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American Art Application Guidelines

These are the guidelines for the American Art Program. You should also familiarize yourself with the Foundation’s general guidelines before beginning the application process.

The American Art Program support projects in three grant categories:

Exhibition Competition

The Henry Luce Foundation’s American Art Program supports scholarly loan exhibitions that significantly advance the study and understanding of art of the United States, including all facets of Native American art.

For more information about the program and an overview of the types of work supported, visit the Program Overview.

Proposals for loan exhibitions are considered once each year, and grants are awarded on a competitive basis. An external panel of advisors, including academic art historians, curators, and art journalists, participates in the final stages of the competition, reviewing all of the proposals.

Should you have questions in advance of completing the Letter of Inquiry, you may e-mail them to Dr. Teresa A. Carbone, Program Director for American Art at

Application Calendar

April 1st - Deadline for institutions to complete the letter of inquiry form. Responses will be made by the end of April. Approximately 30 institutions are invited to submit full proposals.
June 1st - Deadline for selected institutions to submit full proposals
November - Awards are announced

Eligibility Requirements and Restrictions

Eligible projects may address any time period and/or medium, excepting performance art and the work of emerging artists, and must result in substantial exhibitions and accompanying publications. Proposals will be judged on the aesthetic and historical merit of the art under consideration, as well as on the intellectual rigor and originality of the exhibition’s conceptual framework. Competitive projects will be concertedly focused on original art objects of distinct quality.

  • Letters of Inquiry must be submitted by the originating institution, rather than by a participating-venue institution. (Letters are not accepted from individuals.)
  • The program does not support projects that are primarily historical, documentary, social, technological, or that concern private collections.
  • Exhibitions with substantial involvement of an artist's estate or commercial dealer cannot be considered.
  • The organizing institution’s permanent collection should not constitute more than half of the exhibition checklist.
  • A single, privately-held collection should constitute no more than half of the exhibition checklist.
  • The proposed exhibition should not open within the calendar year of the annual exhibition review to which it has been submitted, or before March of the following year.
  • Museums outside of the United States may submit appropriate projects for consideration only if they have proof of valid non-profit status provided by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
  • Only one exhibition can be submitted per institution.
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Responsive Grants

This category enables the Foundation to support projects that address the prevailing needs of the American art field and are crucial to its development. Successful projects include, but are not limited to, permanent collection reinstallations, digitization, and archives of American art material.

Letters of inquiry can be submitted at any time through our online portal. Should you have questions in advance of completing the Letter of Inquiry, you may e-mail them to Dr. Teresa A. Carbone, Program Director for American Art at


The American Art program does not include support for the performing arts or grants for film or broadcast media. The program also does not fund the creation of new artwork.

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Dissertation Fellowships

The Luce Foundation awards ten fellowships to doctoral candidates working on dissertations in American art through a national competition each year.

This program is administered by the American Council of Learned Societies on behalf of the Luce Foundation. Visit the ACLS website for more information on the fellowships and the application process.

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