People viewing an exhibition of stone sculptures. The sculptures are white stones in various shapes resembling animals and seated human figures.
Visitors to The Sculpture of William Edmondson: Tombstones, Garden Ornaments, and Stonework, 2021, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, photo by Warner Tidwell. This exhibition was supported by the Terra Foundation.

Exhibition Grants

Recognizing current and historical inequities in the presentations and understandings of American art history, the Terra Foundation encourages temporary exhibitions that address these imbalances and exclusions. To expand histories of American art, we seek projects that reflect inclusive and equitable research and curatorial practices; generate new scholarship and interpretive frameworks; employ critical methodologies and innovative models; and/or engage diverse partners and audiences. In addition, we lend support for exhibitions that build on existing initiatives at your organization engaged in transforming or complicating how the story of American art is told.

Grants will offset planning and/or implementation costs for:

  • Temporary exhibitions primarily comprising artworks that are not part of the institution’s permanent collection;*
  • Research and planning for temporary exhibitions (e.g., convenings, travel, research fellows or assistants, advisory groups).

To be considered, the project should focus on American art and/or Native American art, including historical art or contemporary art. Contemporary art should manifest a critical and reflective engagement with American or Native American histories, art, and/or art histories.

Grant proposals will be reviewed by an external panel of curators and museum professionals who reflect a diverse range of backgrounds, perspectives, and approaches.

The Terra Foundation encourages proposals from organizations (e.g., museums, art centers, and community-based cultural organizations) of varying sizes and annual budgets and from the full spectrum of geographic regions, both within and outside the United States. We anticipate that individual grants will range between $25,000 and $250,000.

To document the Terra Foundation’s support, grants should be acknowledged in related publications, gallery signage, and marketing materials.

*For exhibitions drawn primarily from your institution’s permanent collection of American and/or Native American art, please see Re-envisioning Permanent Collections for guidelines on how to apply. Updated guidelines and deadlines for the permanent collection program, open to organizations both within and outside the United States, will be posted soon.

Priorities and Goals

To expand histories of American art, we encourage projects that:

  • Share fuller and more widely representative histories of American art with the public, whether through the diversity of artists featured, the voices influencing the curatorial vision or approach, and/or the narratives offered;
  • generate new scholarship and interpretive frameworks that employ critical methodologies and innovative models;
  • reflect a commitment to inclusive and collaborative research and curatorial practices that engage diverse voices and partners in reinterpreting American art;
  • and/or offer inclusive and accessible visitor engagement opportunities.

We also encourage multilingual written materials when possible and relevant to the project and/or its audiences.

Eligibility

For this program, the Terra Foundation accepts proposals from institutions with United States 501(c)(3) status or its international equivalent. If co-organizing a temporary exhibition with a partner organization, the co-organizers should apply jointly. Grants are not made to individuals.

We do not accept proposals for:

  • Acquisitions or capital expenditures
  • Exhibitions of primarily single private or commercial collections, even if on long-term loan to a museum (promised gifts are acceptable)
  • Exhibitions that are exclusively online
  • Exhibitions previously mounted that are touring to new venues
  • Exhibitions previously declined by the Terra Foundation

Please note:

Applicants may request planning and/or implementation funding for temporary exhibitions to offset costs of the organizing institution(s); however, we will accept only one proposal per institution per exhibition. The proposal should come from the organizing institution(s).

If you have questions about Exhibition Grants, please visit the Grant FAQs page or contact [email protected] or Program Director of Exhibition & Academic Grants Carrie Haslett at [email protected]

Deadlines

Grant support through this program is offered once yearly, with a board vote in October of each year. Exhibitions voted on in October of a given year must open after February 1 of the next calendar year to be eligible for funding.

October 2022 Awards

Letter of Inquiry: March 8, 2022
Proposal: May 16, 2022

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.

How to Apply

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: Exhibition 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.

Review the FAQ for additional information 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 three weeks of receipt of its letter.

Prospective applicants must complete the Exhibition Program Letter of Inquiry.

All letters must be written in English.

Download a sample .pdf Exhibition Program Letter of Inquiry, for reference only.

Formal Proposal

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.