USArtists International
2015-2016 First Round
Grants Announced

Over $148,000 Awarded to 19 U.S. Artists and Ensembles



Baltimore, MD – November 24, 2015 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced grants totaling $148,210, to four theater, six dance, and nine music ensembles from across the United States to support their engagements at 21 festivals in 18 countries around the globe through the first 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 million to 450+ 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. Rachael Glashan of Philadelphia’s Koresh Dance Company said that “The International Festival of Modern Choreography (IFMC) affected the creative and professional development of the company in many ways. Creatively, it provided Artistic Director, Roni Koresh the ability to watch a variety of different works. Due to a heavy touring schedule, simply watching other work isn’t always a luxury– but it can inspire new themes, dictations and visions for new work. Professionally, the company was able to showcase its work to international presenters. After seeing Koresh perform at IFMC, the company was contacted by the Executive Director of the Dance Open Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, who is interested in booking the company in 2016.” Additionally, the company reported that “The International Festival of Modern Choreography (IFMC) honorarium only covered a fraction of the cost for the company to perform at the festival. Koresh’s work tends to be received best when the full ensemble (ten company members) are present. The funds provided by the USAI, not only helped, but sponsored the full Koresh Dance Company to be able to make the trip to Belarus.”
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 Pittsburgh Symphony of Pennsylvania to Third Coast Percussion of Illinois, and the Maureen Fleming Company of New York to the hip-hop of The Reminders from Colorado. They include ensembles and soloists from California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A complete list of grantees can be found here.
MAAF convened a panel on October 8-9, 2015 to review applications in dance, music and theater. The panel consisted of four experienced artists and arts professionals as well as one lay-panelist.
The FY16 Round One panel included: 

  • Wallace Chappell, former Executive Director (lay panelist)
    Paul Taylor Dance Company; American Ballet Theater (Iowa City, IA)
  • Erin Boberg Doughton, Performing Arts Program Director
    Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Portland, OR)
  • Birdie Soti, Executive Director
    Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (Chicago, IL)
  • Ruth Waalkes, Executive Director
    Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech University (Blacksburg, VA)
  • Shay Wafer, Executive Director
    651 Arts (New York, 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
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.