Lannan Foundation: Grants for Visual Arts

OVERVIEW: Lannan Foundation devotes itself to “cultural freedom, diversity and creativity” by providing grants and creating programming in support of contemporary artists and writers, as well as Native American activists.

IP TAKE: Lannan Foundation puts a significant focus on contemporary artists who are in their “mid- to senior-career stages,” and more generally works to support and create a broader audience and awareness of contemporary art. If you’re a nonprofit entity working in this realm, this one is for you.

PROFILE: Lannan Foundation, established by entrepreneur and financier J. Patrick Lannan, Sr. in 1960, is “dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity.” The foundation expresses this dedication by overseeing grants and creating programming that supports “exceptional” contemporary artists and writers, as well as Native American activists working in “rural indigenous communities.”

Lannan Foundation supports contemporary artists who are in the "mid- to senior" stages of their careers by supporting the arts organizations who exhibit and disseminate their work—the foundation particularly likes to back programs that foster discussion and create audience outreach. Since its Art Program was established in 1986, Lannan Foundation has distributed more than 400 Arts Grants to projects initiated by more than 200 arts organizations all around the United States. Grant funding through this program primarily manifests as support of exhibitions and publications, with all grants going to non-profit organizations.

It’s a fairly egalitarian process. Any non-profit organization can submit an LOI. And wonderfully, this is a foundation that urges you to get in touch before you do this, so you can introduce yourself and ensure your program is well-tailored for Lannan Foundation collaboration. If you don’t reach out beforehand, the foundation will consider your LOI as an “unsolicited” one, and is far less likely to engage.

As open as Lannan Foundation is for you to get in touch, the foundation also acknowledges that few will make it to the full application stage, and that procuring a grant is “highly competitive.” If you make the cut, the range of dollar support is wide (from $100 for a small project to $150,000 in support of a capital project). For a frame of reference, here are some recent visual arts grantees:

  • Providence Productions for the publication of a paperback edition of Nancy Holt: Sightlines, “the first comprehensive monograph of Holt’s 40 plus year history of making art.”
  • Radius Books for publication of Victoria Sambunaris: Taxonomy of a Landscape: “This comprehensive volume is the artist’s first monograph and features color reproductions of more than a decade of Sambunaris’s work.”
  • The Santa Fe Art Institute for general operating expenses, supporting its “broad range of offerings including their artist and writer residency program, exhibitions, lectures, workshops and educational programs for youth and teens.”

Lannan Foundation keeps a good catalogue of its previous contemporary visual arts grantees. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself even further before reaching out to the foundation to start your own LOI process.


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