Artist Siddha Weber (center in hat) and teachers pose in front of a mural in the Bronzeville neighborhood as part of the Chicago Metro History Education Center’s 2014 summer professional development program.

Chicago K–12 Education Grants

The Terra Foundation supports activities that bring the art of the United States (circa 1500–2000) into Chicago’s classrooms, with the aim of helping teachers enrich curricula and enhance learning. In support of these goals, the foundation funds the following activities:

  1. Professional-development programs designed to:
  • Deepen Chicago teachers’ knowledge of art and visual culture of the United States (circa 1500–2000);
  • Enhance teachers’ ability to use American art in meaningful and innovative ways as part of the curriculum; and
  • Advance teachers’ skills in guiding students to think critically about American art, make personal connections and creative responses to it, and understand its relationships to history and culture (past and present).
  1. The development and dissemination of instructional resources about the art of the United States, designed to help students think critically about works of American art, make personal connections and responses to it, and understand its relationships to history and culture (past and present). Such projects should include training that introduces teachers to these resources and helps them plan strategies for integrating them into their curricula.

Programs and instructional resources must be aligned with the Common Core State Standards for English-Language Arts (CCSS-ELA), Illinois Fine Arts Learning Standards, and other relevant standards.


The foundation has a strong preference for projects that:

  • Involve individuals with expertise in American art history and visual studies in the development and delivery of program content;
  • Provide time and support necessary for teachers to plan ways to incorporate works of American art into their curricula that are standards aligned and tailored students’ needs and interests;
  • Include support structures and follow up designed to help teachers use American art  in their curricula on an ongoing basis, to reflect on their progress, and to document the effectiveness of their work;
  • Include opportunities for teachers to collaborate and share their work growing from the program with one another and others in their professional community; and
  • Provide opportunities for teachers and their students to experience works of American art in Chicago collections.


Spring 2022 Awards
Letter of Inquiry: August 13, 2021
Proposal: November 2, 2021

If you have questions, please contact Terra Foundation Program Director for Education Grants and Initiatives Jenny Siegenthaler (, 312-654-2253).

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 foundation only accepts proposals from institutions with United States 501(c)(3) status or governmental organizations. Project must be directed primarily toward teachers in Chicago Public Schools and other Chicago-based schools.

The Terra Foundation does not accept proposals for:

  • Projects whose content is focused primarily on art made after 2000, or that do not address or nominally address the following dimensions of arts education: art appreciation, interpretation, and the exploration of art in relation to history and culture.
  • Capital expenditures.

If you have questions about our Chicago K–12 Education Grants, please visit the Grant FAQs page or contact or Program Director of Education Grants & Initiatives Grants Jennifer Siegenthaler (

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 FAQ 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) using this link:  Chicago K-12 Education Program Letter of Inquiry
  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. A prospective applicant can expect to hear from the foundation within three weeks of receipt of its letter. The online letter of inquiry will require the following information:

  • Brief statement of the organization’s purpose and goals
  • Description of the project, including its beginning and ending dates as well as the need and audience it addresses
  • Objectives of the project
  • Other organizing partners and funding sources and amounts for the project, if relevant
  • Total cost of project and the grant amount requested

All letters must be written in English.

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. Formal proposals must be written or translated in English. All attachments should also be written or translated into English.

Download the Chicago K-12 Program Grants application.