The MAP Fund Awards Over $1.2 Million to Groundbreaking Performance Projects

The Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Fund, administered by Creative Capital, supports artists, ensembles, producers and presenters whose contemporary performance work embodies a spirit of exploration and deep inquiry. I’m so proud to say that today the MAP Fund announced—for the 24th consecutive year!—a roster of grantee projects that will make anyone interested in contemporary performance swoon.

Thanks to the generous financial (not to mention moral) support of our funders, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MAP is supporting 41 projects this year, with $1,200,000 in cash grants. This is the highest amount MAP has ever had the privilege of distributing, with the average grant at $30,000 (up from $25,000), and typically accounting for 30 percent of a project’s budget.

Before a single artist even sets foot on a stage, there’s so much to applaud in these works. Reading through the project descriptions one can’t help but be inspired by the courage and tenacity of contemporary performance makers all across the country. Issues that can seem paralyzing when encountered in a headline are here approached with a subtlety and humanity that leave little room for despair.

I think of Susan Narucki’s San Diego-based project, Cuatro Corridos, which is using music and poetry to look at human trafficking across the U.S.–Mexican border. Or Kamala Sankaram and Susan Yankowitz’s new work, The Thumbprint of Mukhtar Mai, which will make an opera of the story of the first woman in Pakistan to bring her rapists to justice through trial.

Along with the strong human-rights strain in works this year, there’s also (and always) the fanciful. The Rude Mechs, for example, will create a staged “field guide to life,” teaching audiences how to best “wake up, bathe or cross the street.” Knowing the addictively funny and deeply humane sensibility of this Austin-based company, I’m guessing the mundane is an invitation to the extraordinary.

Or how about Jim Findlay’s new work, preempting its critics (one might say) by creating a literal dream play, during which the audience is encouraged to fall in and out of sleep!

Seen as a whole, the grantee projects are a wild ride through every conceivable terrain. If you were to attend every one of MAP’s supported projects this year, you’d sing about navigational techniques (in French!) in Seattle, you’d play musical instruments embedded in the landscape in Sonoma, and you’d peek into police files on unsolved murders at the LAPD. You’d travel down the Mississippi Delta on a Juke boat by way of Minneapolis, and while in the Twin Cities, you’d attend a “radical ecological melodrama.” You’d hop a plane to Alaska and attend a workshop on fish-skin lantern making, before heading to the East Village to trace back the ancient origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its first, heartbreaking gesture. Reader, you would only be starting your journey.

No matter where you live or how much you travel, whether you’re a veteran performance goer or a vaguely curious couch potato, I hope you’ll dip into these extraordinary offerings. We at MAP believe these works have the power to change the world. That’s why we’re so excited to support them. Join us! Join them! Enjoy!

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