Meet Some of the Winners of MacArthur Grants for International Collaborations

The MacArthur Foundation's International Connections Fund is a cultural exchange program for Chicago arts organizations predicated on the idea that the world needs to know about all the great things happening in the city.

We must admit, this underlying premise makes sense. Without resorting to the dreaded "Second City" comparison — okay, we just did — Chicago, so the story goes, exists in New York and Los Angeles' shadows in international community's perception of the hierarchy of innovative American cities. By supporting "two-way artistic exchanges that benefit Chicago arts and culture nonprofits and their peer organizations abroad," the MacArthur Foundation's fund is working to change that.

For proof, look no further than recent news that the foundation selected 12 Chicago-based arts organizations to receive International Connections funds. Let's take a brief look at a few of the winners:

Danceworks Chicago will net $35,000 and then head off to Europe to collaborate with its German counterpart, the Hamburg-based
Bundesjugendballett (BJB), the National Youth Ballet of Germany. The collaboration will consist of a two-week creative residency comprising classes, rehearsals and performances at BJB beginning in the Spring of 2015. After that, both groups will embark on a three-city tour of Germany.

The Field Museum of Natural History
 will receive $45,000 to support an artistic exchange with the Philippines. Drawing on The Field’s collection, artists from both countries will create 12 new works of visual art and share them with audiences in both communities.

Fifth House Ensemble scored $40,000 for a music exchange with Israel and Germany. Participants will create a suite of newly composed concert works that combine Jewish Sephardic, bluegrass, and experimental music. They will perform the work in Germany and Chicago.

So we know what you're thinking. You're a Chicago-area nonprofit arts organization. How can you get in on this?

First off, a little patience is required. Applications will be accepted starting April 21, 2015 for next year's funding. The deadline is just over a week later, on May 2nd. Eligible organizations must be:

  • A nonprofit organization in the Chicago area that has received a grant payment for its arts and culture work directly from the MacArthur Foundation between 2009-2013, or
  • A nonprofit organization in the Chicago area that has received a grant payment between 2009-2013 from the MacArthur Funds established at the Driehaus Foundation (including the Small Dance and Theater Fund) or Prince Charitable Trusts.

In other words, "cold-calling" MacArthur won't help. Applicants need to be former MacArthur grant recipients.

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