Trade in a globalized economy is about much more than oil, coffee, wheat and wine. It is about the arts. And cultural exchange is at the crux of the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund, which was initiated in 2008 to provide an opportunity for arts organizations to undertake new partnerships and creative endeavors. The program began at a time when there were few resources available for cultural organizations to undertake new projects beyond their basic programs. Since that time, the Foundation has made 84 grants for exchanges, bringing new work to Chicago audiences and raising Chicago’s artistic profile around the world.
This year, MacArthur is awarding grants to 18 Chicago arts and culture organizations to conduct artistic exchanges with organizations in 16 countries. Recipinets include:
± American Theater Company ($7,000 for an artistic exchange with Glasgow, Scotland that will add an international perspective to a new play focused on public housing).
± Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago ($25,000 for a new choral piece inspired by Native American cultures, to be written and performed through an exchange with young people in Canada and Alaska).
± Chicago Human Rhythm Project ($45,000 for intensive artistic residencies in Chicago, Brazil, and Argentina, which will include classes for youth in American tap, public concerts, and the creation of new, collaborative work).
± Chicago Jazz Philharmonic ($50,000 for Cuban and Philharmonic musicians to perform a new composition in Chicago and Cuba).
± Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras ($50,000 for a joint premiere performance by youth symphonies in Chicago and China of a new piece of music written for Western and Eastern instruments).
± Clinard Dance Theatre ($20,000 for an exchange with a contemporary dance company in India to create new dance pieces, one for each company).
± Deeply Rooted Productions ($40,000 to support a multi-year residency with a contemporary dance company in South Africa and participation in the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance festival).
± Facets Multi-Media, Inc. ($40,000 for a collaboration with indigenous Brazilian filmmakers to produce social issue documentary films that highlight communities under pressure in both Brazil and the United States).
± Guild Complex ($32,000 to host exiled Middle Eastern poets in Chicago to discuss issues of freedom of speech and then to support a group of Chicago writers to bring these discussions to an international literature festival).
± League of Chicago Theatres ($20,000 to give Chicago area theatre companies an opportunity to connect with visiting artists and learn about theatre in other parts of the world through workshops and other coordinated activities).
± MAKE Literary Productions ($25,000 to organize a live event in Chicago and a live event in Mexico City, combining many art forms and focusing on the subject of translation).
± Northlight Theatre ($15,000 for an artistic exchange with Ireland and co-production of a new work that will premiere in Chicago and then at the Galway Arts Festival).
± Old Town School of Folk Music ($48,000 for an exchange of music faculty with a conservatory in Turkey; each organization will share its music and culture with the other’s students and communities).
± Same Planet Different World ($47,000 for a collaboration with a contemporary dance company in Israel to jointly develop and premiere a new piece of work).
± The International Contemporary Ensemble ($40,000 for a musical exchange with Japan; the visiting artists will perform a new concerto and present educational workshops for Japanese music students).
± Theater Oobleck ($25,000 for a collaboration with El Circo Nacional de Puerto Rico, to co-write and produce a new show with premieres in Chicago and San Juan).
± Third Coast Percussion ($10,000 for an exchange of Chicago and German percussion artists, who will perform a new work before traveling to Germany to participate in the first Lübeck International Percussion Festival).
± Trap Door Productions ($20,000 for an artistic exchange with a French director to produce Albert Camus’ “The Just,” which will be presented in Chicago and France).
International Connections Fund grants are limited to Chicago area nonprofit arts and culture organizations that received a grant within the last three years from MacArthur or though the MacArthur Funds established at the Driehaus and Prince Foundations.