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The nation's first Regional Arts Organization

In 1972, civic leaders from four Midwestern states came together to create an organization that would improve access to arts and creativity for people in the mid-America region. They believed that the arts could have greater reach and impact through collaborative partnerships. Out of their initial collaboration, Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) emerged and developed as the first regional arts organization in the country.

For 50 years, M-AAA has empowered artists and arts organizations to enrich the cultural and creative life in its region of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and beyond. M-AAA’s first initiatives included touring artists from the St. Louis Symphony, Joffrey Ballet, and others in its region and organizing its first traveling exhibition. 

Today, M-AAA continues to award funds for innovative art, develop and tour exhibitions, and offer professional development—all to open more cultural experiences, start more conversations, spark creativity, make more connections, and bring more art to more people. 

In its 50 years, M-AAA has awarded more than $51 million in grants to more than 18,000 artists and cultural organizations, and engaged nearly 83 million children and adults in meaningful art experiences. 

Celebrating 50 Years

Mid-America Arts Alliance | 50 Years
In 1972, Mid-America Arts Alliance was founded as the nation's first Regional Arts Organization.

Celebrating Those Who Inspire Us

Strengthening the Arts through Strong Partnerships

As a Regional Arts Organization, M-AAA works closely in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the state arts agencies in our six-state region: Arkansas Arts Council, Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, Missouri Arts Council, Nebraska Arts Council, Oklahoma Arts Council, and Texas Commission on the Arts.

Today, M-AAA is one of six RAOs; the others are Arts Midwest, Mid Atlantic Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), South Arts, and the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF).

M-AAA is the only RAO to have received funding from all three of our nation’s cultural agencies—National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Mid-America Arts Alliance Over the Years
In 2015, we celebrated fifty years of the National Endowment for the Arts with this video.