Recognizing current and historical inequities in presentations and understandings of American art history, the Terra Foundation encourages temporary loan exhibitions that address these imbalances and exclusions at institutions worldwide.
Terra Foundation Exhibitions grants provide support for organizations to plan and present temporary exhibitions drawn primarily from works not in their permanent collections.
To be considered, visual art projects should focus on arts of the United States, including Native American arts. The projects we support can be focused on historical or contemporary art. Contemporary art projects should offer a reflective and critical engagement with histories, arts, and/or art histories associated with American contexts.
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.
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 foundation supports visual arts projects that question and broaden understandings of American art and transform how stories of American art 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 if possible and where relevant to the project and/or its audiences.
For this program, the Terra Foundation accepts proposals only from institutions with United States 501(c)(3) status or its international equivalent. If co-organizing a temporary exhibition with a partner museum, the co-organizers must apply jointly. Grants are not made to individuals.
The Terra Foundation does 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 acceptable); exhibitions with works primarily borrowed from a living artist are acceptable
- exhibitions that are exclusively online
- exhibitions previously opened that are touring to new venues
- exhibitions previously declined by the Terra Foundation
Grant support through this program is offered once yearly, with a Board of Directors vote each fall.
Fall 2023 decisions
Letter of Inquiry: March 10, 2023, midnight CT
Proposal: May 19, 2023, midnight CT
The first step in the application process is a letter of inquiry. Those invited to submit proposals will be notified within 3–4 weeks after the LOI due date. The board of directors votes on invited proposals in late fall 2023, with decisions communicated to you soon afterwards.
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:
- Before submitting a formal proposal to the Terra Foundation, prospective applicants must complete a letter of inquiry (LOI). The LOI link will be available soon.
- 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 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. The LOI link will be available soon.
All letters must be written in English.
A sample .pdf Exhibitions Grants Letter of Inquiry, for reference only, will be available soon.
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.