Cultural Exchange (Visual Arts)


To help ensure that the excellence, diversity and vitality of the arts in the United States are represented at international visual and performing arts festivals.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Deleted 04/29/2005 (Program ended)
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Project Grants.
Program Accomplishments
The Festivals Fund supports a number of official U.S. artists at from three to five international biennials each year. In addition, another three to five self-curated biennials receive grant support.
Public Law 87-256, as amended, 22 U.S.C. 2451 et seq.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applications are accepted from nonprofit museums, galleries, artists cooperatives, or independent curators. Applications are not accepted from commercial galleries. Applicants should not have kinship or close personal ties to proposed artists.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Proposed artists must be working at a professional level as painters, sculptors, photographers, printmakers, or working with electronic media, installations or traditional arts.
All applications must include resumes of curators and artists.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Curators are invited to contact project coordinator Tom Carmichael. Telephone: (202) 619-4809. Fax: (202) 619-6315. Email: TCARMICHAEL@PD.STATE.GOV, to discuss planned project and clarify details of venues, on-site coordination, budget, publication, etc. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
Curators wishing to submit a proposal for an international visual arts festivals should contact the project coordinator described in 091 Preapplication Coordination, or request an application from: The Fund for U. S. Artists, Arts International, 251 Park Avenue South, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10010-7302. Telephone: (212) 674-9744, ext. 107. Fax: (212) 674-9092. Website: WWW.IIE.ORG.
Award Procedure
Letters are sent periodically to curators describing upcoming festivals for which an official U.S. representation is sought. The event is described, giving parameters of media, scale, format, etc. required by event organizers. The letters also describe the application process, required format, theme, budget and deadlines. After receipt, the proposals are reviewed by the Federal Advisory Committee for International Exhibitions (FACIE), a standing committee of the National Endowment for the Arts consisting of seven curators and directors of contemporary art museums and galleries. The committee recommends the proposal it thinks would best represent the U.S. at a particular event.
Deadlines vary depending on receipt of information from event organizers concerning opening dates and themes. There are normally two deadlines each year, usually in the Spring and Fall.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Six weeks.
How are proposals selected?
Eligible proposals are reviewed based on the following criteria: (A) artistic excellence; (B) extent to which proposal represents the vitality and diversity of contemporary U.S. visual arts; (C) suitability of the exhibition for the specific venue; (D) ability of applicant to carry out the proposed exhibition; (E) record of professional activity and achievement by individuals/organizations involved.
How may assistance be used?
The Fund makes grants to independent curators and nonprofit museums and galleries that have been recommended by a peer committee following a competitive solicitation nationwide from some 400 curators of contemporary art. Curators and artists must be mindful of the diplomatic context under which U.S. exhibitions are presented given their sponsorship by the U.S. Embassy. All exhibitions and accompanying publications should advance mutual understanding and respect between the U.S. and the host country.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reports are required from grantees of the Fund within 90 days after artworks have been returned to lenders and bills have been paid.
Subject to audit.
As prescribed by grant terms.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
The Fund is supported by the Department of State and the National Endowment for the Arts -- and two foundations -- the Rockefeller Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. There is no matching requirement. However applications which exceed the amount budgeted for that project by the Fund must describe how additional funds will be raised. The Fund looks for evidence of an institution's commitment in terms of contributed salaries and infrastructure support.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Not applicable.
Headquarters Office
Exhibitions are managed by the Cultural Programs Division, Department of State, Washington, DC 20547. Contact: Tom Carmichael. Telephone: (202) 619-4809.
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Grants) FY 01 $450,000; FY 02 est $450,000; and FY 03 est $450,000.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Each project is budgeted by the Fund at a different level, depending on the scale of the event, expected local costs, etc. These range from $60,000 for the Cuenca (Ecuador) Bienal, to $300,000 for the Venice Biennale.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Consult websites of Department of State at WWW.USIA.GOV or Arts International at WWW.ARTSINTERNATIONAL.ORG; or write or phone Arts International, 251 Park Avenue South, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10010-7302. Telephone: (212) 674-9744 ext. 107. Fax: (212) 674-9092.
Examples of Funded Projects
For 2000: Anticipated events include grants to the Saaremaa Bienaal in Riga, Latvia, the Havana Bienal, the Kwangju (Korea) Biennale, and the Sydney Biennale. For 2001: The Fund will support U.S. artists at the Venice Biennale, Cairo Biennial, and the Cuenca (Ecuador) Bienal.


Federal Grants Resources