Henry Luce Foundation: Grants for Fine Arts

OVERVIEW: The Henry Luce Foundation supports the arts through its American Art Program, which prioritizes American fine and decorative art and lends much of its support to scholarly pursuits and exhibitions within this area. Through this branch of the organization it also supports exhibitions, publications and research that "emphasize an aesthetic approach to American art, specifically scholarly study of painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, decorative arts, photography, and architecture."

IP TAKE: The Henry Luce Foundation prefers to support more traditional forms of American art, so avant-garde organizations and individuals should look elsewhere for funds.

PROFILE: Created in 1936 by Time magazine co-founder Henry R. Luce, the Henry Luce Foundation “seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities.” The Henry Luce Foundation's American Art Program has three sub-categories of grant programs: Luce Fund in American Art, Responsive Grants, and Dissertation Fellowships.

The Luce Fund In American Art supports "scholarly special exhibitions and their related publications that contribute significantly to the study of American art." The most important criteria Luce uses to evaluate proposals are intellectual merit and "potential contribution to scholarship," as well as a "demonstrable impact of the artist or subject" in the related field. Grant amounts can vary, but average from $15,000 to upwards of $200,000. Letters of Inquiry are required before a proposal can be submitted and are due each year on April 1. If the Foundation expresses interest in the project, deadlines for proposals are in mid-June of each year.

The Responsive Grants & American Art Renewal Fund supports projects that "address the prevailing needs of the American art field and are crucial to its development." This includes permanent collection reinstallations, digitization of collections, and archives of American art material. Grants range from $30,000 to $200,000 for organizations with budgets between $500,000 to $65 million. Letters of Inquiry are accepted year-round and should be no more than two pages.

Luce's Dissertation Fellowships are awarded each year to doctoral candidates across the country working on dissertations in American art. Ten fellowships of $27,000 are given annually through a national competition and administered through the American Council of Learned Societies.

An example of past grant recipients include $15,000 to the Association of Art Museum Curators, $75,000 to the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, $5,000 to Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, NY, $40,000 to the Romare Bearden Foundation for archive preservation, and $40,000 to the University of Iowa Museum of Art to help digitize their American art collection.


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