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MAP Fund Trims Red Tape for 2021 Grant Applications

The live performance grantmaker has opened this cycle to a low-maintenance lottery of previous grantees, finalists, and semifinalists.

 NEW YORK CITY: The MAP Fund, a leading supporter of original live performance projects across the United States, has instituted a new format for its 2021 grant cycle: a lottery-based process, open to artists (individuals and ensembles) responsible for the overall execution of a performance project that was funded or advanced to the final two rounds of review in 2017-2020 grant cycles. New applicants who have not been through these rounds of review or funding will not be eligible in this cycle; 50 grants will be awarded in total. The short entry form will open on Jan. 4, 2021, and will accept entries through Jan. 28, 2021.

This new approach is in response to the ongoing challenges faced by performing artists all over the country and informed by four priorities guided by MAP’s program goals: 

  • Minimize artist labor to the greatest degree possible. No lengthy narratives, work samples, or budgets are required. 
  • Suspend additional merit-based peer review for artists who have already demonstrated strong alignment with the program.
  • Increase artists’ agency by making them the direct recipient of flexible funds to support a new performance project.
  • Support research, practice, development, and creation, with emphasis on the importance of rest.

“As the art sector struggles with infrastructural disruption, economic precarity, and ongoing entrenched racism, we turn again to our practice of listening and experimentation,” said executive director Moira Brennan in a statement. “It’s resoundingly clear that artists need time and resources to figure out the sustainment of their own well-being, as well as new practices for making and sharing their work in the absence of live collaboration. By doing away with an extensive application and time-consuming selection process, we hope to assert that rest and rejuvenation are essential components to the cycles of creation.” 

This change to 2021’s grant program is one of the many ways the MAP Fund has redirected resources and shifted operations in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In early April, MAP joined forces with six other grantmakers to form Artist Relief, an initiative that offers unrestricted $5,000 emergency grants to artists in need. In June, MAP significantly expanded its 2020 grant cycle, awarding $1.3 million in grants to 171 performing artists and arts organizations—more than four times the usual number of grantees. 

In such challenging times, the MAP Fund is proud to support, celebrate, and champion performing artists who continue to transform the world in revolutionary ways. MAP is committed to intersectional anti-racism, and strives to only fund anti-oppressive project language, structures, or content. The organization has adopted an explicit equity lens in building the selection process to address structural access barriers and challenge cultural dominance in the performing arts. At the close of this grant cycle, MAP will invite comments from all of their constituents to help them formally assess the value of these changes and imagine new practices moving forward. 

Artists who have questions about whether their project advanced to the final two rounds of review may submit this project status form request. More information about eligibility, timeline, and procedure can be found on MAP’s website here.

MAP was originally established in 1988 by the Rockefeller Foundation and became an independent organization in 2016. MAP has provided over $33 million in support to more than 1,000 projects and thousands of artists within them over the past 33 years. Lead support comes from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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ADV – Billboard