Carl and Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation: Grants for Visual Arts

OVERVIEW: The Thoma Art Foundation awards grants to groups that advance its mission to shift perceptions and connect people through visual arts.

IP TAKE: This funder is particularly interested in supporting novel and early stage projects.

PROFILE: Carl and Marilynn Thoma, who began collecting art in the mid-1970s, “believe passionately in the power of art to enrich life and deepen understanding of the cultures.” While they established a family foundation in 1986, it wasn’t until 2014 that they founded the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation as a philanthropic vehicle dedicated to visual arts.

The Thoma Art Foundation offers grants to both organizations and individuals. Grants are awarded to support curatorial research and planning, arts writing, publications, exhibitions and performances, lectures, symposia, and educational events.

Organizational grants typically fall in the $10,000 to $50,000 range and are most often awarded to museums, both large and small, across the country. The foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry for this program. Thoma awards organizational grants to for academic, education, convening, exhibition, and publication support.

Individual grants generally come in between $5,000 and $25,000 and are awarded to support arts writing, arts publications, and curatorial research. Thoma does not accept unsolicited proposals for its individual grant program.

The foundation also offers its Research Fellowship in Twentieth-Century Abstract Painting. Fellows receive a $15,000 stipend and work part-time at the foundation’s downtown Chicago office.


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