Exhibition Grants


Two paintings hanging in a gallery with royal blue walls. A sculpture about 12 inches tall and a few feet wide in the shape of a heart is in the center of the gallery.

Martin Wong. Malicious Mischief, 2022. Installation view of exhibition at Museo CA2M, Madrid 2022. Photo by Roberto Ruiz. Courtesy of Museo CA2M

Recognizing current and historical inequities in presentations and understandings of American art history, the Terra Foundation encourages temporary loan exhibitions that address these disparities and exclusions at institutions worldwide.

Terra Foundation Exhibition grants provide support for organizations to plan and present temporary exhibitions comprised primarily of loans.

The Terra Foundation encourages proposals from organizations (e.g., museums, art centers, and community-based cultural organizations) of varying sizes and annual budgets and representing the full spectrum of geographic regions, within and outside the United States.

We anticipate that individual grants will range between $25,000 and $200,000, with an average grant size of $100,000. This is a highly competitive program, and we are unable to fund all eligible and positively reviewed projects.


What We Fund

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)

*If you are seeking support for research and planning (e.g., convenings, travel, research fellows or assistants, advisory groups) related to your institution’s permanent collection and/or for exhibitions drawn primarily from your institution’s permanent collection, please see our Collections grant program.

Priorities and Goals

The Terra Foundation supports visual arts projects with a focus on art of the United States and Indigenous art of North America that question and broaden understandings of American art and transform how its stories are told.

We encourage projects that:

  • generate knowledge and interpretive frameworks that reflect the range and complexity of American art and its 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 art
  • commit to inclusive and equitable practices across project development and implementation in order to lead to structural change

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 only from institutions with United States 501(c)(3) status or its international equivalent. Only the exhibition organizer(s) may apply for support. If co-organizing a temporary exhibition with a partner museum, the co-organizers are encouraged to apply jointly. If co-organizers do not apply jointly, know that we only accept one letter of inquiry per project, from whichever organization applies first (even if that letter of inquiry does not get invited to the proposal stage). Grants are not made to individuals.

Through its Exhibitions program, the Terra Foundation is pleased to provide support for organizations to plan and present temporary exhibitions comprised primarily of loans. Grants may be used for costs associated with planning, research, interpretation, artist fees (except for commissions), shipping, crating, couriers, insurance, object loan fees, construction of temporary gallery walls, conservation/framing, programs, marketing, and dissemination of research, whether virtual or print. We are also happy to support related staff positions (up to 25% of the award amount) and indirect costs (up to 15% of the award amount).

Currently, the Exhibitions grant program at the Terra Foundation does not accept proposals for:

  • the creation or acquisition of existing or commissioned artwork.
  • acquisitions or capital expenditures or permanent equipment (including technology, construction other than temporary gallery walls, contracted exhibition or architectural design, exhibition furniture/vitrines, etc.).
  • exhibitions that are exclusively online
  • exhibitions previously opened that are touring to new venues
  • exhibitions previously declined by the Terra Foundation

Given the competitive nature of this yearly grant program and our efforts to encourage more equitable grantmaking, we do not accept applications for this program from the same institution two years in a row. 

For example, if you were awarded an Exhibitions grant in 2023, you are next eligible to apply for an Exhibitions grant to be awarded in 2025.

Please note, there is one exception: if you received a grant for planning only through this program, you may apply for an implementation grant for the same project the following year or after.

Deadlines

Grant support through this program is offered once yearly.

Fall 2024 decisions

Letter of Inquiry: March 8, 2024, 11:59 p.m. CT
Proposal: May 17, 2024, 11:59 p.m. CT

Fall 2025 decisions

Letter of Inquiry: March 7, 2025, 11:59 p.m. CT
Proposal: May 16, 2025, 11:59 p.m. CT

Grant proposals are reviewed by an external panel made up of curators and arts professionals who reflect a diverse range of backgrounds, perspectives, and approaches.

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): Exhibition Grants Letter of Inquiry
  2. After reviewing the letter of inquiry, the foundation may invite the submission of an online formal grant 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 3–4 weeks of receipt of its letter.

Prospective applicants must complete the Exhibition Grants Letter of Inquiry.

All letters must be written in English.

Download a sample .pdf Exhibitions Grants 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.

Contact Us

If you have questions about Exhibition Grants, please visit the Grant FAQs page, or contact [email protected].

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