MAP serves contemporary artists whose work presents an intellectual and/or aesthetic challenge to canon and convention and, by extension, to ableist, cis, heteronormative, white/Western cultural dominance.

ValuesOrganizational HistoryTimelineImpactLand acknowledgement

The MAP Fund honors the artist’s imagination, and believes in their unique capacity to help create a more just and vibrant society. 

The MAP Fund values racial justice and the rights of persons of all abilities and economic means to be free of harm and exclusion. We recognize that we operate in a world where inequities based on race, ability and class are rampant, systemic, and entrenched. We commit to the work of undoing those inequities as individual staff members and as an organization.

The MAP Fund values radical inclusion: we welcome any individual’s engagement with the program, regardless of age, economic means, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities, race, sexual orientation or any other element of their unique identity.

The MAP Fund values mutual respect among staff, applicants, grantees and all other stakeholders to the program. We believe that caring for the individuals with whom we come into contact is a nonnegotiable requirement of doing our work.

The MAP Fund (then known as the Multi-Arts Production Fund) was established in 1988 by The Rockefeller Foundation to support innovation and cross-cultural exploration in new works of live performance. Among the longest running programs in arts philanthropy, MAP has disbursed more than $34 million to thousands of groundbreaking projects in playwriting, choreography, music composition, interdisciplinary collaboration, and ensemble, site-specific, and community-based performance. MAP-supported works have been undertaken in hundreds of cities across the United States as well as internationally, and have reached millions of audience members.

Over time, the organization has expanded to include new approaches to arts advocacy, including the Scaffolding for Practicing Artists (SPA) program, the Equity in the Panel Room initiative, and multiple research initiatives.  

Established as a Rockefeller Foundation program in 1988, MAP is among the longest lived grantmakers in arts philanthropy in the United States. From 2001 to 2016, MAP was a fiscally sponsored affiliate of Creative Capital Foundation. In 2016 MAP transitioned from sponsored program to independent organization, and now operates under the leadership of its own governing board. The organization currently has four full-time staff and four part-time staff, and is a proud member of ArtsPool Cooperative.

MAP has been the subject of three outside evaluations. In 1999, the research firm of Adams and Goldbard undertook a broad assessment of the needs of the performance field and the specific ways in which MAP had or had not met those needs. The report concluded: “MAP is widely perceived as having made great strides toward achieving its initial aims. [It has] taken risks in supporting emerging artists who were later recognized as major contributors to the culture.”

In 2007, Creative Capital commissioned Edward Martenson, professor of arts management at Yale School of Drama, to survey all lead artist and organization officials funded since 1989, and undertake one-to-one interviews with 25 selected grantee artists. The survey, sent out to approximately 500 individuals, elicited an astonishing 50 percent response rate. Martenson’s report similarly concluded that MAP remains a critical resource in the field.

In Spring 2014, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation commissioned Helicon Collaborative to conduct an assessment of six re-granting programs, including MAP. 44% of those surveyed had received at least one MAP grant. A number of artists recognize that the Duke-funded programs offer support for multiple phases of the artistic process, from early experimentation through production, recording and touring, and said that this systemic support has had powerful impacts on artists’ work. Read the full report here.

The MAP Fund’s office is located in the Abrons Arts Center, which is situated on the Lenape island of Manhahtaan (Mannahatta) in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland. We pay respect to the Lenape peoples, past, present, and future and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout the Lenape diaspora. We offer our care and gratitude to the land, water, and air of Lenapehoking, and are committed to resisting colonialism and imbalance with Mother Earth through the support of Indigenous artists and Indigenous artistic practices.

Banner: MAP 2021 grantee Silkroad. Photo by Aly Manji.