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State Department Exchange Programs

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs offers grants for programs that support exchanges and build relationships between U.S. nonprofit organizations and cultural groups abroad.

Orchestras with plans to travel internationally should take note of an opportunity for indirect support from the State Department, and consider contacting a U.S. Embassy abroad to discuss a potential proposal. The Arts Envoy Program enables U.S. embassies to present American performing art and artists as a means to engage foreign audiences and provide insight into American culture and values via workshops, performances, and mentor opportunities in programs that range from 5 days to 6 weeks. Individuals and groups are selected by U.S. embassies in collaboration with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Periodically, the State Department will release a call for proposals, providing opportunities for U.S. nonprofit organizations to receive grants to implement exchange programs to foster artistic excellence or support professional development of foreign participants, all while cultivating mutual understanding and collaboration with other countries. Among the range of eligible activities are performing arts and arts education, and a key component of any program is reciprocity, as exchanges are intended to foster a sense of common interests and common values. Learn about various arts-related grant opportunities under the “Arts and Culture” Special Focus Area on Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website.

Cultural Diplomacy Opportunity: Musicians May Apply Now

Orchestra musicians interested in participating in international cultural diplomacy should take note of two application deadlines at the U.S. Department of State. American Music Abroad is currently accepting applications for a virtual 2021-2022 season until January 25, 2021. Applicants should demonstrate artistic integrity, musical ability, knowledge of music in American history and culture, Music Business strategies and a strong commitment to community and education programming. Find information about this virtual season, deadlines, and application criteria online.

Another opportunity is OneBeat, which has postponed its regularly scheduled fall application due to COVID-19. OneBeat brings together emerging musical leaders from around the world to collaboratively create original work and to develop a global network of civically engaged music initiatives. Interested musicians can learn more online.

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