15-16 USAI LogoUSArtists International 2016-2017 First Round Grants Announced

Over $188,000 Awarded to 17 U.S. Artists and Ensembles



Baltimore, MD – November 28, 2016 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced grants totaling $188,790 to three theater, six dance, and eight music ensembles from across the United States to support their engagements at 18 festivals in 14 countries around the globe through the first of three grant rounds of the 2017 USArtists International (USAI) program.

USAI is a program of Mid Atlantic Foundation. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have partnered to support USAI for over ten years. This year, MAAF welcomes new support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for support of artists from the Chicago area, and the Howard Gilman Foundation for support of New York City-based organizations. Additionally, the NEA is providing increased support for the first time to artists invited to perform at festivals in Cuba.

USAI is the only national initiative in the United States solely devoted to supporting performances by American artists at important international cultural festivals and arts marketplaces. USAI provides grants to ensembles and individual performers in dance, music, and theatre, resulting in the promotion of international cultural exchange and the creative and professional development of U.S.-based artists. In total, the program has awarded over $4.26 million to 435+ ensembles and solo performers since its inception in 2006.

Supported engagements often lead to new career and creative opportunities. Jaamil Olawale Kosoko of anonymous bodies received USAI funding to attend the pOnderosa Danceland and Dance in August festivals in Germany in August 2016 and had this to say about the experience: “My time in Berlin was absolutely amazing. The venues with which I worked were extremely professional and generous (from production to administration). I know the work grew as a result of being abroad and situated in front of a German audience. It was incredibly humbling to receive such great feedback and genuine heartfelt reactions from the audiences. I felt welcomed by the organization and was featured on the cover of the Festival Magazine. As a result of these engagements, my work is scheduled to tour to Moving in November Festival in Helsinki, Finland (Nov. 2016). We are also discussing dates in Brussels, Oslo, Amsterdam, Zurich, and the UK (March 2017).”

According to the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account, a project of the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. arts and cultural exports have expanded in recent years, yielding a $24 billion trade surplus in 2013. Of that $24 billion, performing arts and works by independent artists generated $1.7 billion.Activities such as those supported by USAI have not only creative and cultural exchange benefits, but an economic impact as well.

The latest round of USAI grantees are a mix of emerging and established companies that showcase a diversity of styles within their artistic disciplines:

  • BANDALOOP, Oakland, CA performing at Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival, Hungary
  • Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Chicago, IL performing at March Music Days, Bulgaria
  • Christian McBride Trio, Montclair, NJ performing at The International Festival Jazz Plaza, Cuba
  • Darrell Jones, Chicago, IL performing at Kyoto Experiment, Japan
  • Dorrance Dance, New York, NY performing at Hong Kong Arts Festival, China
  • Margarita Blush, Storrs Mansfield, CT performing at Izmir International Puppet Days, Turkey
  • The New York Baroque Dance Company, New York, NY performing at Esteban Salas Early Music Festival, Cuba
  • PHILADANCO!, Philadelphia, PA performing at Let’s Dance International Frontiers, United Kingdom
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh, PA performing at Lucerne Festival in Summer, Switzerland
  • Ragamala Dance Company, Minneapolis, MN performing at the Just Festival, United Kingdom
  • The Rose Ensemble, St. Paul, MN performing at the Festival des Choeurs Lauréats, France and the World Symposium of Choral Music, Spain
  • Ryan Keberle & Catharsis, Brooklyn, NY performing at the Ottawa Jazz Festival and the Toronto Jazz Festival, Canada
  • Terence Blanchard, New Orleans, LA performing at The International Festival Jazz Plaza, Cuba
  • Thaddeus Phillips, Philadelphia, PA performing at the Hong Kong Arts Festival, China
  • Theatre Movement Bazaar, Los Angeles, CA performing at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival Moscow, Russia
  • VAV Ensemble, Fremont, CA performing at WOMADelaide, Australia and WOMAD New Zealand, New Zealand
  • Yarn/Wire, Ridgewood, NY performing at the Glasgow Tectonic Festival, United Kingdom

MAAF convened a panel via teleconference on October 26, 2016 to review applications in dance, music and theater. The panel consisted of experienced artists and arts professionals as well as lay-panelists. For a complete list of panelists, please click here.

The next grant application deadline for USAI 2017 is December 1, 2016 for projects taking place between March 15, 2017 and March 14, 2018. Information about the USAI program, guidelines, current grants, and the online application can be accessed here.

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: www.midatlanticarts.org

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. www.arts.gov 

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. www.mellon.org

About the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. The Foundation is the largest private funder of arts and culture in Illinois, awarding more than $11 million in grants annually to more than 300 Chicago arts groups, mostly in general operating support, part of its overall Chicago Commitment.  Learn more at www.macfound.org/Chicago.

About the Howard Gilman Foundation
Howard Gilman believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. The Howard Gilman Foundation honors his legacy by supporting the most robust, innovative, and promising performing arts organizations in New York City. howardgilmanfoundation.org