Baltimore, MD – March 9, 2020 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced over $316,000 in grant support to 32 ensembles and solo performers who will represent the United States at 37 different festivals around the globe through the second round of USArtists International (USAI) 2020. USAI grantees will travel to six continents and perform in 21 countries. Grantees include 11 dance, 16 music, and five theater companies and solo performers.

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 theater, resulting in the promotion of international cultural exchange and the creative and professional development of U.S. artists. The program extends the reach and impact of professional artists dependent on touring for continued sustainability and career advancement. Since its inception in 2006, USAI has awarded over $7.59 million through 990 grants to 589 ensembles and solo performers.

The third and final deadline of the 2020 cycle is April 1, 2020 for projects taking place between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. The online application can be accessed here.

USAI is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the Howard Gilman Foundation for support of New York City-based organizations.

Supported engagements promote the vibrant diversity of American artists, expand opportunity and exposure to international audiences, and enhance creative and professional development of U.S. artists by providing connections with presenters, curators, and artists around the world. Leonardo Sandoval & Gregory Richardson of Brooklyn, NY received support from the first round of USAI 2020. In January 2020, they completed their first international engagement – at the Tap in Rio Festival in Brazil. In their final report they said “As our first international engagement, this was a highly significant opportunity for us to raise our profile as a company, and create opportunities for further collaborations, bookings, and performances in Brazil and further afield. Creatively, the feedback we received about our work from Brazilian audiences, as well as from other artists attending the festival, has inspired us to explore some particular elements of our work further, especially Afro-diasporic urban music in Brazil and the US. This will affect the development of our next piece. We have established contacts with choreographers, producers, and presenters, and are now in discussion about more extended engagements in 2021, in several Brazilian cities. We also discussed funding opportunities that exist in Brazil with producers, which would make it easier for us to return for extended touring. This engagement at Tap in Rio was truly an exceptional platform for us to make these contacts, most of which would simply not have happened had we not been able to attend the festival as a company.”

The USAI 2020 round two grantees include a mix of emerging and established companies that showcase a diversity of styles within their artistic disciplines. Over half of the round two grantees are new to the USAI program. The USAI 2020 round two grantees are:

  • Abby Z and the New Utility, NY: Dance Umbrella, United Kingdom
  • Bang on a Can All-Stars, NY: Megève Festival Savoy Truffle, France
  • Basil Twist, NY: UNIMA World Puppetry Festival and International Seminar, Indonesia
  • Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, NY: Holland Festival, Netherlands
  • The Callithumpian Consort, MA: Vértice Festival, Mexico
  • Cappella Romana, OR: Early Music Festival of Utrecht, Netherlands
  • David Roussève/REALITY, CA: Latin American and Caribbean Theater Season, Cuba
  • Early Morning Opera, CA: Festival TransAmériques, Canada
  • Ensemble Dal Niente, IL: Buenos Aires New Opera Festival, Argentina
  • Faye Driscoll, NY: Dance in August, Germany
  • Gao Hong and Linda Chatterton Duo, MN: Harbin Summer Music Festival, China
  • Half Straddle, NY: Kunsten Festival of Arts, Belgium and London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), United Kingdom
  • Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, NY: B12, Dance in August, and Ponderosa TanzLand Festival, Germany
  • JACK Quartet, NY: Quartet Week, Germany
  • Jeremy Danneman and Sophie Nzayisenga, NY: Jewish Culture Festival, Poland
  • Kronos Quartet, CA: Jewish Culture Festival, Poland and Rudolstadt Festival, Germany
  • Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise of Higher Grounds Music, PA: Harare International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe
  • Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble, PA: Caribbean Festival / Fire Festival, Cuba
  • Marjani Forte-Saunders, NY: Risk and Resilience, Germany
  • Mark Morris Dance Group, NY: Seoul International Dance Festival, South Korea
  • Naughty Professor, LA: Umbria Jazz Festival, Italy
  • Propelled Animals, PA: In-Out Dance Festival, Burkina Faso
  • Roadside Theater, KY: International Community Arts Festival, Netherlands
  • Sandglass Theater, VT: FIDENA International Puppet Theatre Festival, Germany
  • Stephen Petronio Dance Company, NY: Dance Fest Skopje, Macedonia
  • Talea Ensemble, NY: Donaueschinger Musiktage, Germany
  • The Carpenter Ants, WV: Cultural Summer Festival and Slovak Alternative Summer Festival, Slovakia
  • The Honey Dewdrops, MD: Fairbridge Festival and National Folk Festival, Australia
  • The Merian Ensemble, GA: Rio Harp Festival, Brazil
  • The Whitetop Mountaineers, VA: Blue Mountains Music Festival, National Folk Festival, and Yackandandah Folk Festival, Australia
  • TRIBE (Shamel Pitts), NY: Internationale Tanzmesse NRW, Germany
  • Yarn/Wire, NY: Updated Tone Festival, Israel

MAAF convened two panels via video conference on January 27 and 28, 2020 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.

In July 2018, MAAF completed a comprehensive evaluation of the USAI program from its inception in 2006 through 2017. Results of that report can be found here.

Photo: Fanna-Fi-Allah of California performs at performs at the Lands End Festival in France in August 2019 with support from USAI. Credit: Aimee Akasha.

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 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.

About the Trust for Mutual Understanding
The Trust for Mutual Understanding awards grants to American nonprofit organizations to support direct exchange in the arts and the environment between professionals from the United States and TMU’s geographic region: the Baltic States; Central Asia; Central, East, Southeast Europe; Mongolia; and Russia.