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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

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Interchange Artist Grant

Applications Open

May 1, 2021

Application Deadline

July 5, 2021
Join us for a general information session on June 23, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.

Selection Panelist

Apply to be a selection panelist for a program of Artist Services at Mid-America Arts Alliance, a division of Professional Development.

Apply here

Eligibility

Project Information

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: virtually in October 2021 and in Kansas City, MO in July 2022.

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 issues, challenges, and opportunities.
  • 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. You will be asked to identify the primary discipline that applies to the project you are proposing.

  • Performing Arts (e.g., dance, theater, music, opera, puppetry, storytelling, playwriting, performance art, spoken word, sound 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, playwriting)
  • Visual Arts (e.g., painting, sculpture, ceramics, fiber, film screenwriting, video, media arts, photography, mixed media, wearable art, experimental)
  • Humanities 
  • Multidisciplinary

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 cope of your compensated work for that organization or educational institution.

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

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 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 be required to make a public presentation about your project within the granting period. 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 organization, 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 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.

Timeline

Applications Open
May 1, 2021

Applications Close
July 5, 2021

Notification of Awards
September 2021

Grant Payment (25% of award)
September 15, 2021

Professional Development Retreat #1
October 2021

Grant Payment (75% of award)
January 2022

Professional Development Retreat #2
July 2022

Public Project Presentations**
September – November 2022

Final Reports Due***
March 2023

**You are required to participate in one iteration of the four-part webinar series, titled “Interchange: Social Practice In Conversation,” organized by Mid-America Arts Alliance, where you will discuss the process of your project with other Interchange grantees before the end of the grant period.

***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.