Regional organization offers grants for the arts

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Dancers at Perpetual Motion Dance, which previously received a grant from the Mid-America Art Alliance. (Garett Fisbeck)

Perhaps even more than censorship advocates and the moral majority, the greatest enemy to many artists has to be the day job. To work all day and then come home to create masterworks would wear down even the most dedicated virtuoso, something the people behind Mid-America Arts Alliance (MAAA) more than understand.

A regional arts organization that encompasses Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas, the MAAA stands behind its mission statement of “more art for more people.” By offering the Artistic Innovations grant to both artists and arts organizations, MAAA allows organizations the opportunity to not only provide professional development but also be a part of traveling exhibitions.

The grant, which can be up to $15,000 per project, is currently looking for Oklahoma applicants. The deadline is Friday.

“It’s a program that’s really designed to help artists and art organizations with the creation of new work to help them take it to a new audience,” Mary Kennedy, CEO of MAAA, said. “It’s really hard to find money for artists and arts organizations. It’s not an area where you see a lot of state arts agencies providing support.”

Kennedy believes that, in addition to providing production support, the grant also allows artists to become more professional by giving them the opportunity to tour beyond their home community.

Past Oklahoma success stories include Romy Owens’ An Imagined Otherhood installation, participation in the Native American New Play Festival and the upcoming Perpetual Motion Dance project Rebound, scheduled to premiere this May.

Kennedy considers a recent Perpetual Motion Dance piece one of MAAA’s greatest Oklahoma achievements.

“Two years ago, Perpetual Motion Dance applied for a project, and it allowed that company and the choreographer to create new work and produce it in Oklahoma City,” Kennedy said. “Our staff had a chance to see that work, and we invited them to come up to Kansas City to perform. It was so stunning and so gorgeous. They did such a great job. But the thing that really got me is I can remember looking around the outdoor venue and there were so many people packed in there they were standing on top of their cars just to be able to see the stage.”

With the deadline looming, artists and organizations are encouraged to go to MAAA’s website, maaa.org, to fill out the application and complete a letter of inquiry.


Print headline: Artistic freedom, Mid-America Arts Alliance offers artists the chance to concentrate on creating.

Louis Fowler

This article was written by an Oklahoma Gazette contributor. To reach an editor, please email jchancellor@okgazette.com with this story's headline in your subject line.

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