A fair criticism of the International Bluegrass Music Association that has been leveled for many years is that, despite having the word “international” in its name, the organization is in effect fully dominated by artists and business people in the United States. But a new program announced this afternoon could do a great deal to change that impression.
The IBMA International Band Performance Grant has been created to provide cash awards that will assist one or more non-US acts to travel to Raleigh, NC to participate in the annual World of Bluegrass convention. Initial funding for this new grant is being supplied by recent outgoing IBMA Executive Director, Paul Schiminger, and his wife Alys, who will match donations received up to $50,000 for this effort.
Though no longer actively involved in the daily management of the Association, Paul, and Alys, continue to care deeply about the membership and the wider bluegrass world, and stand ready to offer this financial assistance.
“We remain committed to helping the IBMA and the bluegrass community we care so much about, and we know serving the international constituents effectively has always been logistically and financially challenging. We hope by pledging our matching gift to this exciting new program, the community will donate generously to make it a game-changing step forward to empower artists all over the world!”
Donations are being accepted now online, and if IBMA members and others can raise the full $50,000, the Schimingers’ matching donation will give them a nice, round $100,000 to launch the Grant.
The grants will be overseen by an IBMA-appointed International Band Steering Committee, who will both select those who will be offered financial assistance to come to Raleigh, and to help establish some touring opportunities here on either sides of the World of Bluegrass, scheduled this year from September 27 through October 1.
Though not stated in today’s announcement, we presume that these grants will be given to artists who have been selected to showcase in the Bluegrass Ramble at WOB, but would have financial difficulty making the trip to the US to take advantage of the opportunity.
Those who have more questions about the program are invited to contact Pat Morris, current Executive Director, by email.
Information about applying for these International Band Performance Grants will be shared in the near future.