USArtists International (USAI) provides grants that defray the costs of musicians (solo artists and ensemble acts) who showcase their music making abroad at festivals and performing arts marketplaces. This is a unique and valuable opportunity to fund your next international gig.
USAI recognizes the scope of expenses that can be involved when musicians travel internationally, and the grants will therefore cover travel, housing, per diem, shipping, visa fees, and agents’ fees—up to $15,000 worth, though typically dispensed in the $1,000 to $10,000 range.
USAI seeks musicians who demonstrate artistic excellence, and also looks for artistic merit from the festival or performing arts marketplace where you'll perform. Wrapped around both of these criteria: the event where you perform must have a competitive selection process, meaning it can't be an open-entry situation where if you sign up, you're in.
USAI is also looking for diversity—in the American musicians' work that is showcased abroad, but also in the performing platforms themselves. The festival or marketplace you plan to perform at must showcase either a group of American performers (they can perform in other disciplines too, such as dance or theater), or showcase groups from at least two countries outside of the host nation.
But USAI is very flexible regarding where these festivals and marketplaces occur. In fact, it endorses travel all around the globe. In 2014 alone, it funded musicians to showcase their stuff in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Germany, India, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.
One other note of selction logistics: Musical performers must have 501(c)(3) status, or else be fiscally sponsored by a reputable non-profit agency.
Applications are online, and are administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Alliance. There are three deadlines each year: in April, September, and December. Choose the deadline that links up with the dates you intend to perform internationally; each deadline is synced with performances set to happen about three months later, and you’ll hear if you’ve received the grant about 10 weeks after each application deadline. So functionally speaking, you might have already had to commit to the festival or marketplace performance, but if you do wind up receiving a USAI grant, your bank account will be so much the better for it.