Native American hoop dancer Kevin Locke dances with colorful hoops against a blue sky and desert mesa backdrop.


Over $304,000 Awarded in Final Round of 2017-2018 USArtists International Grant Cycle




Baltimore, MD – July 16, 2018 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced grants totaling $304,012 to 10 dance, 13 music, and five theater companies and solo performers from across the United States. Engagements will take place at 38 festivals in 27 countries around the globe through the final grant round of the 2018 USArtists International (USAI) program.

USAI is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 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.

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 abroad. 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. artists. In 2018, USAI awarded more grants than in any previous program year since 2009. In total, the program has awarded over $6.1 million through 833 grants to 493 ensembles and solo performers since its inception in 2006.

Supported engagements often lead to new opportunities. Colorado-based ensemble The Railsplitters received a 2017 USAI grant to perform at the Woodford Folk Festival and Cygnet Folk Festival in Australia. In their final report, they commented that “We wanted to share our American music with an international crowd, collaborate with musicians from other countries, and expand the band’s reach into new markets. We were successful in those goals, and were able to add to our performances in Australia with another international festival (the Cygnet Festival in Tasmania) as well as appearances at small halls in Queensland, Tasmania, and New South Wales. The band performed seven times at Woodford for audiences of up to twelve hundred people, and took part in two collaborative sets with artists from the U.S., Canada, and Ireland. We also played four sets at the Cygnet Festival for audiences of up to five hundred, provided music for a local folk dance, and collaborated with a band from Sicily on stage. Our other dates included performances in Sydney, Brisbane, Wauchope, Bellingen, and Tasmania. The tour was definitely a success, we received overwhelmingly positive feedback and we were approached by another international festival regarding future dates.”

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:

  • 3rd Eye, NY
    International Festival of the Cajon, Peru
    Dublin Theatre Festival, Ireland
    International Theater Festival MESS, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Abraham.In.Motion, NY
    Helsinki Festival, Finland
    Tanz Theatre International Festival, Germany
  • BalletMet, OH
    Saint-Sauveur Arts Festival, Canada
    Budapest Spring Festival, Hungary
  • Beth Morrison Projects, NY
    New Vision Arts Festival, China
  • Bohemian Trio, MA
    Haiti International Piano Festival, Haiti
  • Cardell Dance Theater, PA
    EDANCO, Dominican Republic
  • Dafnis Prieto Sextet, FL
    Jazz Plaza International Festival, Cuba
  • Edward Perez Trio, NY
    New Docta International Music Festival, Argentina
  • Ensemble Dal Niente, IL
    Manuel Enriquez International Forum for New Music, Mexico
  • JACK Quartet, NY
    BBC Proms, United Kingdom
  • Jamie Baum Septet+, NY
    EFG London Jazz Festival, United Kingdom
    Jazztopad Festival, Poland
  • Ken Thomson Sextet, NY
    Jazzstage Dresden, Germany
    November Music Festival, Netherlands
  • Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble, IN
    International Sefika Kutluer Festival, Turkey
  • Ledoh & Salt Farm, CA
    International Butoh Festival Thailand, Thailand
  • LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble, CA
    International Folk Festival, Croatia
  • Live the Spirit Residency Big Band, IL
    Maputo International Jazz Festival, Mozambique
  • Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental, PA
    Territory Festival, Russia
  • Mark Morris Dance Group, NY
    Melbourne Festival, Australia
  • New York Polyphony, NY
    Mainz Music Summer, Germany
    Nordhessen Cultural Summer, Germany
    Voices Festival, Germany
  • Nora Chipaumire, NY
    Dance in August, Germany
    Summer Opera Festival Veneto, Italy
  • Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, NY
    Chopin and His Europe International Music Festival, Poland
  • Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, PA
    Early Days Music Festival, Germany
  • Pontus Lidberg Dance, NY
    Oriente Occidente Dance Festival, Italy
  • Somi, NY
    Marseille International Jazz Festival of the Five Continents, France
    St. Moritz Jazz Festival, Switzerland
    Umbria Jazz, Italy
    Kyoto Experiment, Japan
    Wuzhen Theatre Festival, China
  • Theater Mitu, NY
    Cairo International Festival for Contemporary & Experimental Theatre, Egypt

MAAF convened two panels (music and dance/theater) via teleconference on May 21 and 22, 2018 to review applications in dance, music, and theater. The panels consisted of experienced artists and arts professionals as well as lay-panelists. For a complete list of panelists, please click here.

The first deadline for USAI 2018-2019 applicants is September 7, 2018 for projects taking place between December 15, 2018 and December 14, 2019. Information about the USAI program, guidelines, current grantees, and the online application can be accessed here.

Photo: Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble (IN) received funding to perform at the International Sefika Kutluer Festival, Turkey through this round of USAI funding. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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

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. Additional information is available at

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 $9 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

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.

Karen Newell, Director of External Affairs