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Program Overview

The U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and Western Arts Alliance (WAA) are pleased to announce the second phase of this virtual international showcase opportunity for performing artists. This opportunity is part of the National Endowment for the Arts Performing Arts Discovery Program (PAD). The NEA launched the PAD program in 2015 to promote U.S. artists to international programmers, festival directors, and venue managers.

The program aims to build opportunities for U.S. artists to tour internationally. Over the last five years, PAD has pursued this goal through showcasing, networking, and exchange. When international touring is limited, the 2021 PAD program will sustain these efforts with virtual and online strategies to ensure U.S. artists have the resources and relationships to tour internationally when travel is restored. The primary objective is the creation of 30 professionally produced live performance videos for international markets.  In Phase 1, our peer adjudication panel selected ten artists for the program.

In Phase 2, we’re selecting 20 additional artists and ensembles, all 30 groups will be featured on a dedicated platform and included in selected international online showcases. If selected there are two options for producing new material to be featured in the showcase:

  1. Artist/ensembles that lack the financial resources, equipment, or expertise to record a high-quality video themselves can utilize PAD resources to self-produce a showcase video with our production team’s recording package and remote production process.
  2. Artists that have the capacity to create their own showcase may do so or engage with an audiovisual professional in their area to record and submit a video that complies with the criteria and guidelines.

In 2022, PAD will build and promote a cloud-based platform to showcase the videos to overseas programmers. After the project, the artist owns the video.

Call for Applicants

The Performing Arts Discovery Program seeks to globally amplify the breadth and depth of American cultural expression. Applications are open to all U.S.-based performing artists with readiness to tour internationally. PAD encourages those who self-identify as Black,  Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and/or LGBTQ+ to apply.

Performing artists from all traditional, contemporary, and culturally specific art forms are eligible to apply. This includes music, dance, and theatre artists/ensembles with a demonstrated capacity to tour internationally. There is no application fee to apply. Funding is not available for travel, venue rental, or ancillary costs related to recording.

  • Application Open:  November 15th, 2021 at 8:30AM PST
  • Application Close: January 28th, 2022 at 5:00PM PST (no extensions will be granted, even for technical difficulties)
  • Artist Notification: no later than March 4th, 2022

PAD will select artists by a panel review process, managed by WAA on behalf of the RAOs. The panel will be comprised of a diverse group of peers from across the country.

The WAA Office closes promptly at 5:00pm on weekdays and is not open on weekends. We recommend you contact us for assistance and submit your application well before the deadline to prevent any potential technical hiccups that may arise.

Selection Criteria

Artistic excellence - 25 Points
Does the artist/ensemble demonstrate a high level of artistry and expressiveness? Does the work convey the cultural and aesthetic  plurality of American culture to domestic and international audiences in a compelling way? (As evidenced in the work samples).

Readiness to tour - 15 Points
Do the history, experience, and promotional assets demonstrate a readiness to tour internationally? (Based on touring history, promotional assets, etc.)

Artistic merit - 10 Points
Does the artist/ensemble stretch the boundaries of their art form in new and innovative ways? (Based on the work samples and artist’s statement).

Due to the nature of this opportunity and the judging process we will not be able to provide feedback to every applicant regarding their submission during or after the judging process


Applicants must:

  • Be US-based professional performing artists;
  • Be US citizens or have permanent resident status;
  • Have an established touring history;
  • Be planning to tour work within the coming three years; and
  • Submit a complete online form by the posted deadline;


  • There is a limit of one application per artist/ensemble.
  • No more than two artists/ensembles represented by the same artist manager/agency will be recommended.

Program Requirements
Those selected to showcase must:

  • Be available to record and work with the showcase production team beginning March 2022
  • Provide or coordinate with the production team to receive and return rented recording equipment.
  • Agree to provide additional recording equipment and instruments at own expense.
  • Be responsible for all necessary licenses and permissions to perform, promote, broadcast, transmit, and/or display all elements of their performance, including without limitation elements protected by copyright, trademark, patent, rights of privacy, rights of publicity, trade secret, and contract.
  • Be responsible for any costs and arrangements related to the rental of recording space, travel, and lodging for the recording session.

Application Closes: January 28th, 2022, 5:00PM PST

Please see the application FAQs for additional information. For application support and questions please contact Makaveli Gresham, for production questions and information please contact Lucero Cortez

The Performing Arts Discovery Program is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with WESTAF, South Arts, Arts Midwest, New England Foundation for the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts, and Mid-America Arts Alliance.

WAA PAD Webpage

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