotes the vibrant diversity of American artists and creative expression in the performing arts by expanding opportunity and exposure to international audiences, encouraging international cultural exchange and providing connections with presenters, curators, agents and artists around the world. In total, the program has awarded over $3,889,000 to 430 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. Sandy Walsh-Wilson, of the Alexander Strinq Quartet, had this to say about their experience with the Ludwig van Beethoven Ester Festival in Poland: “In addition to Warsaw, we performed in Gdansk, Krakow and Rzeszow during this visit, including a combination of masterclasses, open-rehearsals and a presentation at the International School of Krakow. These activities yielded spontaneous return invitations in every case. Significantly, we were followed throughout all the activities by a 3-man documentary film crew, dispatched from San Francisco State University’s DocFilm Institute. They captured the intensity and diversity of all the activities that we undertook. The Beethoven Festival administration has asked to show the film at next year’s 20th Annual Easter Beethoven Festival. The Warsaw performances will be broadcast by Polish Radio and we will have access to these for our own use, since they were also live-synced with the two camera video-capture at the Royal Castle. The Quartet has been invited to return to the Festival in 2017 and will propose collaborative literature and include American works for the occasion.”

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 San Francisco Symphony Orchestra to Terrance Symien & the Zydeco Experience of Louisiana, and Dorrance Dance of New York to the puppetry of Torry Bend from Minnesota. They include ensembles and soloists from California, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania. For more information and a complete list of grantees, click here.

Due to the high volume of applications, MAAF convened two separate panels, with music applications reviewed on May 27-28, 2015 and dance and theater applications on May 28-29, 2015. Each panel consisted of four experienced artists and arts professionals as well as one lay panelist.

The FY15 Round Three music panel included:

  • Gene Dobbs Bradford, Executive Director, Jazz St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
  • Barry Epperley (lay panelist), former Artistic Director of Signature Symphony and Director of the Performing Arts Institute at Tulsa Community College (Tulsa, OK)
  • Dylan Locke, Artistic Director, Jefferson Center (Roanoke, VA)
  • Julia Olin, Executive Director, National Council for the Traditional Arts (Silver Spring, MD)
  • Du Yun, Artistic Director, Music At The Anthology (New York, NY)

Panelists for the FY15 Round Three dance and theater panel included:

  • Tina Betz, Executive Director, Light Up The Queen Foundation (Wilmington, DE)
  • Walter Jaffe, co-founder, White Bird (Multnomah, OR)
  • Jordan Peimer, Executive Director, ArtPower! at the University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA)
  • Claire Rice, Deputy Director, Harvard University’s Sustain Arts (Cambridge, MA)
  • Ramón Rivera-Servera, Chair and Associate Professor (lay panelist), Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

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.