Painting of a gray skyscraper with four tiers. The top tier crumbles, chunks of cement and a man falling into the cavern the building sits in. The background is black with bright yellow at the horizon line.
Roger Brown, The Big Jolt, 1972. Oil on canvas, Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2019.1 Image: Courtesy Roger Brown Study Collection

Art Design Chicago 2024 Academic Programs Grants


As part of Art Design Chicago 2024,  the Terra Foundation is offering grants for academic convenings (such as workshops, symposia, and conferences) designed to advance scholarship about Chicago’s art and/or design history prior to 2000, and specifically related to the initiative focus.

Convenings must be scheduled to take place prior to the end of 2024. Academic Programs Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000.


Funded projects are expected to:

  • Open up new contexts for thinking about Chicago’s art and design histories (and by extension US art and design histories), for example via interdisciplinary approaches or comparative approaches (exploring relationships between art and design histories and practices in Chicago and in other places);
  • Address practices, practitioners, and communities that have not been the subject of close study previously or recently; and
  • Bring attention to collections that are significant to Chicago’s art and design history, making these resources better understood.

Convening organizers are encouraged to:

  • Include scholars from academic fields in addition to art and design history, and from places beyond Chicago and the US; and
  • Document and disseminate convening proceedings by publishing or posting papers online, and/or by posting video recordings if appropriate.

The foundation welcomes applications for convenings designed to lead to the development of future projects, such as publications or digital humanities projects. Note: Organizations seeking funding for convenings related to planning Art Design Chicago 2024 exhibitions should apply for an Art Design Chicago Exhibition Research & Development Grant.

The foundation has a preference for programs that take place in the Chicago metropolitan area and that are free of charge.


Fall 2020 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: May 15, 2020
Proposal: July 15, 2020

Summer 2021 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: December 7, 2020
Proposal: March 2, 2021

Summer 2022 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: December 7, 2021
Proposal: March 2, 2022

Summer 2023 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: December 7, 2022
Proposal: March 2, 2023

If the foundation responds to a letter of inquiry by requesting a proposal, the organization applying for a grant will be expected to complete an application. See “How to Apply” below.


The Terra Foundation only accepts proposals from institutions with United States 501(c)(3) status, and does not make grants to individuals. The Terra Foundation does not accept proposals for:

  • Projects that focus on architecture, the built environment, or urban plan. Instead, the initiative focuses on aspects of Chicago’s art and design history that have received less scholarly attention.
  • Capital expenditures.

Visit our “How to Apply” page for application details. If you have questions after reviewing the Art Design Chicago FAQs, please contact Program Director for Education Grants & Initiatives, Jenny Siegenthaler, at

How to Apply

The Terra Foundation for American Art has moved its grant making to an online system. With the new system, grant seekers will benefit from a streamlined application process. Review the Grants FAQ page for additional information on the online application process.

The grant application process is three-part:

  1. Before submitting a formal proposal to the Terra Foundation, prospective applicants must complete a letter of inquiry (LOI). 
  2. After reviewing the letter of inquiry, the foundation may invite the submission of a formal online proposal.
  3. Formal grant proposals undergo a review process before final decisions are made by the foundation’s Board of Directors.

Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

A letter of inquiry must precede any formal grant proposal to the Terra Foundation; formal proposals are accepted only by invitation of the foundation after review of the online letter of inquiry. The online LOI will require the following information:

  • Brief statement of the organization’s history and mission
  • Concise description of the academic program
  • Objectives of the project
  • Other organizing partners and funding sources and amounts contributed for the project, if relevant
  • Total cost of the project and the grant amount requested

Submit a letter of inquiry for an Art Design Chicago 2024 academic programs grant using this link: Apply here.

A prospective applicant can expect to hear from the foundation within three weeks of receipt of its letter.

Formal Proposal

After the letter of inquiry is reviewed, prospective applicants may be invited to submit a formal proposal through the online system. Please note that an invitation for a formal proposal does not guarantee funding at any level.

Download Sample ADC Academic Programs Proposal.