News & Stories

Program News: The MAP Fund Announces 2014 Grants to 39 Extraordinary Performance Projects

April 28, 2014

For Its 25th Annual Grant Round, the MAP Fund Awards $1.5 Million to Performance Projects Across the United States

Jazz Composer Amir ElSaffar and and Playwright Nikkole Salter among first-time Grantees

Funding for 39 projects undertaken by many of America’s most vital artists working in the fields of contemporary performance was announced today by the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with additional support by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The MAP Fund, among the longest-standing nongovernment grants programs in the nation, has supported new works in performance that challenge the conventions of contemporary performance, particularly those that address issues of cultural difference in race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, generation or any other aspect of diversity since 1989.

This year, the Fund received over 900 requests for support, which were reviewed in three stages by a total of 51 artists and arts professionals from around the country. Panelists at the final stage of selection were Jenny Bilfield (President and CEO of Washington Performing Arts Society, Washington DC), Yolanda Cesta Cursach (Associate Director of Performance Programs at Museum of Contemporary Arts Chicago), Deborah Cullinan (Executive Director of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco), Darrell Jones (Performer, Choreographer, Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago), Travis Just (Composer/Musician & Co-Founder of Object Collection, NYC), Gavin Kroeber (Producer, NYC), Carla Peterson (Director of the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Tallahassee), Tanya Selvaratnam (Writer, Actor, Producer, Activist, NYC), Andrew Simonet (Artists U Founder and Director, Philadelphia), Somi (Singer/Songwriter & Founder of New Africa Live, NYC), Michèle Steinwald (Independent Dance Curator and Producer, Minneapolis), Shay Wafer (Executive Director of 651 Arts, Brooklyn).

Grantee projects will receive grants in the range of $20,000 to $40,000, plus additional funds of up to $5,000 for general operating support. Individual artists associated with these projects are also invited to take part in Creative Capital’s signature Professional Development Program. Over half of the artists involved with these projects are first-time MAP Fund grantees.

Projects will take place in San Francisco, Houston, Providence, Seattle, Chicago, Portland, Tucson, Los Angeles, and New York City, with many touring nationally and internationally and varying widely in scope. In the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s At War With Ourselves, the Kronos Quartet will join jazz luminary Terence Blanchard, poet Nikky Finney and a 500-member choir on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the dual anniversaries of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. And on a more intimate but no less urgent front, singer, composer, and performing artist Holcombe Waller will create The LGBT Requiem Mass, honoring LGBT people persecuted in the name of religion worldwide. As a group, the projects represent myriad interpretations of the MAP Fund’s core objective – to foster diversity and aesthetic daring in performance today.

“In a time when there is anxiety about the health of the performing arts, the MAP Fund is an eloquent testimonial to the massive creative and artistic energy in performance today,” said Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “We are honored to support these exemplary projects and look forward to seeing these works brought to fruition.”

Grantee Holcombe Waller adds: “As one of the only major grants available to artists creating new performance work in the US, MAP is fundamentally shaping the ongoing life of the performing arts. Without this grant, my supported project would be hard-pressed to find comparable initial funding to get off the ground. The MAP Fund continues to be a beacon of light for the new work and new ideas born everyday, funded or otherwise.”

More information about the MAP Fund is available at

About Creative Capital

Creative Capital supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel and career development services. Our pioneering approach—inspired by venture-capital principles—helps artists working in all creative disciplines realize their visions and build sustainable practices. Since 1999, Creative Capital has committed $30 million in financial and advisory support to 419 projects representing 529 artists, and our Professional Development Program has reached 7,000 artists in more than 300 communities. For more information, visit

About DDCF

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Arts Program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theatre artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. To learn more, visit

MAP Fund 2014 Grantees

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
An interdisciplinary project created by composer George Lewis, media/theater artist Catherine Sullivan, and composer/director Sean Griffin. The work is the aesthetic extension of the final chapter of George Lewis’ book about the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The A.A.C.M. and American Experimental Music. The project will develop through a process-based exploration of the book’s content in various forms, and will be realized in an experimental opera, smaller scale concert presentations, and a film installation.

Age and Beauty, Parts 2 and 3
Unique Projects on behalf of Miguel Gutierrez
The second and third installments of a queer performance project created by choreographer Miguel Gutierrez. The works will follow Age and Beauty Part 1: Mid Career Artist/Suicide Note. In Age and Beauty Part 2: Asian Beauty or The Choreographer and Her Muse, and Age and Beauty Part 3: DANCER or You Can Make Whatever The Fuck You Want But You’ll Only Tour Solos, queer theory meets an artist confronting middle age. The pieces use suicidal ideation and time looping as platforms for structural and conceptual investigation and formally function as dance performances while also reflecting Gutierrez’ long-standing commitment to interdisciplinarity by incorporating text, song, and video.

Ancient Lives
Haleakala, Inc. DBA The Kitchen
A live performance project created by playwright and director Tina Satter, and her ensemble Half Straddle. The work, which includes video mise en scene and a live choral score, will create a playful yet poignant experience considering feminist and queer concerns. The Kitchen will also host an eight-month development residency open to the public that offers a meta-view of the performance-building and dramaturgical process.

Noche Flamenca
An evening-length flamenco work developed by Artistic Director Martin Santangelo in collaboration with Lee Breuer (who will co­direct), principal dancer Soledad Barrio who will play the title role, as well as other company members. It is a complex interpretation of Sophocles’ classic work, which utilizes sets, costumes and masks designed by renowned visual artist Mary Frank.

At War With Ourselves
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
A one-hour, secular, contemporary musical oratorio for the Kronos Quartet and a 500-voice choir, with original score by jazz composer Terence Blanchard, story/libretto/spoken word by National Book Award winning poet Nikky Finney. Performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, the work is created in dual commemoration of interconnected anniversaries of the Civil Rights movement and the sesquicentennial observations of the American Civil War.

Black Man, Running
Fractured Atlas, Inc. on behalf of Working Narratives
A street theater work that incorporates storytelling created by Working Narratives. Conceived of as a series of public runs (as in a jog or footrace) and community dialogues in different U.S. cities, the performance work will address issues of race, public space, safety and democracy.

California: The Tempest
Cornerstone Theater Company
A play created by playwright Alison Carey and director Michael John Garcés utilizing Cornerstone Theater Company’s community-engaged methodology, which engages diverse and underserved communities to make professional theater productions. The work will explore themes of hunger as part of Cornerstone’s Hunger Cycle.

Decameron Carnival Cruise
Theater Oobleck
A new performance created in collaboration between Theater Oobleck's Dave Buchen and El Circo Nacional de Puerto Rico's Arturo Gaskins. The work will synthesize Oobleck's new play development methodology and El Circo's circus arts expertise, and combine the narrative sweep of a typical Oobleck show, with the philosophical concerns of El Circo: the "brain drain" of Puerto Rico’s creative class from the island.

Doggie Hamlet
Fractured Atlas, Inc. on behalf of Ann Carlson
A site-specific performance created by choreographer Ann Carlson. The work, performed by humans, a herding dog, sheep and a live chamber orchestra, will be presented in a lush green meadow. Interdisciplinary by nature, Doggie Hamlet combines contemporary dance, classic narrative structure, and elements from competitive sheep herding trials to mine the territory of human and non-human relationships and the hierarchy of domestication and different modes of knowing.

Empathy School
A new performance and film/video work by theater artist Aaron Landsman and filmmaker/installation artist Brent Green, created for a night bus ride in the country. Engaging lo- and hi-fi video and sound technologies, the work is performed by the bus driver, and is a dark, poetic story about the impact of landscape on memory, nostalgia on culture, and class-consciousness.

Fondly, Collette Richland
Elevator Repair Service Theater
A new work for the stage created by Elevator Repair Service, written in close collaboration with playwright Sibyl Kempson, and directed by John Collins. This is the first piece that ERS has devised with a living writer and is rooted in the ensemble’s mission to create new works that explore and challenge the fundamentals of live performance. The play will explore non-traditional narrative structures and upend traditional gender roles on-stage.

Four Contemplations
Community MusicWorks
A site-specific work for the Community MusicWorks Players composed by Ken Ueno that will coincide with the rededication of the ten-foot Dainichi Buddha housed at the RISD Museum in Providence. Encompassing three live performances by Ueno and CMW Players and a month-long sound installation in the museum, the project will engage diverse urban communities in contemporary music and ancient Asian art.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
A live performance created by playwright Nikkole Salter and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. The work contains an ambitious concept, which fuses a cyber-narrative about a hacker who eliminates slavery from an American History game, with an embedded online game for audiences to play on their smartphones during performances.

Glorious Ravage
Brava! for Women in the Arts
An evening-length work of music and film by San Francisco Bay Area bassist and composer Lisa Mezzacappa that features a large ensemble of celebrated musicians from the San Francisco and greater California improvisers’ communities performing new music in dialogue with visuals created by Bay Area filmmakers. The program takes as its inspiration the adventures and writings of lady explorers of the 19th century who trekked to the wildest parts of the earth, to escape, to discover, and to lose themselves.

In The Thrust Towards The Future…I Want To Leave Something Of Use
New York Live Arts on behalf of Malcolm Low, Tommy DeFrantz, Damon White
A one-hour multidisciplinary work created by Malcolm Low, Tommy DeFrantz, and Damon White. Inspired by the Great Migration of African Americans in America from 1916 to 1970, the work draws on insights from Isabel Wilkerson's book, The Warmth of Other Suns. Abstract and non-linear, In The Thrust will bring together post-modern and neo-classical African American dancers through the use of movement, text, video and original score.

Gametophyte, Inc.
A multidisciplinary, evening length meditation on the controversial white abolitionist John Brown, directed by choreographer/video artist Dean Moss with assistance from visual artist Laylah Ali. Drawing on a deep interest in the history of the man and his actions, an impassioned interview of Moss' father on the elder’s civil rights experience, and framed with the assistance of unaffected teenaged participants, the work presents a layered generational perspective on the legacy of the radical activist.

LGBT Requiem Mass
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art on behalf of Holcombe Waller
A music composition/performance created by singer, composer, and performing artist Holcombe Waller. The work will honor LGBT people persecuted - or abandoned to persecution - in the name of religion. Intended for both arts and liturgical contexts, this project will unite artists, religious congregations, arts presenters and communities seeking common ground in the global movement for LGBT safety and equality.

Made in China
Wakka Wakka Productions
A dark musical comedy created by Wakka Wakka Productions featuring over 30 puppets and masks, 7 puppeteers, and 3 musicians performing music inspired by both American and Chinese folk traditions, and animated video. The work explores the complicated relationship between the U.S. and China, specifically related to the production and consumption of goods, as examined through the lens of an unlikely relationship between an eccentric middle-aged American woman and her Chinese ex-pat neighbor.

Arizona State University – School of Film, Dance & Theatre
A new play by Richard Montoya and Sean San José, with visual design by Joan Osato. An expansion of the conceptual framework from their previous work The River, the collaborators will create an immersive platform for the play that includes a statewide community engagement project, film, media, and installation. Nogales aims to fully understand and humanize all the “players” entrapped in the endless “Tragic-comic Theater of the US/Mexico Border.”

MAPP International Productions
A full-evening performance work written by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, with visual design by Balinese shadow animator Christine Marie. The work, which blends poetic narrative, dance, music, and a visual world, will link the “beautiful game” of soccer to local and global economic hierarchies, fan behaviors, political allegiances and social practices. Drawn from extensive research in South Africa and Brazil, it is an investigation of the underpinnings of yearning democracies, the contradictory implications of the world’s most popular pastime, and Joseph’s confrontations with his own body as a figure in both the language of sport and art.

Play Ball
Forklift Danceworks
A grand civic spectacle created by choreographer Allison Orr. Rooted in a two-year creative partnership with the Astros Major League Baseball Organization, the work fuses Orr’s 15 years of ethnographic choreography with the traditions and ritualized movement of America's national pastime — baseball. Featuring Astros players as well as 500+ additional stadium staff and community members, the performance will weave together choreographed movement along with interviews, video projection, and cameos by retired star players, performed to a live original musical score in Houston’s Minute Maid Park for an audience of 20,000+.

Playhouse Follies
Abrons Art Center
An interdisciplinary work created by master puppeteer and director Basil Twist. The work will be conceived especially for the Abron’s Playhouse and will utilize its unique resources and archival materials to celebrate the rich history of its diverse artists and audiences. While the formal structure has yet to be determined, Twist will continue and even push the Playhouse’s tradition of presenting Opera, Broadway, and the avant-garde.

Predator Songstress: Dictator
Circuit Network on behalf of Joshua Kohl and Haruko Nishimura
The latest chapter of a series of portraits of imagined iconic women created by Degenerate Art Ensemble. The work examines power, transformation, and hidden phenomenon, using dance, music, mass group interaction, architectural site transformation and contemporary séance.

Back to Listing