09/03/2019 MAPstaff
A performer wears a blue-ish grey t-shirt while arching their upper torso to the left. Their hands are clasped and the elbows are open and bent, which creates a shadow around their face.

MAP serves contemporary artists, of all abilities and backgrounds, whose work presents an intellectual and/or aesthetic challenge to canon and convention and, by extension, to ableist, cis, hetero-normative, white/Western cultural dominance. MAP was founded on the principle that exploration drives human progress, no less in art than in science or medicine, and that society’s capacity to understand and improve complex social and political dynamics is achieved through such inquiry. MAP supports projects that embody this search and is particularly interested in those that question, disrupt, and complicate notions of social and cultural hierarchies. 


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, in over 30 years MAP has disbursed more than $30 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 by conservative estimates have reached over two million 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.  


  • In April 2016, MAP became an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization, allowing MAP to pursue new opportunities for growth and advancement. Learn about MAP’s Board Members here
  • In 2016, MAP became a proud member of ArtsPool, a cooperative framework for nonprofit arts management. 


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. Their research involved interviews with MAP grantees, panelists, and administrative staff, as well as with field experts who had no formal relationship to the Fund. 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, that the Foundation funds to support the creation and presentation of new work in dance, theater and jazz. Of the 223 respondents, 99 (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. One artist said, “The Duke grants have given me the mental wherewithal to create – to stop cramming in a thousand things, and to really think, generate and then organize myself to get it performed.” Read the full report here.


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