Letter from our President & CEO, Summer 2022

Dear Friends,

For the past year, we have been engaged in a strategic planning process to evolve our mission and to clarify our vision and the values that guide our work. This process involved deep listening, and we learned from and were inspired by our partners in the field of American art as well as by our peers in philanthropy. As we re-envision our philanthropic role, we acknowledge that supporting expansive narratives of American art requires structural change. Central to this effort is our commitment to projects that reimagine American art—its histories, systems, and practices—and that share inclusive narratives developed through partnership and collaboration.

As our strategy takes shape, we have adopted revised grant guidelines, launched new grant programs and initiatives, and expanded our network of partners. Our strategic development is, and will continue to be, an adaptive and iterative process, building on the foundation’s past successes and core commitment to creating connections through dialogue and strengthening networks around the globe.

We are excited to share with you an overview of the Terra Foundation’s renewed directions, including our guiding mission:

In partnership with organizations and individuals locally and globally, the Terra Foundation fosters intercultural dialogues and encourages transformative practices to expand narratives of American art.

We look forward to working alongside partners worldwide to realize this mission and vision:

To illuminate diverse histories, inspire present connections, and create equitable futures.

We also recognize that our mission, vision, and values should and will continue to evolve in a sustained process of learning and growing in dialogue with our partners and communities. Ongoing learning and collaboration are among our core values.

Our grantmaking priorities, evident across the foundation’s programs, emphasize an expanded aperture on American art and are focused on the voices represented, the range of content presented, and the implementation of new practices. 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, communities, and audiences who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color as well as narratives that have historically been excluded from accounts of American art
  • commit to inclusive and equitable practices across project development and implementation in order to lead to structural change

We are actively testing different approaches to grantmaking and revising our application processes. You will see increased support to organizations that model transformative change in the field. Through such support, we understand, among other things, the impact of permanent collections within cultural institutions. Currently, you can apply for grants to support collection reinstallation planning and implementation as well as the development of temporary exhibitions drawn from museum collections.

The foundation’s art collection is an inextricable part of our organization’s history and an active agent of our global mission. We are currently reimagining loan programs and approaches to interpretation and collection building. We are also working with partners worldwide to reconsider our research and learning programs and establish new opportunities for professional development.

Two central responsive grant programs—convenings and exhibitions—have been revised to provide support for projects that address current and historical inequities in presentations and understandings of American art history. These grant opportunities are open to organizations throughout the world. The convening grant program is focused on projects that foster exchange and collaboration, whereas the exhibition grant program provides support for planning and implementation for temporary exhibitions.

This work cannot be done alone, and we extend a special thank you to all our partners and peers who offered invaluable feedback and collaboration along the way to help shape our evolving directions.

As we continue to work toward fulfilling our mission, we invite you to contact us with your ideas for opportunities and needs in the field. We are committed to working together to imagine new futures for American art.

Sincerely,

Sharon Corwin
President & CEO