USArtists International 2015-2016 Final Round Grants Announced

Over $258,000 Awarded to 28 U.S. Artists and Ensembles


Baltimore, MD – July 19, 2016 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced grants totaling $258,270 to eight theater, eight dance, and 12 music ensembles from across the United States to support their engagements at 33 festivals in 25 countries around the globe through the third and final of three grant rounds of the 2016 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 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 invited to perform at significant international festivals. The program 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 enhancing creative and professional development of US based artists by providing connections with presenters, curators and artists around the world. USAI extends the reach and impact of professional artists dependent on touring for continued sustainability and career advancement. In total, the program has awarded over $4.18 million to 420+ 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. The Houston Ballet received funding to perform at Hamburg Ballet Days in Germany in the summer of 2015 and remarked: “Through our performances of three beloved contemporary works, Houston Ballet established an international presence in Hamburg that brought audiences to their feet. Through our engagement, we were able to increase international awareness of Houston Ballet and further develop our professional and artistic relationship with world-renowned choreographer and Artistic Director of Hamburg Ballet, John Neumeier. Houston Ballet’s relationship with Mr. Neumeier has grown exponentially over the year. Last season, we were honored to perform the American premiere of Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the first of his ballets to enter Houston Ballet’s repertoire. Our participation in Hamburg Ballet Days furthered this wonderful artistic relationship between our two companies, and their Artistic Directors as well.”

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 Braided Candle of Minnesota to Anthony Braxton of New York, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet of California to Manual Cinema of Illinois. They include ensembles and soloists from California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. More information on the USAI program and a complete list of grantees can be found here.

MAAF convened two panels via teleconference on June 3, 2016 to review applications in dance, music and theater. The panels consisted of experienced artists and arts professionals as well as  lay-panelists.

The music panel included:

  • Kaisha S. Johnson, Director of Artists Management
    Center for Traditional Music and Dance (New York, NY)
  • Lori Kramer, former Deputy Director (lay panelist)
    Portland’5 Center for the Arts (Portland, OR)
  • Yvonne Lam, Musician
    eighth blackbird (Chicago, IL)
  • Felipe Salles, Musician and Associate Professor of Jazz Studies
    University of Massachusetts Amherst (Florence, MA)
  • Thomas Welsh, Director of Performing Arts
    Cleveland Museum of Arts (Cleveland, OH)

The dance and theatre panel included:

  • Neil Barclay, Director and CEO
    Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans, LA)
  • Karen Farber, Executive Director
    Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts (Houston, TX)
  • Charles “Chuck” Helm, Director of Performing Arts
    Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State (Stillwater, MN)
  • Roko Kawai, former Manager of Performing Arts (lay panelist)
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (Oakland, CA)
  • Melissa M. Young, Associate Artistic Director
    Dallas Black Dance Theatre (Dallas, TX)

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. For more information on the Foundation’s programs and services, please visit:

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the agency is celebrating this milestone with events and activities through September 2016.

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.