Interchange Artist Grant Guidelines

Interchange is a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance made possible with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Interchange is designed to strengthen communities and individual artists within our region by supporting artist-led projects focused on social impact.

Interchange grants will be awarded to sixteen artists with an active socially-engaged creative practice in the Mid-America Arts Alliance region through:

  • $20,000 in direct project support
  • Professional development retreats with Interchange grantees
  • Mentoring
Interchange Artist Grant

Applications Open

To be announced

Application Deadline

Applications are now closed.


You are eligible to apply if you:

  • Are an artist with an active socially-engaged creative practice.
  • Are a resident in the Mid-America Arts Alliance region (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas).
  • Are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have non-resident status.
  • Are at least 18 years old at the time of application.
  • Are part of an artist collaborative as long as you are the principal artist who applies for and receives the grant funds.
  • Can confirm you are able to attend two grantee retreats in Kansas City, MO on August 9-11, 2019 and August 7-9, 2020.

What determines a socially-engaged creative practice?

  • A current and ongoing artistic practice that includes working with communities (defined by geography or characteristics) to make change.
  • A creative practice that responds to social problems and issues.
  • A creative practice characterized by processes and products directly linked to their intended social impact.

Artists working in and across a range of disciplines may apply. Priority will be given for projects that include performing and/or traditional arts. You will be asked to identify all the disciplines that apply to the project you are proposing.

  • Performing Arts (e.g., dance, theater, music, opera, puppetry, storytelling, playwriting, performance art).
  • Traditional Arts (work that is made based on artistic traditions shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation through demonstration, conversation and practice – may include crafts, storytelling, dance, music, or functional art).
  • Literary Arts (e.g., fiction, nonfiction, poetry).
  • Visual Arts (e.g., painting, sculpture, ceramics, fiber, film, screenwriting, video, media arts, photography, mixed media, wearable art).

You are not eligible to apply if you are:

  • A nonprofit organization, K-12 school or post-secondary educational institution.*
  • A full-time student.
  • Not currently a resident within the six-state region of M-AAA (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas).

*If you are an artist working within a 501c3 nonprofit organization, K-12 school or post-secondary institution, proposed projects must be separate from the scope of your compensated work for that organization or educational institution.

Project Information

The Interchange Artist Grant program is interested in projects that make change in communities by actively engaging people around social issues, opportunities and challenges. A community may be defined geographically (e.g., town, neighborhood) or by relationships and characteristics (e.g., identity, heritage).

Interchange grants will support a new project, or a significant component and/or further development of an ongoing project.

Projects do not necessarily have to take place in the community where you reside. Depending on scope and intent, projects may have a reach outside of the city or town where you live. You will, however, be required to make a public presentation about your project in your community of residence in 2020. Priority will be given to projects that take place in the M-AAA region (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas).

Examples of projects include:

  • Projects that increase dialogue and civic discourse around local issues or local impact of national issues.
  • Projects that empower people by providing tools and structures for organization and advocacy.
  • Projects that recognize and engage specific neighborhoods.
  • Projects that celebrate and preserve cultural practices/traditions of underrepresented or marginalized groups.
  • Projects that activate underutilized spaces with art and community participation for the benefit of the residents.

A competitive project application must:

  • Demonstrate the social need for the project.
  • Articulate a theory of change for the project (what is the change you intend to make with your project and how does your project and the intervention of you as an artist facilitate that change).
  • Envision what success looks like and propose a means of measuring impact of the project.
  • Explain your relationship and connection to the community impacted by the project.
  • List any partners (e.g., civic institutions, nonprofit organizations, other artists) and how they will participate in and/or inform your project.
  • Provide a communications strategy for disseminating project information in order to increase impact. (How will this project be communicated to stakeholders?)
  • Include a budget with categories that correspond to your project description.*
  • Provide an artist statement that reflects your commitment to a socially engaged creative practice and a resumé that includes your previous community-facing work.
  • Include work samples that demonstrate both artistic merit and community engagement.

*The grant may be used for any project-related expenses (e.g., documentation, artist fees, travel, or the purchase of equipment or materials). The budget should show both expenses and income and include in-kind contributions.

Application Requirements

To apply for an Interchange Artist Grant, applicants must complete the online application that includes the following:

  • Confirmation that you agree to attend two Interchange grantee retreats in Kansas City, MO on August 9-11, 2019 and August 7-9, 2020. (Lodging and meals will be provided and all transportation to and from Kansas City will be reimbursed by Mid-America Arts Alliance.)

Artist and project information:

  • Artist Statement
  • Biography
  • Project Title and Description
  • List of key collaborative partners and their participation (artists, individuals, institutions and organizations)
  • Project Timeline

Key questions about your project:

  • What is the need your project addresses and change you intend to make?
  • Define the community you are engaging and describe your relationship and connection to the community.
  • Define success for your project and you plan on measuring it.
  • What is your communications strategy?

Required documents to be uploaded:

  • Project Budget
  • Key collaborative partner bios
  • Resumé
  • Proof of residency (PDF or jpeg format of ONE of the documents listed):
    • valid driver’s license issued by state in M-AAA region
    • bill from a bank, mortgage company, utility company, credit card company, doctor, or hospital
    • bank statement
    • property tax bill
    • current valid homeowner’s renter’s policy or motor vehicle insurance card
    • current valid motor vehicle registration issued by state in M-AAA region
    • 2017 or 2018 tax filing (federal or state)
  • Work sample summary (maximum 4 pages).
  • Five work samples (- Images: jpg files; – texts: PDF format, limit eight pages total, double-spaced; Audio/Video: web addresses linking directly to work samples

Optional documents to be uploaded:

  • You may also submit up to three supplemental documents or links (any combination allowed). These might be press clips (print, audio or video), critical reviews, interviews, catalog texts, etc. (PDF, jpeg format for uploaded documents; URLs to web content for audio and video).


Applications Open
April 1, 2019

Applications Close
June 3, 2019

Notification of Awards
July 12, 2019

Grant Payment (25% of award)
July 15, 2019

Professional Development Retreat #1
August 9-11, 2019

Grant Payment (75% of award)
January 10, 2020

Professional Development Retreat #2
August 7-9, 2020

Public Project Presentations**
August-December, 2020

Final Reports Due***
December 31, 2020

**You are required to make a public presentation about your project in your community of residence.

***We are conscious of the nature of artist projects, and social practice projects in particular may require changes that would extend the timeline beyond this deadline. We do, however, want the primary project activities to occur within the time frame we have outlined above.

Review Criteria

  • Artistic Excellence and Merit: Selected artists will demonstrate excellence in artistic work and process.
  • Impact: Selected artists will demonstrate a need for the project and articulate its potential impact in the community.
  • Coherence: Selected artists will meaningfully connect their creative choices to the social change they are making.
  • Relationships: Selected artists will be able to demonstrate relevant connections and relationships with the community and any project partners and describe how the community informs and engages with the project.
  • Feasibility and Intention: Selected artists will describe a project that is realistic given the time and financial parameters for the grant.
  • Program Readiness and Collegiality: Selected artists will have the desire to share their work and advance their practice with a regional network of artists.  
  • Balanced Cohort: Panelists will consider the overall balance of the group of grantees to ensure a broad representation of communities, issues, perspectives, and experiences.