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 stimulate expansive narratives of Chicago art and design, past and present.
The Terra Foundation invites proposals for public programs to be presented in 2024 as part of Art Design Chicago. Recognizing current and historical inequities in presentations and understandings of American (and Chicago-focused) art histories, the Terra Foundation encourages public programs that address these imbalances and exclusions.
Additionally, we seek projects that help to seed new relationships or deepen existing ones, furthering organizations’ efforts to engage with their communities in meaningful ways.
To be considered, projects should focus on the visual arts and/or design of Chicago, whether historical or contemporary art. Those that focus on contemporary art should offer a reflective and critical engagement with histories and/or art histories associated with Chicago.
The Terra Foundation encourages proposals from organizations (e.g., museums, art centers, community-based cultural organizations, etc.) located in the Chicago metropolitan area and prefers to support programs that are free of charge.
What We Fund
Grants will offset planning, presentation, and production costs for public programs that:
- examine aspects of Chicago’s visual art and/or design histories and legacy (including contemporary projects and performance-based programs grounded in the city’s visual art and/or design history)
- are scheduled to take place between May 1–December 31, 2024
Program formats may include but are not limited to:
- artist-created activations inspired by the history of Chicago visual art and/or design
- in-person (within the Chicago metropolitan area) and virtual presentations, including lectures, talks, panels, and interviews
- tours and explorations of collections
- classes and workshops on art history or art making
- performative presentations including theater, dance, spoken word, performance art, etc., that are grounded in the history of Chicago visual art and design and contextualized for audiences
- screenings accompanied by discussions
- production and presentation of media/digital projects for a general audience, such as film, video, radio, podcasts, and mobile apps.
We anticipate that individual grants will range between $10,000 and $50,000.
Priorities and Goals
The Terra Foundation supports visual art projects that question and broaden understandings of American art and transform how the story of American art is told. We encourage projects that:
- reflect the range and complexity of American (and Chicago-focused) art and design and their histories through the diversity of artists represented, voices included, and stories told
- center artists, scholars, and communities who have been systemically excluded from narratives, practices, and presentations of American (and Chicago-focused) art and design
- commit to inclusive and equitable practices across project development and implementation in order to lead to structural change
Additionally, for this grant program we encourage projects that:
- are co-generated and co-presented in partnership with community-based groups or organizations, and/or other cultural organizations, and are designed to be mutually enriching—responding to the interests of partners—and helping to strengthen relationships between applicants and communities.
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 capital expenditures.
For public programs connected to Chicago-focused exhibitions, please apply through the Art Design Chicago Exhibitions program.
Summer 2023 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: December 7, 2022
Proposal: March 2, 2023
Fall 2023 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: May 15, 2023
Proposal: August 15, 2023
Spring 2024 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: August 11, 2023
Proposal: November 3, 2023
Grant proposals will be reviewed by an external panel of experienced public programmers and arts professionals with a diverse range of backgrounds, perspectives, and approaches.
How to Apply
The grant application process is three-part:
- Before submitting a formal proposal to the Terra Foundation, prospective applicants must complete a letter of inquiry (LOI) using the following link: Art Design Chicago Public Programs Grants Letter of Inquiry
- After reviewing the letter of inquiry, the foundation may invite the submission of an online formal grant proposal.
- Formal grant proposals undergo a review process before final decisions are made by the foundation’s Board of Directors.
Review the Grants FAQ for additional information about on the online application process.
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 letter of inquiry. A prospective applicant can expect to hear from the foundation within 3–4 weeks of receipt of their letter.
Prospective applicants must complete the Art Design Chicago Public Programs Grants Letter of Inquiry.
All letters must be written in English.
Download a PDF Art Design Chicago Public Programs Grants Letter of Inquiry form, for reference only.
After a 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. Formal proposals must be written or translated in English. All attachments should also be written or translated into English.