Terra Foundation for American Art

OVERVIEW: The Terra Foundation for American Art awards grants to American art exhibitions, art scholarship programs, and art education initiatives.

FUNDING AREAS: Visual arts, art education, museums

IP TAKE: Arts organizations in Chicago often have the best chance to receive funding from Terra by applying for a Chicago Public Programs or a Chicago K-12 Education Program grant.

PROFILE: Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is the foundation of Daniel J. Terra, who opened his first museum with 50 paintings in the Chicago suburbs. Terra was a businessman and art collector who wanted to show the world that the United States could compete with masterpieces from around the globe. Since that time, the Terra Foundation has expanded its collection to more than 700 pieces, relocated to downtown Chicago, and even opened the Musée d'Art Américain Giverny in France to showcase American impressionist works. The foundation aims to foster “exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences.” Grantmaking areas of interest are visual arts, art education, and museums.

Since 2005, the Terra Foundation has been awarding grants to American art exhibitions, art scholarship programs, and art education initiatives. Academic programs, fellowships, visiting professorships, publications, and public programs in Chicago also see Terra's support. Although the foundation’s grantmaking is limited to programs focused on furthering visual American art, there are several subcategories for grantees to consider. Chicago-based museums have received some support for exhibition grants, which are awarded to help scholars and the public understand and appreciate American art made between 1500 and 1980. Overall, grant and fellowship opportunities include funding for exhibitions, academic programs, fellowships and visiting professorships, publications, and K-12 education and public programs in Chicago.

Many foundation grants range from $100,000 to $500,000. View a list of awarded grants here. The foundation focuses much of its giving on the city of Chicago, but awards grants nationally and internationally as well. Grant requests should match one of the foundation’s three goals, which are the field of American art, American art exhibitions and programs outside of the U.S., or American art in Chicago.

The foundation accepts unsolicited grant requests for some programs and has an online application system. Grantseekers should direct initial letters of inquiry and general questions to the staff at grants@terraamericanart.org or 312-6644-3939.

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