Polaroid photographs arranged in a grid.

Letitia Quesenberry, from the series little darlings, 2014–ongoing, panel, lacquer, photo, wax, resin, 6 x 5 x .25 in each, photo courtesy of the artist

Supported Projects

The Terra Foundation for American Art awarded 24 grants in June 2023, amounting to a total of over $1.8 million, to support projects that broaden the understandings of American art. Grants awarded in June include support for strategic initiatives, convenings, and Art Design Chicago.

Supported projects include the University of Kentucky’s symposium “Queer Art | Queer Archives” and Red Line Service’s public program “Designing Belonging.”

The University of Kentucky, School of Art and Visual Studies in the College of Fine Arts’ “Queer Art | Queer Archives” is a two-day symposium with the goal of addressing the methodological challenges of doing queer archival labor in American art history. Historically, queer practices circumvented art institutions and its practitioners worked with media not sanctioned by museums. “Queer Art | Queer Archives” aims to generate new ways to analyze previously overlooked and systemically marginalized work. Specifically, discussions will be oriented toward developing interpretive frameworks that closely analyze the intersections of queerness with race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, and socioeconomic status.

Polaroid photographs arranged in a grid.

Letitia Quesenberry, from the series little darlings, 2014–ongoing, panel, lacquer, photo, wax, resin, 6 x 5 x .25 in each, photo courtesy of the artist

Miriam Kienle, Associate Professor, University of Kentucky, and Jennifer Sichel, Assistant Professor, University of Louisville, said, “A groundbreaking collaboration between the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, ‘Queer Art | Queer Archives’ will convene scholars and artists to investigate the theoretical stakes and methodological challenges of queer archival labor in American art history. Free and open to the public, this two-day symposium will be a significant resource for the vibrant queer communities of our region, which tend to be underserved and overlooked in favor of bigger, coastal communities. The symposium will generate new interpretive frameworks to analyze performances, zines, correspondence, and other ephemeral objects that chronicle queer histories. By expanding our definition of what counts as significant American art, ‘Queer Art | Queer Archives’ will promote diverse queer practices that speak to important personal, social, and political struggles and triumphs.”

Red Line Service’s “Designing Belonging” breaks down the barriers of housing insecurity by engaging houseless artists in the reimagination of spaces throughout Chicago. Among its programs are eight public lectures, two four-day workshop series, and a culminating public event. Artists network with scholars and design practitioners; they design interventions in public spaces in Chicago and avail themselves in professional opportunities within the art world. Because houseless and housing insecure artists can be overlooked, Red Line Service seeks to support these artists by providing inclusive learning experiences and activities for them.

“Red Line Service is a community of houseless and housing insecure artists, all of whom know Chicago’s public parks, plazas, monuments, and public art works. Because of our shared experience, our access to these spaces is often limited and is always surveilled—not least because we use these spaces at times and in ways that are different from how other visitors use them. For ‘Designing Belonging,’ we tap into our expertise about what would make us more comfortable in these spaces in order to transform a public space into a space of belonging for all. Putting houseless and housing insecure artists at the center of a project about public space can potentially make housed Chicagoans and tourists aware of their free access to these spaces, and bringing our expertise into conversation with architects, designers, and urban planners has the potential to imagine what sort of designed object(s) might make a Chicago public space more welcoming,” said Red Line Service artists.

For all foundation grants awarded, and for more information about the grants, please see the grants database.

Drawing of a garden with text labels pointing to certain elements, such as "sculpture space," "stepping stone," and modular benches."

Visualization of a garden project in North Lawndale called “A Space of Symbiosis,” opening spring 2024. The visualization is by Red Line Service artist Samantha Caldera.

June 2023 Grants Awarded

Strategic Initiatives

The foundation partners with organizations that are committed to inclusive and equitable practices and that engage research and learning models with the potential to offer expanded perspectives for the fields of American art.

Center for Curatorial Leadership, New York, New York, to contribute to the Center for Curatorial Leadership’s core annual programs, $150,000

SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, Germany, to support a research, learning, and community project that centers counter-hegemonic narratives to American colonization and imperialism, $175,000

V&A East, London, United Kingdom, to contribute to V&A East Talks: Back-to-Back, a series of conversations among artists, designers, curators, and local community stakeholders, $74,790

AWARE (Archives of Women Artists Research & Exhibitions), Paris, France, to support Building Constellations, an initiative that includes the creation of a global network of artists, curators, scholars, and activists, $95,000

Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin, to support the finalization and dissemination of the re:mancipation project in print and on film, $100,000

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, Texas, to support phase two of The Latinx Papers project, $250,000

Native American Art Studies Association, Phoenix, Arizona, to support the Native American Art Studies Association (NAASA) conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, $35,000


The foundation supports convenings worldwide that foster exchange and collaboration, such as workshops, symposia, and colloquia.

Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario, Canada, to support two gatherings called “aabaakwad (it clears after a storm), annual Indigenous-led conversations on Indigenous art by those who create, curate, and write about it, $100,000

Burke Museum Association, Seattle, Washington, to support a curatorial colloquium on the reinstallation of the permanent galleries of Native American art at the Burke Museum’s Bill Holm Center, $10,000

Housatonic Museum of Art, Bridgeport, Connecticut, to support a community college art museum leadership convening, $25,000

Independent Curators International, New York, New York, to support the “Mississippi River Curatorial Assembly,” a professional development program for eight curators based in the Midwest, $15,000

Indigo Arts Alliance, Portland, Maine, to support the convening “Deconstructing the Boundaries: A Future of Land & Food Resilience Centering Black, Brown and Indigenous Relationships with the Land,” $25,000

Liquid Blackness, Limited, Decatur, Georgia, to support a two-day symposium titled “Music Video as Black Art,” $25,000

Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France, to support “New Insights on the 18th-Century Painted Hides Collected in Times of French Louisiana, $75,000

Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, to support a three-day hybrid convening around the exhibition Véxoa: We Know, $25,000

University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, to support “Queer Art | Queer Archives,” a two-day symposium, $25,000

University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, to support “Creole Miami: Generations of Black Miami Artmaking,” $25,000

University College London, London, United Kingdom, to support the convening “Not Now: Modernism, Nativism, and Fascism in American Art and Culture,” $25,000

Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia, to support the symposium “Picturing the Black Racial Imaginary,” $25,000

Art Design Chicago

Art Design Chicago is a platform for collaboration and exchange developed with cultural practitioners throughout Chicago. The initiative seeks to catalyze transformative approaches to co-creation and community engagement and to stimulate expansive narratives of Chicago art and design, past and present.

Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago, Illinois, to support Chicago Humanities Festival’s (CHF) first artist residency and festival programming, $100,000

Illinois Humanities, Chicago, Illinois, to support “Chicago Style: Fashion and Design, Past and Present,” a series of programs focused on the role of vernacular design in the lives of everyday South Side Chicagoans, $50,000

Red Line Service Institute, Chicago, Illinois, to support “Designing Belonging,” a lecture and workshop series engaging houseless artists in the reimagination of public spaces in Chicago, $50,000

Independent Curators International, New York, New York, to support “The Chicago Assembly,” offering professional development and network building for a group of Chicago curators, and the “Curatorial Forum,” a national convening of curators at EXPO CHICAGO, $25,000

Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Illinois, to support the Artist-Run Chicago Fund, which awards unrestricted grants to artist-run spaces and collaboratives, $300,000

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