Over $282,000 Awarded to 30 U.S. Artists and Ensembles



Baltimore, MD – June 21, 2017 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced grants totaling $282,690 to eight theater, seven dance, and 15 music ensembles from across the United States to support their engagements at 34 festivals in 19 countries around the globe through the third and final grant round of the 2017 USArtists International (USAI) program.

USAI is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts 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 $4.91 million through 697 grants to 455 ensembles and solo performers since its inception in 2006.

Supported engagements often lead to new opportunities as well as serving as a “stamp of approval” on creative work. Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion received a USAI grant to perform at the MITO SettembreMusica a Torino in Italy in 2016. In their final report, they stated that “USAI Funding was the final piece of the puzzle for funding this tour. That this funding came through meant that the engagement was financially viable as well as professionally beneficial for Third Coast Percussion. This sort of high profile European touring is, of course, also a great boon to Third Coast Percussion in its long-term PR and development efforts, and contributes immensely to the organization’s reputation, which helps the organization’s future bookings and fundraising in a way that is significant but difficult to quantify. One specific example of this: the tour included performances of a work that TCP commissioned last season; it is helpful to TCP’s relationship with those organizations who funded the original commission (including performing arts centers, presenters, and a foundation, not to mention the composer himself) to show that the work not only has a life beyond the premiere, but that it is being taken to a high-profile festival in Europe.”

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:

  • 600 HIGHWAYMEN, NY performing at the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival, Netherlands, and Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Switzerland
  • Anne LeBaron, CA performing at the Totally Huge New Music Festival, Australia
  • Ballet Hispanico, NY performing at Internationale Tanzwochen Neuss, Germany
  • Bang on a Can, NY performing at the Music of Changes Festival, Lithuania
  • Beth Morrison Projects, NY performing at the Guimares Jazz Festival, Portugal, and the EFG London Jazz Festival, United Kingdom
  • Blair Thomas & Company, IL performing at the World Festival of Puppet Theaters, France
  • BODYTRAFFIC, CA performing at the Holland Dance Festival, Netherlands
  • Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger, NY performing at Documenta 14 Athens, Greece
  • Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society, NY performing at the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, Poland
  • The Builders Association, NY performing at the Shanghai Interactive Festival of Theater, China
  • Charles Lloyd, CA performing at the National Forum of Music, Jazztopad, Poland
  • Christian McBride Big Band, NJ performing at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, United Kingdom
  • Circo Zero/Keith Hennessy, CA performing at Running with Concepts: Infrastructures and Aesthetics of Mutual Aid, Canada
  • Early Morning Opera, CA performing at the The International Theatre Festival of Sao Paulo – MITsp, Brazil
  • Eighth Blackbird, IL performing at MITO September Music, Italy
  • Ensemble Pamplemousse, NY performing at Borealis, Norway
  • Gibney Dance, NY performing at The East African Nights of Tolerance International Dance Festival (EANT), Rwanda
  • Imagination Stage, MD performing at the ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival, South Korea
  • Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, PA performing at the pOnderosa TanzLand Festival, Germany
  • JACK Quartet, NY performing at Gulbenkian Music: String Quartet Festival, Portugal
  • Jones Jones, CA performing at the Vilnius Mama Jazz Festival, Lithuania
  • Kronos Quartet, CA performing at the Singapore International Festival of the Arts, Singapore
  • Liberty Ellman, NY performing at the Along Came Jazz Festival, Italy, and the North Sea Jazz Festival, Netherlands
  • Manual Cinema, IL performing at the Avignon Off Festival, France
  • Maria Hassabi, NY performing at the Block Universe Performance Art Festival, United Kingdom
  • The Railsplitters, CO performing at the Woodford Folk Festival, Australia
  • Rosy Simas Danse, MN performing at DANSEM, France
  • Sara Juli, ME performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, United Kingdom
  • So Percussion, NY performing at GAIDA, Lithuania
  • THE WOOSTER GROUP, NY performing at the ACC Contemporary Performing Arts Festival, South Korea, and the Taipei Arts Festival, Taiwan

MAAF convened a panel via teleconference on May 22-23, 2017 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.

USAI 2018 grant guidelines will be available later this summer.  The first deadline will be in early September for engagements taking place between December 15, 2017 and December 14, 2018. Information about the USAI program, guidelines, current grantees, 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. The Foundation was created in 1979 and is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. To learn more about MAAF, its programs and services, visit our website at 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. Additional information is available at 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, as 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
Karen Newell, Director of External Affairs