Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) is a dedicated funder of the arts, specifically bringing in performance groups from all over the world to perform for and engage with mid-Atlantic audiences.
Before we go any further, a brief geography refresher: The mid-Atlantic region consists of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Notably, though, this foundation also includes the U.S. Virgin Islands in its mission.
If you have a new theater project in development, partnering with a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation presenting organization through its ArtsCONNECT program, its Special Presenter Initiatives, or its Southern Exposure program is a profitable way to work through the finishing touches and share the piece with audiences.
Your theater project doesn't have to be nascent; it can also be one you've settled into. Either way, use of the funds requires that you publicly perform the piece, as well as participate in community engagement. Both of these elements should also be mindful of tapping into underserved communities.
These funds you receive flow through the Mid Atlantic organizations that will be presenting you, and they are earmarked toward paying your appearance fees, travel, lodging, and performance operating expenses. It's the presenting organizations that apply for these grant with MAAF, and they will typically receive 50 percent of their total expenses related to your performance, typically in a range of $1,000 to $10,000 (though allowed to go as high as $15,000 when new work has been commissioned by them from you).
This means that the presenting organization still has to foot a significant portion of your bill, which means that you still need to stand out from the pack by providing a theater experience that compels the presenting organization to include you in its season. MAAF itself also demands “artistic excellence” from you, which it measures in part by awards, honors, previous grants, and performance history. You must also have a proven history of “experience in touring.” Be mindful that theater performances are far overshadowed by the number of dance and music performances that are funded. So make sure you're putting your extra-best foot forward when pitching your theater project to possible presenting partners.
Mid Atlantic presenting organizations supported by MAAF are an eclectic bunch. They include city and community performing arts centers, college campuses, museums, interdisciplinary arts organizations, and festivals. Some of these organizations have their own permanent performance venues; others use/rent a variety of venues to suit the needs of a particular performance.
Theater performance coming through these venues is also eclectic. The different programs listed above have different degrees of specificity, but generally speaking, MAAF is enamored with theater traditions from around the world.
The deadline for Mid Atlantic region presenting organizations to apply for an ArtsCONNECT grant (MAAF's bigggest program) is mid-March, so be sure to reach out and pitch your project with that calendar in mind.