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USArtists International (USAI)

Grants to USA Artists, Ensembles, and Nonprofits
for Performances at International Cultural Events

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

04/03/19 11:59 PM ET


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Grants ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 to USA and territories individual artists, ensembles, and nonprofit arts organizations to support touring performances by US-based artists at performing arts marketplaces and international festivals. Funding is intended to support performances by exemplary artists and ensembles representing all performing arts disciplines, including dance, music, and theater. Funding may be used towards support of artist fees, travel, accommodations, per diem, shipping, and visa preparation.

USAI encourages and promotes the vibrant diversity of U.S. artists and creative expression in the performing arts by expanding opportunity and exposure to international audiences, encouraging international cultural exchange, and enhancing the 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 touring artists and ensembles from the United States and is committed to expanded touring opportunities for continued sustainability of U.S. artists.

Eligible festivals must:
-Be sponsored or organized primarily by a non-US based organization
-Be curated and not require registration, application, performance or any other type of fees from performers to exceed USD $250.00
-Be international in scope with performers representing at least two countries outside the host country, or have a US theme with representation from at least three US ensembles and/or solo performers
-Be open and marketed to the general public
-Provide the applicant with a signed letter of invitation or signed contract to perform at the festival, stating the details of the festival’s financial or in-kind contributions towards eligible project expenses as identified in the USAI guidelines under Grant Amounts and Eligible Expenses.

Eligible Performing Arts Markets must:
-Meet all festival eligibility requirements listed above with the exception that they do not need to be open and marketed to the general public.

Eligible engagements must:
-Pay artists or artists must receive in-kind contributions towards eligible project expenses as defined in the USAI guidelines under Grant Amounts and Eligible Expenses
-Be at least 20 minutes in duration, which may be comprised of single or multiple works or excerpts from longer pieces.

Multiple Engagements:
Artists/Ensembles are limited to one application per program deadline, but may submit an application seeking support for performances at up to three festivals and/or markets as long as the artists/ensembles will not travel to and from the US between engagements. Applicants must provide separate signed letters of invitation or signed contracts for each festival and/or market.

Festivals: For the purposes of USAI, a festival is defined as an event, primarily focused on the arts, consisting of live public performances by multiple international performing artists/ensembles in dance, music or theater which takes place within a contiguous period of three months or less. A festival must demonstrate a consistently high level of activity for its entire duration, including public performances and/or ancillary activities, such as workshops, lecture/demonstrations, public presentations, etc.

Fringe Festivals: Engagements that are part of fringe festivals may be eligible for USAI support if the engagement meets all of the eligibility criteria for festivals.

Performing Arts Markets: For the purposes of USAI, a performing arts market is defined as a curated or juried event with a maximum duration of two weeks featuring showcases of performing artists marketed primarily to performing arts industry professionals and in some cases, general audiences. The intent of a performing arts market is to provide artists and performing arts industry professionals with opportunities to develop and deepen professional relationships. Performing arts markets are frequently accompanied by panels, symposia, and workshops related to the marketing and promotion of the performing arts for industry professionals.

Eligible Expenses:

Eligible expenses supported through USAI are performance fees, travel, housing and per diem, shipping, visa fees, agents’ fees related to participation in the international engagement, registration/application fees up to $250 and fiscal sponsor administration fees, if applicable. Expenses not listed in the USAI budget are not eligible for support.

Application Review Criteria
Panels composed of specialists in the fields of dance, music, theater, and a lay panelist will review applications and make recommendations for support. Panels will reflect wide geographic, ethnic, and racial representation as well as diverse aesthetic and cultural points of view. Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

Artistic Merit:
-The significance of the applicant's presence at the engagement as it relates to the artist/ensemble's professional development.
-The significance of the festival or market locally and internationally.
-The quality of the proposed engagement, including the appropriateness of the venue, schedule of performance(s), and, for festivals, evidence of reasonable financial support in the context of local economic conditions
Artistic Excellence:
-As demonstrated by the work samples submitted.
-The artists’ record of professional achievement.

USAI will only support airfare equivalent to economy class rates, purchased no less than 14 days prior to departure date. Any foreign air travel funded through USAI must be done on an approved US flag air carrier as part of the Fly America Act, or a foreign air carrier under an air transport agreement with the United States when these services are available.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 174881

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants generally range from $1,000 to $10,000. Grant requests may not be less than $1,000 and may not exceed $15,000.

Term of Contract:

Projects submitted for the April 3, 2019 deadline may take place between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants must:
-Be a dance, music, or theater ensemble or individual artist, that work at a professional level; festivals and/or curators cannot apply on behalf of U.S. artists.
-Be designated by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, OR apply using a U.S.-based fiscal sponsor that is designated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
-Currently reside in the United States or its territories
-Be invited to perform at a significant international festival or performing arts market that meets the eligibility guidelines
-Not have received a USAI grant within the calendar year, regardless of when the festival(s) or market(s) take place
-Not be involved in the curation, administration or management of the festival or performing arts market for which they seek funding
-Be in good standing with Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, with no overdue or outstanding required reports and/or grant documents
-Meet residency requirements: USAI will only fund performances in which at least half of the performers are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. For all projects with international collaborators or accompaniment, at least half of the performers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and the lead creative artist must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Applicants will be assessed in part on the risk of noncompliance with Federal statutes, regulations and the terms and conditions as provided by the applicant’s Certification and Statement of Assurances in the submitted application and the results of previous audits including adherence to Single Audit requirements as set forth by Federal statutes.


Under these guidelines, an application is not eligible if:
-Artists/ensembles have been awarded a USAI grant within the calendar year, regardless of when the festival(s) or market(s) occur
-At least half of performers are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents
-Applicants are student or youth ensembles, amateur groups or groups comprised of participants from instructional programs (such as bands, music or dance artists/ensembles of academic institutions.)
-Applicant is a for-profit entity: either individuals or ensembles
-Applicant or member of applicant ensemble is involved in festival or market curation, administration or management of the festival or market for which they seek funding

Seeking funding for festivals or markets that:
-Take place within the United States or its territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern MarianaIslands, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands
-Are not curated or where artists/ensembles must produce their own performances, e.g. artists/ensembles that are self-selected, rent a venue, receive no contribution towards the eligible expenses or a percentage of box office income from the festival or market
-Require artists/ensembles to pay any type of fee in order to participate, including application or registration fees beyond the allowable limit of USD $250.00
-Present artists/ensembles in a showcase less than 20 minutes in duration or workshop format

Festivals that:
-Consist primarily of activities other than public performances: that might include workshops, training or conference sessions, competitions, primarily academic or curricular programs.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Applicants wishing to learn more about the USArtists International program are invited to attend the following webinars

February 20, 2:30 – 3:30 PM ET: USArtists International: Am I eligible?

USArtists International: Am I eligible? provides program information for solo artists and performing arts ensembles considering an application to the USArtists International grant program. The webinar highlights updates to the program guidelines. Get a clear idea about who and what type of projects USArtists International funds. New applicants, previous applicants, grantees and others interested in learning more about updates to the USAI program can benefit from this webinar.

Sign up for the webinar:

View a recording:

November 15, 2:00 – 3:15 PM ET: USArtists International: Tips and Pointers for Applicants
This webinar is for artists planning to apply for USArtists International. The webinar reviews the online application, the panel process, and provides helpful tips to applicants interested in strengthening their applications and avoid common mistakes.

Sign up for the webinar:

View a recording:

Pre-Application Information:

Grants will seldom cover the applicant's eligible expenses in their entirety.

The Certification Sheet is e-mailed to applicants upon submission of the online application. It must be signed by the authorizing official of the artist/ensemble, if a 501(c)(3) organization. If using a fiscal sponsor, both the artist/ensemble and the authorizing official of the fiscal sponsor must sign the same Certification Sheet where indicated. The Certification Sheet must be submitted no later than one week after the application deadline for which you have submitted an application.

Application Deadlines:

CLOSED: September 7, 2018 by 11:59 PM Eastern
For projects taking place between December 15, 2018 and December 14, 2019. Certification Sheets and letters of invitation due by September 14, 2018.

CLOSED: November 30, 2018 by 11:59 PM Eastern
For projects taking place between March 15, 2019 and March 14, 2020. Certification Sheets and letters of invitation due by December 7, 2018.

April 3, 2019 by 11:59 PM Eastern
For projects taking place between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. Certification Sheets and letters of invitation due by April 10, 2019.

Award Notification
Deadline: September 7, 2018; Applicants notified of grant status by: November 27, 2018
Deadline: November 30, 2018; Applicants notified of grant status by: March 1, 2019
Deadline: April 3, 2019; Applicants notified of grant status by: June 21, 2019

A signed letter(s) of invitation or signed contract(s) from the festival(s) or market(s) in English must be submitted with the grant application.

If the signed letters of invitation or signed contracts are not available at the time the application is submitted, they may be sent via email by:
-September 14, 2018 for applications submitted September 7, 2018.
-December 7, 2018 for applications submitted November 30, 2018.
-April 10, 2019 for applications submitted April 3, 2019

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To access the USAI online application system, visit:

Email Certification Sheets to with the subject line: {Insert Applicant Name Here} USAI Certification Sheet, or {Insert Applicant Name Here} USAI Letter of Invitation.

You may also fax the materials to (410) 837-5517, Attn: USArtists International

For more information:
Robyn Busch, Program Officer, International

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)