(Jackson, Miss.) ­ USA International Ballet Competition (USA IBC) has been awarded a $22,500 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC). This grant is a portion of the $1.61 million in grants the Commission will award in 2015-2016 and will be used to help with operating expenses for the USA IBC, designated the official international ballet competition within the United States by Joint Resolution of the U.S. Congress.

“The creative economy has never been more vibrant than it is today in the communities across Mississippi,” stated Dr. Tom Pearson, Executive Director at MAC. “This agency is honored to play a small role in assisting these organizations to continue their work of reinforcing the value of the arts and the role they play in creative place making and economic development.”

The USA IBC’s two-week festival of dance has transformed Jackson into an international center of dance every four years since 1979. The 2014 event drew dancers from 20 nations and attracted ticket buyers from 39 states and 12 nations. The concurrent USA IBC Dance School drew 270 students from 25 states and three nations. Former medalists will return to Jackson in July 2016 for a Reunion Gala weekend performance and master class for advanced students. As one of the oldest, most respected competitions in the world, the 11th USA IBC will be held June 9-24, 2018. Throughout each school year, the USA IBC provides CityDance, a program of free ballet instruction for approximately 65 Jackson Public Schools students.

The Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, serves the residents of the state by providing grants that support programs to enhance communities; assist artists and arts organizations; promote the arts In Mississippi and celebrate Mississippi’s cultural heritage. Established in 1968, the Mississippi Arts Commission is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Endowment for the Arts at the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and other private sources. The agency serves as an active supporter and promoter of arts in community life and in arts education.

For information from the Mississippi Arts Commission, contact Susan Liles, 601-359-6031, or sliles@arts.ms.gov.

About USA International Ballet Competition

The USA International Ballet Competition is presented under the auspices of the International Theatre Institute, International Dance Committee, of UNESCO and is the official international ballet competition for the United States, as designated by a Joint Resolution of the U. S. Congress. The competition and its founder, Thalia Mara, were named American Masterpieces by the National Endowment for the Arts through the Mississippi Arts Commission.