International Connections Fund Past Grants
November 2012 | Article | International Connections Fund, Culture, Equity, and the Arts in Chicago


DanceWorks Chicago – $35,000 for an exchange with Germany. DanceWorks and the German company will create a new collaborative dance piece that they will perform in both countries as well as participate in joint classes, rehearsals, and professional development.   

eighth blackbird – $40,000 for a music exchange with Hungary. The companies will create and two new contemporary music pieces, one by a European composer and one by an American composer, and perform them in Budapest and Chicago.

Ensemble Dal Niente – $35,000 for a music exchange with Panama. The Ensemble will work with the emerging new music community in Latin America and will perform a new piece composed by an early career Latin American artist in Panama and Chicago.

Experimental Sound Studio – $10,000 to support an exchange with China in which two sound artists, one from Chicago and one from China, will present work, conduct workshops, and create new sound projects for exhibition.

Field Museum – $45,000 to support an artistic exchange with the Philippines. Drawing on The Field’s collection, artists from both countries will create 12 new works of visual art and share them with audiences in both communities.

Fifth House Ensemble –$40,000 for a music exchange with Israel and Germany. Participants will create a suite of newly composed concert works that combine Jewish Sephardic, bluegrass and experimental music; they will perform the work in Germany and Chicago.

Green Star Movement – $50,000 to create and install four murals, three in Brazil’s favelas and one on Chicago’s South Side.

Kuumba Lynx – $50,000 for an exchange between Chicago and Malaysian youth, who will create a new performance piece that includes dance, spoken word, and other art forms.

Natya Dance Theatre – $50,000 to co-create a theatrical dance piece with an Indonesian dance company that will be performed in Chicago and Indonesia.

Walkabout Theater Company – $35,000 for a theater exchange with the United Kingdom to create and perform two theatrical pieces, share training and administrative practices, and provide public workshops.

Window to the World Communications, Inc./WFMT – $50,000 for an artistic exchange with New Zealand to create a 13-part radio series of documentaries and podcasts that explore the influence indigenous cultures and folk traditions have had on classical and contemporary music.



American Theater Company$7,000 for an artistic exchange with Glasgow, Scotland that will add an international perspective to a new play focused on public housing.

Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago $25,000 for a new choral piece inspired by Native American cultures, to be written and performed through an exchange with young people in Canada and Alaska.

Chicago Human Rhythm Project$45,000 for intensive artistic residencies in Chicago, Brazil, and Argentina, which will include classes for youth in American tap, public concerts, and the creation of new, collaborative work.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic$50,000 for Cuban and Philharmonic musicians to perform a new composition in Chicago and Cuba.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras$50,000 for a joint premier performance by youth symphonies in Chicago and China of a new piece of music written for Western and Eastern instruments.

Clinard Dance Theatre$20,000 for an exchange with a contemporary dance company in India to create new dance pieces, one for each company.

Deeply Rooted Productions$40,000 to support a multi-year residency with a contemporary dance company in South Africa and participation in the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance festival.

Facets Multi-Media, Inc. – $40,000 for a collaboration with indigenous Brazilian filmmakers to produce social issue documentary films that highlight communities under pressure in both Brazil and the United States.

Guild Complex$32,000 to host exiled Middle Eastern poets in Chicago to discuss issues of freedom of speech and then to support a group of Chicago writers to bring these discussions to an international literature festival.

League of Chicago Theatres$20,000 to give Chicago area theatre companies an opportunity to connect with visiting artists and learn about theatre in other parts of the world through workshops and other coordinated activities. 

MAKE Literary Productions$25,000 to organize a live event in Chicago and a live event in Mexico City, combining many art forms and focusing on the subject of translation.

Northlight Theatre$15,000 for an artistic exchange with Ireland and co-production of a new work that will premiere in Chicago and then at the Galway Arts Festival.

Old Town School of Folk Music$48,000 for an exchange of music faculty with a conservatory in Turkey. Each organization will share its music and culture with the other's students and communities.

Same Planet Different World$47,000 for a collaboration with a contemporary dance company in Israel to jointly develop and premiere a new piece of work.

The International Contemporary Ensemble$40,000 for a musical exchange with Japan. The visiting artists will perform a new concerto and present educational workshops for Japanese music students.

Theater Oobleck$25,000 for a collaboration with El Circo Nacional de Puerto Rico, to co-write and produce a new show with premieres in Chicago and San Juan.

Third Coast Percussion$10,000 for an exchange of Chicago and German percussion artists, who will perform a new work before traveling to Germany to participate in the first Lübeck International Percussion Festival.

Trap Door Productions$20,000 for an artistic exchange with a French director to produce Albert Camus' "The Just," which will be presented in Chicago and France.



  • Chicago a cappella – $18,500 in support of a musical and cultural exchange between artistic director Jonathan Miller and composer, choral director, and conductor Jorge Cordoba Valencia, a premier choral composer and director in Mexico.
  • Chicago Cultural Alliance – $40,000 for the cultural exchange of representatives of the Alliance’s Swedish American Museum, Chinese-American Museum, and Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art with ethnic museums in their home countries. 
  • Contratiempo – $20,000 to collaborate with the bilingual alternative culture magazine Humanize, based in Madrid, Spain.  Each will contribute to the other’s publication.
  • Every House Has a Door – $32,500  to expand a Bristol, UK performance piece to include material developed from the Randolph Street Gallery Archive, held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, through artist and performer residencies.
  • Fulcrum Point New Music Project – $50,000 to support the collaborative creation of a new work fusing western classical and Indian classical music by Fulcrum Point, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, composer Param Vir, Fulcrum Point Artistic Director Stephen Burns, and sarod virtuoso, Soumik Datta.
  • Global Girls – $45,000 in support of a cross-cultural residency.  Girls from the South Side will share their techniques in using the performing arts to help learn new skills with students of Kattaikkutte Sangam, a residential performing arts school outside of Chennai, India.
  • Hedwig Dances – $50,000 for a collaborative exchange with DanzAbierta dance company of Havana, Cuba to jointly choreograph two dances that will be performed in both countries.
  • Latinos Progresando – $40,000 to establish an ongoing cross-cultural exchange between Chicago’s Little Village and Centro Cultural Bacaanda arts organization in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The experience will be developed into a theater piece.
  • Live the Spirit Residency – $45,000 to support a jazz education and composition exchange with London-based artist education and development group Tomorrow’s Warriors who will perform two specially commissioned original works at the Englewood Jazz Festival in Chicago and the Lively Up Festival in London.
  • portoluz – $50,000 in support of an exchange and performances of son jarocho music in Chicago, Berwyn, and Cicero between musicians from Chicago and Veracruz, Mexico.
  • Puerto Rican Arts Alliance – $40,000 to support an ongoing international collaboration with the Puerto Rican Philharmonic Orchestra and Quique Domenech, a master musician and teacher of the cuatro, a traditional instrument of Puerto Rico.
  • Silk Road Rising – $50,000 for collaboration with the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University in Beirut to translate, adapt, and present a staged reading by Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannus.
  • threewalls – $22,000 to jointly curate a series of exhibitions with Or Gallery Vancouver and Or Gallery Berlin highlighting visual artists and work from the three cities.



  • Aguijon Theater Company – A grant of $24,000 to develop a show in Cartagena, Colombia, and to showcase the work of three Spanish-language, Caribbean playwrights in Chicago
  • Chicago Humanities Festival – A $45,000 grant to collaborate with the Edinburgh-based Imaginate Festival to share programming and marketing approaches and exchange original theatrical productions that will be presented at the 2013 festivals in Chicago and Edinburgh
  • Chicago Jazz Philharmonic – A $30,000 grant in support of a multi-year conductor and composer residency and exchange with Metropol Orkest in the Netherlands
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater – A grant of $50,000 to participate in the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad with an original, hip hop interpretation of Othello that will be featured at the Globe Theatre’s Globe to Globe Festival
  • DanceWorks Chicago – A grant of $50,000 to adapt a DanceWorks production for a Mexico audience in collaboration with a dance group and a youth orchestra from Mexico City
  • Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance – A $50,000 grant to bring together artists and youth from the Alliance, Chicago West Community Music Center, and two community-based organizations in Brazil to collaborate on a series of art projects and performances by and for residents of low-income housing complexes in the Sao Paolo region of Brazil
  • International Contemporary Ensemble Foundation, Inc. – A grant of $50,000 in support of a collaboration between its musicians, Chicago-based composer Marcos Balter, and four emerging Brazilian composers to create and present four new contemporary music compositions in Chicago and cities in Brazil
  • Links Hall – A $20,000 grant for a performance series that will present original multi-disciplinary art work from emerging visual and performance artists from Chicago and Havana, Cuba
  • Lucky Plush – A $45,000 grant in support of contemporary dance and movement performances and workshops carried out in collaboration with three dance organizations in New Zealand
  • Luna Negra Dance Theater – A grant of $50,000 for a collaboration with OtraDanza dance company in Alicante, Spain
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – A grant of $50,000 for the theatrical adaptation of a short story by Mexican writer Juan Rolfo in collaboration with Cuban theater company Teatro Buendia, the Goodman Theatre, and Northwestern University’s Theatre and Interpretation Center
  • The Seldoms – A $40,000 grant for a dance exchange with WCdance company in Taiwan


October 2009

These grants, totaling $280,000, are the sixth and final set of awards from the MacArthur Foundation's Chicago International Connections Fund.

  • Chicago Moving Company: A grant of $15,000 will support a month-long residency for company members at the University of Culture in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia, where they will perform and teach modern dance.
  • House Development Corporation (Firehouse Community Arts Center): A grant of $50,000 to improve race relations and cross-cultural understanding in Chicago's Lawndale neighborhood by sending African-American and Latino youth to the University of Veracruz in Mexico to learn about the connections between African and Mexican cultures.
  • Korean American Resource and Cultural Center: A grant of $40,000 will support an exchange between members of Il Kwa Nori, a musical troupe that performs traditional Korean folk percussion, and master artists in South Korea to teach, improve musical and performance skills, and learn how to use this art form for community outreach and education.
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation: A grant of $50,000 will support an exchange between community development leaders from Chicago and Russia to share expertise about public/private partnerships for community and economic development.
  • Options for Youth: A $50,000 grant will support an exchange program between members of Options for Youth and social service organizations in Guanajuato, Mexico, to share expertise and best practices in delaying second pregnancies among adolescent mothers.
  • Quad Communities Development Corporation: A grant of $50,000 will support a week-long study tour of London's Brixton neighborhood by a Quad Communities delegation to learn practices that have transformed Brixton into a vibrant mixed income and multi-racial community.
  • The Seldoms: A grant of $25,000 will support an exchange program between members of the Chicago contemporary dance company and the Isadora International Festival of Contemporary Dance in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, to teach classes and choreograph a dance work.


July 2009

These grants, totaling $206,000, are the fifth set of awards from the MacArthur Foundation's International Connections Fund.

  • Chicago Human Rhythm Project: A grant of $40,000 will support a five-week tour to China, where the Project will present 216 master classes and perform 20 concerts in nine cities.
  • Free Street Theater: A grant of $25,000 will support an exchange program with Makhampon Theatre Company in Chiang Dao, Thailand, to share experiences in using performance art to mediate conflicts and improve relationships among different communities.
  • Facets Multimedia: A grant of $36,000 to enable international dialog between 20 high school age filmmakers and film critics from Illinois and 20 youth producers of media from India, Italy, Korea, and French-speaking Canada.
  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago: A grant of $40,000 will support artistic collaborations with Holland's Nederlands Dans Theatre and Israel's Batsheva Dance Company.
  • National Museum of Mexican Art: A grant of $40,000 will allow the Museum to bring speakers from Mexico to Chicago to participate in five roundtables in partnership with local universities as part of the Year of Mexico in Chicago, a city initiative to advance residents' understanding of Mexico.
  • TUTA Theatre Company: A grant of $25,000 will support collaboration between TUTA and the National Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, to stage the Balkan premiere of Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul.

While the 2011 Fund is solely focused on exchanges and collaborations betweenChicago arts and culture organizations and their counterparts abroad, the 2008-2010 Fund included all Chicago-based grantees of the MacArthur Foundation. View grantees under the former Fund.


April 2009

These grants, totaling $200,000, are the fourth set of awards from the MacArthur Foundation's International Connections Fund:

  • Urban Gateways: A grant of $50,000 will support an exchange between arts educators in Chicago and Tanzania to promote literacy, creative self-expression, and critical thinking among youth.
  • Chicago Chamber Musicians: A grant of $10,000 will help support a special performance of Strange News, a multimedia musical production by a Norwegian composer about child soldiers in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Anima, Young Singers of Great Chicago: A grant of $50,000 will support the organization's tour to Spain and Morocco to encourage greater international understanding through music.
  • Redmoon Theater: A grant of $45,000 will help support Firehouse, a community arts project and performance about fire stations in County Donegal, Ireland. The three-year effort will involve travel between Chicago and Ireland for research; the work will be performed in Ireland and in Chicago.
  • Erie Neighborhood House: A grant of $45,000 will enable board members, lead staff, and key community partners to take part in a study tour of Guanajuato, Mexico, the region of origin of many of Chicago's Mexican immigrants, to better understand the needs of the organization's local clients.


January 2009

  • Community Justice for Youth Institute: A grant of $50,000 will help support an exchange between juvenile justice advocates in Chicago and South Africa so they can learn from each other's strategies to rehabilitate youth offenders.
  • Concert Dance, Inc.: A grant of $50,000 will help support an exchange program between the contemporary dance company and the Department of Music and Dance of Nanjing Normal University in China for performances, lectures, and classes.
  • Latinos Progresando in partnership with Chicago Youth Boxing Club: A grant of $45,000 will enable youth and staff to visit a rural community in the central state of Guanajuato, Mexico that has been experiencing high levels of emigration. Chicago-area youth will engage members of a youth group in Guanajuato in a theatric exploration of immigration issues through Latinos Progresando's Teatro Americano theatre group. Youth from Chicago Youth Boxing Club will conduct workshops in boxing, health and fitness, and leadership development, as well as equip a new fitness facility in partnership with the local community.
  • Logan Square Neighborhood Association: A grant of $45,000 will support an exchange between parents, artists, and educators in Chicago and in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Mexico, Hidalgo, and Puebla.
  • ShawChicago Theatre Company: A grant of $50,000 will support the organization's participation in the Annual Selcuk University International Theater Festival in Konya, Turkey in March.


October 2008

  • Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM): A grant of $15,000 will help support the organization's participation at the "Insolent Noise Festival" in Pisa, Italy, in December.
  • Chicago Zoological Society: A $50,000 grant will help the Brookfield Zoo launch a conservation leadership development program between teenagers in Chicago and the South American nation of Guyana.
  • The Goodman Theatre: A $30,000 grant will support the newly established Eugene O'Neill festival featuring international productions of his work from Holland and Brazil.
  • Hooked on Drums: A $15,000 grant will support workshops for 40 Chicago youth with master drummer Billy Nankouma Konate of Guinea.
  • Kalapriya Foundation: A $25,000 grant will help Kalapriya support the Chicago-area and Illinois portion of a national tour of Rupayan, a world-renowned musical ensemble from Rajasthan in northern India.
  • National Museum of Mexican Art: A $50,000 grant will support artist exchanges between Chicago-area artists and artisans and those from the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca resulting in traveling exhibits, public discussions, and educational programs that will be held at the Museum and in institutions in Mexico.
  • Old Town School of Folk Music: A $50,000 grant will help establish the Folk Arts Exchange Program. Teaching artists from Mexico, Russia, and India will teach and perform at the School, while Chicago faculty will travel to do the same at institutions in each of those countries.
  • Puerto Rican Arts Alliance: A $25,000 grant will help expand the Taino Project, which teaches Chicago Public Schools students about the culture and history of indigenous people of the Caribbean by allowing Kelvyn Park High School students to travel to Puerto Rico to learn from anthropologists and archaeologists about historical and culture sites on the island.


July 2008

  • Art Institute of Chicago: A grant of $40,000 will support a cultural exchange with Nigerian scholars and dignitaries for the Institute's exhibition, Benin-Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria. Scholars will participate in lectures and performances at the exhibition's only North American venue.
  • Chicago Children's Choir: A grant of $40,000 will support the Choir's 55 singers and nine staff members as they represent Chicago on a summer tour of the Republic of Korea.
  • Chicago Human Rhythm Project: A grant of $50,000 will support an exchange with the Beijing Contemporary Music Institute's dance ensemble and the China Performing Arts Agency to allow 14 dancers to attend CHRP's Chicago summer festival of tap, Rhythm World.
  • Facets Multimedia: A grant of $50,000 will support Media Bridge: Global Exchanges in Youth Filmmaking, a curating and screenwriting initiative for 13 youth ages 15 to 19 from Chicago and 13 youth from India, Mexico, Russia, Sri Lanka, Ghana, and Portugal.
  • Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights: A grant of $45,000 will support leaders from five lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations operating in global areas of conflict and oppression — Guatemala, Nigeria, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, and Iraq — to participate in a Human Rights and Organizational Leadership Development Fellowship in Chicago.
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporations: A grant of $42,500 will help the Chicago Sunday Parkways Stakeholders Committee, which includes representatives of five New Communities Program neighborhoods, connect with civic leaders in Ecuador to learn about efforts to better use public space to promote health, civic engagement, and economic development.
  • Next Theatre Company: A grant of $7,500 will allow collaboration with theater colleagues in the Czech Republic to develop a world-premiere adaptation of War with the Newts based on Karel Capek's 1936 novel. The play will premiere in Chicago during the winter of 2009.
  • Pegasus Players: A grant of $50,000 will support the expansion of the Global Voices program, which uses theater arts and language to increase cross-cultural understanding among Chicago high-school students and their peers around the world.
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