Mid-America Arts Alliance Announces Open Call for Individual Artist Grants of $25,000

by Jessica Fuentes January 6, 2024

The Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) has announced the renewal of its Interchange program, a granting initiative that supports individual artists engaged in social practice work who live in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Initially launched in 2019 with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, M-AAA awarded grants through Interchange in 2019 and 2021. Now, with ongoing support from the Mellon Foundation, the initiative will continue this year. While the first year of grants offered $20,000 to 16 individual artists, in 2024, the grant award has been increased to $25,000. 

In a press release, Todd Stein, President and CEO of M-AAA noted, “We appreciate the Mellon Foundation and its recognition of the enduring impact of the Interchange program for artists engaged in social practice. Their visionary backing reinforces the long-term significance of connecting arts, culture, and community resilience and furthers M-AAA’s mission to empower artists. By championing individual artists as catalysts for societal change, the foundation’s support continues to be a meaningful and transformative force, resonating deeply across our six-state region and beyond.”

Previous Texas awardees include Libby Bland (Houston), Nansi Guevera (Brownsville), Adam McKinney (Fort Worth), Mark Menjivar (San Antonio), Xochitl Rodriguez (El Paso), and Jonathan Wei (Austin) in 2019; and C. Diaz (McAllen), Luis Ordaz Gutiérrez (Austin), Travis Neel with Erin Charpentier, Kim Karlsrud, and Daniel Phillips (Lubbock), Reyes Ramirez (Houston), Riel Sturchio and Bianca Sturchio (Austin), and Sara Vanderbeek (Austin) in 2021.

A black and white designed graphic featuring scenes of Houston life and iconography overlaid by the Houston freeway system.

“The Houston Artist Speaks Through Grids” supported by Interchange

The practice-based grants offered through Interchange are not intended to fund a specific project, but instead they’re meant to support an artist’s overall creative practice. M-AAA explains that this “offer[s artists] the freedom to push boundaries, take creative risks, and explore uncharted territories without predefined expectations.”

Diane Scott, Director of M-AAA’s Artist Services, explained, “By recognizing and nurturing the artistic journey rather than just the destination, forward-thinking funders like the Mellon Foundation play a vital role in supporting artists’ well-being. This approach helps ensure that artists, engaged in critical work within their communities, receive the support they deserve, valuing their contributions to the cultural landscape.”

In addition to the funding, grantees will participate in professional development opportunities. These include two retreat weekends over an 18-month period, quarterly 90-minute workshops, and one-on-one mentoring sessions. At the culmination of the program, participants will share their practices through a public program titled Social Practice in Conversation

The application process for the grants will open online on Tuesday, February 20 at 9 a.m. CST and will close on Monday, April 15 at 5 p.m. CST. Learn more and apply via the Interchange website.

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