The visual arts pertain to work created in 2-D by drawing, painting, digital media like graphic design, and printing. Overall, visual arts grantmaking is divided into composite pieces. There are grants for individual artists, for museums and arts organizations, and for art conservation efforts, among others. While many of IP’s listed visual arts funders conduct grantmaking on a national scale, many state funders exist who fill important gaps frequently overlook certain geographical areas. Regional and state funders focused on a specific geographical area are featured here due to the fact that their work dominates visual arts giving in their state.

All the funder profiles below are updated regularly and we add new ones often. Additionally, some grants for art history, photography, film, or humanities research may be found under Inside Philanthropy’s Higher Education or Film grants. Only paid subscribers can access these resources (subscribe here).

FUNDERS

AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY

AAS funds fellowships that improve the American people’s understanding of pre-twentieth century history.

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN

This funder makes grants to women academics and supports women and girls through activism and empowerment.

AMERICAN EXPRESS

American Express invests in visual arts organizations across the United States, but prioritizes grantmaking to six U.S. locations.

ANGELL FOUNDATION

Angell donates generously to arts nonprofits that help disadvantaged youth discover art. Arts-education programs, afterschool workshops and scholarships for aspiring art students are a few examples of what it likes to fund, but it only awards grants in California and New England. 

THE ANDERSON CENTER

The Anderson Center is an artist community in rural Minnesota that provides opportunities for residencies and retreats. It supports the visual arts in the upper Midwest.

ANNENBERG FOUNDATION

Annenberg is willing to “…take measured risks” in its fine arts grantmaking. We don’t know what the foundation considers to be risky, but at least it presents an open mind in its grantmaking.

ANONYMOUS WAS A WOMAN

Anonymous Was A Woman provides unrestricted grants to female artists over age 40, in recognition of those artists’ accomplishments, growth and quality of work. These grants are a big deal at $25,000 for unrestricted funds.

ARCADIA FUND

The Arcadia Fund supports museums, archives and universities in its visual arts grantmaking.  

ARIZONA COMMISSION ON THE ARTS

The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports arts projects and organizations within the state.

ARTSKC REGIONAL ARTS COUNCIL

ArtsKC supports arts projects and organizations within a five county region that includes Missouri and Kansas.

ARTS WRITERS

Arts Writers grants support established and emerging writers who write about visual art.

ASTRAEA LESBIAN FOUNDATION FOR JUSTICE

Astraea funds grants for lesbians and queer women, trans and gender non-conforming people, intersex people, and people of color. The foundation also supports rights organizations that advance racial, economic, and gender-related justice.

THE AWESOME FOUNDATION

The Awesome Foundation is a collection of autonomous chapters, each tasked with promoting the cause of awesome.

AYRSHIRE FOUNDATION

The foundation sees “community culture” as a vital aspect of positive change, and visual arts as a key component of community culture. But it only funds in some geographic areas. 

BANK OF AMERICA CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

Provides visuals arts for universities, art museums, performing arts, and work readiness in the arts.

BAY & PAUL FOUNDATIONS

Supports visual arts education through two funding streams, one concentrating on museum-based conservation and preservation, another on applied visual arts ed for adults and children.

LEON BLACK FAMILY FOUNDATION

Most grantseekers won't get far here, but Black is a serious collector and arts philanthropist in New York City and beyond.

BNSF RAILWAY FOUNDATION

The BNSF Railway Foundation funds various artistic and cultural institutions. 

BOGLIASCO FOUNDATION

The Bogliasco Foundation, near Genoa in Italy, provides short residencies to scholars and creative artists from all over the world.

LOUIS L. BORICK FOUNDATION

Borick funds nonprofit art organizations that increase access to arts education, art institutions, and museums.

DANIEL AND ESTRELLITA BRODSKY FAMILY FOUNDATION

This couple's foundation backs the arts in New York City, with a particular focus on Latin American art. The foundation supports major New York institutions, including the Met, MoMA and New York Botanical Garden.

BROWN FOUNDATION

The Brown Foundation supports visual arts organizations across the United States with a focus on museums.

MARGARET A. CARGILL FOUNDATION

Cargill supports a variety of arts-related projects; however, it prioritizes projects related to folk and Native American arts.

E. RHODES AND LEONA B. CARPENTER FOUNDATION

The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation invests in local art museums and galleries.

AMON G. CARTER FOUNDATION

This funder makes grants to promote and strengthen Tarrant County, Texas, which includes Fort Worth.

CHARTWELL CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

The philanthropic vehicle of Jerrod Perenchio, former chairman and CEO of Univision, and his wife Margaret. Supporting the arts is a top priority, but the couple gives very selectively. 

CINTAS FOUNDATION

The Cintas foundation prioritizes grantmaking for creative artists with Cuban citizenship or who have a Cuban parent or grandparent. Its funding areas include architecture and design, music composition, the visual arts, and writing.

STEVEN A. AND ALEXANDRA M. COHEN FOUNDATION

Finance billionaire Steve Cohen and his wife have an interest in art and a vast fortune. And while their foundation mainly funds in Connecticut and New York City, they've recently been reaching westward to Los Angeles. 

CRANKSTART FOUNDATION

The Crankstart Foundation’s visual arts grants support museums around the United States.

CREATIVE CAPITAL

Creative Capital grants are limited to $50,000. But getting a Creative Capital grant means that you will get a ton of help with professional development, financial management and marketing—services with immeasurable value for artists. 

BARBARA DEMING MEMORIAL FUND

The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund makes modest grants to feminist visual artists, writers, and poets.

DIOGENES CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

The Diogenes Charitable Foundation’s visual arts grants typically funds larger, well-known museums.

DOBKIN FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Dobkin Family Foundation awards grants to support a wide variety of arts institutions and projects across the United States.

DORSEY & WHITNEY FOUNDATION

This foundation of a national law firm describes itself as “an enthusiastic supporter of cultural programs and initiatives.” An open application process and its commitment to offering general support to arts organizations are compelling reasons to introduce your visual arts program.

MAX AND VICTORIA DREYFUS FOUNDATION

Funder created upon the death of famed music publisher Max Dreyfus, who worked with American greats like George Gershwin and Cole Porter. The foundation provides modest grants that make a big difference. 

EHRENKRANZ FAMILY FOUNDATION

The couple's arts philanthropy focuses largely on New York City, with a focus on photography and contemporary art. They are huge art collectors.

ENTERGY FOUNDATION

Entergy funds early childhood education organizations that work with low-income and underserved communities.

EVEILLARD FAMILY CHARITABLE

The Eveillard Family Charitable Trust’s grantmaking invests in music and visual arts institutions.  

FIDELITY FOUNDATION

The Fidelity Foundation views arts and culture, including the visual arts (and especially support of museums), as a primary focus of its philanthropic pursuits. It takes a rigorous business-model approach to the types of projects it funds.

FIRSTENERGY FOUNDATION

The FirstEnergy Foundation gives very modest amounts to a long list of organizations, but is a steadfast supporter of visual arts organizations, particularly of museums and arts centers.

FLORA FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Flora Family Foundation makes substantial investments in arts and culture throughout the U.S., and this includes visual arts—though the foundation emphasizes this arena to a lesser degree than others. 

FORD FOUNDATION

With more than $11 billion in assets, the Ford Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States. It prioritizes addressing inequality and fostering social change.

FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS

The FCA supports a wide range of visual artists, including photographers, sculptors, performance artists, and more. Expect stiff competition for the small number of unrestricted grants offered here.

PHILIP AND IRENE TOLL GAGE FOUNDATION

The Philp and Irene Toll Gage Foundation quietly supports visual arts organizations in the United States and abroad.

DAVID GEFFEN FOUNDATION

The David Geffen Foundation funds a range of visual arts organizations across the United States.

GEORGIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION

Philanthropic arm of the major paper manufacturer supports visual arts through its community enrichment focus; unique in that all giving funds general operating support.

GILDER FOUNDATION

The Gilder Foundation supports visual arts organizations around the country with strong support going to museums.

EUGENE AND MARILYN GLICK FAMILY FOUNDATION

Makes modest grants to a wide range of organizations, primarily but not exclusively in the Indianapolis area. No web presence, so best to reach out to the board.

ELIZABETH FIRESTONE GRAHAM FOUNDATION

This funder only supports contemporary visual art, specifically emerging or under-recognized artists, with a focus on promoting their work. 

GETTY FOUNDATION

The Getty Foundation's set of initiatives is in constant flux. Some are core to its priorities and are maintained longer than others.

GRAHAM FOUNDATION FOR ADVANCED STUDIES IN FINE ARTS

This funder is about as niche as they come. It backs visual artists and arts organizations engaged with architecture.

ELIZABETH GREENSHIELDS FOUNDATION

The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation supports early career artists in painting, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking.

JOHN SIMON GUGGENHEIM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

This foundation does not award grants. Rather, it awards a large number of fellowships to fine artists and those working in other disciplines around the world. Guggenheim awarded around 200 fellowships in 2012.

THE HAMBIDGE CENTER

The Hambidge Center’s residency program supports science and scholarship, architecture and design, culinary artisans, and artists of all disciplines.

THE YIP HARBURG FOUNDATION

The Yip Harburg Foundation makes grants in support of social and political activism in keeping with its founder’s legacy.

HEARST FOUNDATIONS

Grants from the Hearst Foundations benefit existing, high-achieving organizations with budgets over $1 million. Its focus on culture includes a substantial commitment to visual arts, and museums in particular.

WILLIAM H. HURT FOUNDATION

The William H. Hurt Foundation invests in fine arts institutions. 

JAPAN-UNITED STATES FRIENDSHIP COMMISSION

This funder is an independent federal government agency that supports projects that highlight the cultural, educational, and intellectual exchange between the United States and Japan.

JEROME FOUNDATION

The Jerome Foundation supports ongoing programs and services for early career artists.

EDWARD C. JOHNSON FUND

The Edward C. Johnson Fund gives out tens of millions of dollars annually. It prioritizes the arts, with a preference for institutions in the Boston area. Beyond its direct arts giving, the family supports lending art to museums. 

ALEX KATZ FOUNDATION

The Alex Katz Foundation was launched to collect contemporary art. Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine is a particular site of philanthropy, as are other university museums and art museum.

ANNA-MARIA AND STEPHEN KELLEN FOUNDATION

Based in New York City, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation supports visual arts organizations across the United States; however; it appears to prioritize organizations located on the East Coast.

THE KENTUCKY FOUNDATION FOR WOMEN

The Kentucky Foundation for Women prioritizes women and feminist artists in Kentucky.

F.M. KIRBY FOUNDATION

The F.M. Kirby Foundation support a wide range of visual and performing arts organizations across the country.

KNIGHT FOUNDATION

Knight’s Fostering the Arts Program is big, making over 100 grants to artists in all disciplines around the country. Knight awards grants for a multitude of artistic endeavors including music, exhibitions, lecture series, dance and museums.

MARIE-JOSEE AND HENRY KRAVIS FOUNDATION

The foundation of a billionaire collector couple isn't open to grantseekers, and mainly gives in New York. But the couple's arts philanthropy is expanding.  

KRESGE FOUNDATION

The Kresge Foundation supports arts and culture organizations working in low-income areas of major cities across the United States.

LANNAN FOUNDATION

Lannan Foundation prioritizes contemporary artists who are in their “mid- to senior-career stages,” and more generally supports work to create a broader audience and awareness of contemporary art.  

LEEWAY FOUNDATION

The Leeway Foundation supports women and trans artists who create art for social change.

LEON LEVY FOUNDATION

Levy’s Arts and Humanities Program supports multiple disciples of fine art. Almost all of its grants in the arts fund art institutions and museums in New York City and the immediate surrounding area. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted.

HENRY LUCE FOUNDATION

Luce’s American Art Program awards grants in decorative art and fine art as well as scholarly art programs and dissertations in painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, photography and architecture. Luce’s grantmaking is limited to the United States.

MACY'S

Macy’s makes substantial grants in the area of arts and culture, and visual arts are at the forefront of this giving (especially museums). Some of this funding comes from the foundation, but much more is given directly by the corporation.

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE FOUNDATION

The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation focuses its visual arts grants on photography.

MARTIN Z. MARGULIES FOUNDATION

The Martin Z. Margulies Foundation focuses on presenting exhibitions and educational programs related to the visual arts.

PIERRE AND TANA MATISSE FOUNDATION

The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation funds programs which advance arts education in public, charter, and parochial schools in New York City, supports scholarly research in the arts, loans works of art to museums for special exhibitions, and awards art-related project grants to museums, libraries and universities 

MAURER FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Maurer Family Foundation aims to provide financial assistance to those organizations and institutions whose goal is to enrich their communities and the lives of their patrons through programs of cultural value.

ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION

The Mellon Foundation principally funds projects that focus on Art History, conservation, and museums.

MICHELIN CORPORATE FOUNDATION

The Michelin Corporate Foundation supports a wide range of visual arts organizations around the world. It visual arts grantmaking supports work that addresses preserving local heritage.

MID-AMERICA ARTS ALLIANCE

The Mid-America Alliance makes grants to individual artists and arts organizations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

MINNESOTA STATE ARTS BOARD

Minnesota State Arts Board supports visual arts projects and organizations within the state.

MISSISSIPPI ARTS COMMISSION

The Mississippi Arts Commission supports artists and arts organizations working in the state.

MISSOURI ARTS COUNCIL

The Missouri Arts Council supports arts projects within the state.

JOAN MITCHELL FOUNDATION

This funder mostly backs painters and sculptors, with lucrative grants and residencies available for different career phases and professional circumstances. Applications are typically by invitation only.

MOODY'S FOUNDATION

The Moody’s Foundation support larger visual arts organizations across the country.

MORRISON & FOERSTER FOUNDATION

The Morrison & Foerster Foundation supports local and visual arts organizations.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

NEA is an independent government organization that leads arts funding and invests in art projects that advance artistic American excellence.

NATIONAL YOUNGARTS FOUNDATION

Emerging visual artists 15 to 18 years old are eligible for National Youth Arts Foundation grants. The NYAF’s goal is to cultivate and develop the next generation of artists with mentorship, scholarships, and other opportunities.

OPEN MEADOWS FOUNDATION

Open Meadows grants support women and girls leading and benefitting from art projects that address activism and social justice.

LILLIAN ORLOWSKY AND WILLIAM FREED FOUNDATION

This foundation has a very specific grant focus—American painters aged at least 45, not well known, and in financial need. It’s niche to be sure, but if you fit the bill, there’s nothing else like it.

PEW CENTER FOR ARTS AND HERITAGE

The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage awards grants exclusively to organizations and individuals in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region. It supports artists and organizations with ambitious, imaginative projects.

POLLOCK-KRASNER FOUNDATION

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation gives grants to painters, sculptors, and artists who work on and with paper, including printmakers.  

PUFFIN FOUNDATION

In its grantmaking dedicated to visual arts, Puffin Foundation supports photographers across the United States.

DOROTHEA AND LEO RABKIN FOUNDATION

The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation invests in visual arts journalists, writers, and critics.

ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG FOUNDATION

Rauschenberg supports small and mid-sized visual arts groups and organizations. 

SAKANA FOUNDATION

Founded by Bay Area couple Bill and Sakurako Fisher, the Sakana Foundation supports museums, theaters, dance, and more.

SALESFORCE FOUNDATION

Salesforce takes a broad approach toward its grantmaking and invests in a variety of visual arts-related organizations and projects.

SAN FRANCISCO FOUNDATION

The San Francisco Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in the nation and funds a broad range of equity-focused nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area.

SOUTH ARTS FUND

The South Arts Fund supports organizations that present touring artists from out of state, with an eye toward enriching the economic, social, cultural, and educational vitality of the South. The fund connects the arts to key state and national policies and advances excellence in the arts.

SOUTHEASTERN MINNESOTA ARTS COUNCIL

The Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council supports artists and arts development in the region. Its grantmaking encompasses dance, literary arts, theatre, music, and the visual arts.

SPRINT FOUNDATION

Sprint largely awards its visual arts grants to smaller and local museums, arts, and culture centers. 

SURDNA FOUNDATION

Surdna's arts support falls under its Thriving Cultures Program, which supports "efforts to encourage teens to explore the arts, involve artists in community development projects and foster the growth and success of local artists as economic engines and agents for social change."

CARL AND MARILYNN THOMA ART FOUNDATION

Thoma's visual arts grants support curatorial research and planning, arts writing, publications, exhibitions and performances, lectures, symposia, and educational events.

THOMA FOUNDATION

The Thoma Foundation was established to distinguish Chicago couple Carl and Marilynn Thoma’s initiatives in, and support of, the visual arts.

EMILY HALL TREMAINE FOUNDATION

Tremaine supports projects that seek to expand career opportunities for visual artists, as well as skills building, networking, and learning programs for curators.

UNION PACIFIC FOUNDATION

This funder places a consistent emphasis on culture and the arts. Funding for the visual arts is at the top of the foundation's arts giving list.

UNITED STATES ARTISTS

United States Artists gives out as many as 50 unrestricted $50,000 grants directly to artistic creators each year. Support for visual artists is at the forefront of this giving. This is a very competitive grant.

U.S. BANCORP FOUNDATION

A significant grantor of visual arts organizations in 25 states—particularly museums. The foundation views arts and culture support as part of a larger context of community development and uplift.

ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts fosters "innovative artistic expression and the creative process by encouraging and supporting cultural organizations that in turn, directly or indirectly, support artists and their work."

WELLS FARGO FOUNDATION

Supports arts and culture in the 44 states where Wells Fargo does business. Support for visual arts (particularly museums) is a major focus.

WESTERN STATES ARTS FEDERATION

Grants go to organizations in western states that present the work of visual artists who also reside in western states. Within this geographic range, many opportunities are available.

WYOMING ARTS COUNCIL

The Wyoming Arts Council supports visual arts projects within the state.

VIA ART FUND

The VIA Fund supports individual artists, curators, and small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations working the contemporary arts space.

ZEGAR FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Zegar Family Foundation’s visual arts grants generally focus on museums and historical preservation organizations.