Architecture Redefined: Behind the Graham Foundation's New Grant Cycle

Is it me, or do most people only talk about the role of architecture in society when there's a huge controversy?

Think about it. Whether it's the Vietnam Memorial, or more recently, Lower Manhattan's 1 World Trade Center, which was recently subjected to scathing aesthetic criticism in the New York Times, we only talk about the buildings around us when people get really, really worked up over them.

The Chicago-based Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts wants to change that. As we note in our Grant Finder profile of the foundation, Graham is is focused on architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. If you are a visual artist or arts organization that works in relationship with architecture, or vice versa, there are several lucrative opportunities for you here.

To that end, the foundation is inviting applications from nonprofit organizations to assist with the production and presentation of "significant programs about architecture and the designed environment." Grants of up to $30,000 will be awarded to help organizations with production-related expenses incurred as it takes a project from conceptualization to realization. Projects may include, but are not limited to, public presentations such as publications, exhibitions, installations, films, new media projects, and conferences/lectures.

Of course, the foundation isn't looking for any old program. Winning proposals "promote dialogue, raise awareness, and develop new and wider audiences."

Now, we know what you're thinking. How can architecture promote dialogue? Well, first off, that's too simplistic a question. As previously noted, Graham is casting a wide net, looking for all sorts of different media, including film, exhibitions, and conferences.

Fair enough, you might say, but what's the secret sauce that Graham is looking for in proposals? For an answer, we turn to their website. Projects with the "greatest potential" possess originality, strong potential for impact in that it "makes a meaningful contribution to discourse and/or to the field," feasibility, and capacity, such that the applicant demonstrates an ability to carry out the project successfully and/or has access to necessary resources outside of the grant request.

The application deadline is February 25, 2015. Click here to apply.