Earlier this week the Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) announced that it has awarded 14 grants totaling $189,520 to artists and arts organizations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Through its Artistic Innovations Grant Program, M-AAA supports the creation of new, original works of art. The funded projects culminate in at least two public-facing programs: a presentation of the work and an educational outreach event. The funding for these grants is provided by support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
In a press release, Todd Stein, President and CEO of M-AAA, stated, “For more than 10 years, the Artistic Innovations program has been a living testimony of the strength and spirit of the arts, right in mid-America. As humans, we become the stories we tell ourselves, and these artists are our region’s lead storytellers for what it means to define the present and create the future of America’s heartland.”
This year, M-AAA selected 14 grantees from 106 applications. There are a number of first-time grant recipients among the selected awardees, including Artpace from San Antonio. Learn more about the Texas recipients below, via descriptions provided by M-AAA. See the full list of recipients and learn more about M-AAA at the organization’s website.
San Antonio, TX
Project: One Year of Artpace’s International Artist-in-Residence Program, Three Texas Artists
Artpace’s International Artist-in-Residence (IAIR) Program supports the creation of new contemporary artworks by three Texas-based artists participating in the Summer 2023, Fall 2023, and Spring 2024 residency cycle. The residency culminates in a seven-week exhibition. All artists must also participate in at least three public events during their residency.
The IAIR Program provides Texas artists with unparalleled resources that enable them to experiment with new ideas, take risks, and realize innovative, ambitious work that extends beyond Artpace — impacting audiences, and opening up opportunities for critical response and exposure through subsequent exhibitions and placement in collections. For many resident Texas artists, Artpace’s IAIR program has changed the course of their careers and propelled them onto the international art stage.
Project: Meeting of the Minds
Meeting of the Minds is an exciting and cerebral partnership between choreographers/dancers, musicians/composers, and neuroscientists. NobleMotion Dance collaborates with José Contreras-Vidal, director of BRAIN Center at the University of Houston, and composer Anthony Brandt, Rice University, in the creation of this art-science performance-research study that explores themes of polarization and coexistence. Utilizing high-tech projection and brain-recording equipment, the evening will showcase the live capturing of neuroscientific data from dancers while they execute highly physical choreography.
Programming that broadens accessibility to the younger generation will highlight the ways that art and science overlap and emphasize how the spirit of collaboration exists at the heart of innovation. The creative team will invite high school students interested in both art and science to participate in a special presentation and workshop.
Longleaf is an evening-length multimedia work by composer Ben Morris for the Houston-based contemporary music ensemble Loop38. The piece tells the story of the longleaf pine forest, an endangered ecosystem in the American Southeast with its last stands in East Texas. The piece will trace the history of the tree and the timber industry with video projections, historical photographs, natural soundscapes, and music, raise awareness about the importance of old-growth forests, and encourage forest preservation and appreciation.
Longleaf will have two premiere performances. The first will be at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, accompanied by a recording session and other community events. The following concert will be at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston and will serve as Loop38’s 2023–24 season finale.
Project: THE BIG “US” PROJECT
THE BIG “US” PROJECT is an ongoing creative process that centers the voices of refugees and immigrants, addressing diversity, access, and justice in the Houston arts community. The result is an original, community-driven performance created by 100 members of Houston’s refugee and immigrant communities. Participants of all ages partner with artist-mentors to create a piece about, with, for, and near the communities at its center.
The final performance in December 2023 will be free, open to the public, accessible online, and created for an audience of children and their grown-ups.
The theme, Story Threads, invites participants to explore the ways stories connect us across generations, continents, and cultures. Like Houston’s diverse communities, these threads weave together to create the fabric of our city.