The 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.
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. They are selected for the aesthetic and historical merit of the art as well as on the intellectual rigor and originality of the exhibition’s conceptual framework. See recently funded exhibitions.
Click “Expand” below for details on the competition process and how to apply.
April 30th - Deadline for institutions to complete the letter of inquiry form through the online portal. Applicants will be informed of decisions by May 17th. Approximately 30 institutions will be invited to submit full proposals.
June 25th - Deadline for selected institutions to submit full proposals through the online portal
November - Awards are announced
Eligibility Requirements and Restrictions
Eligible projects may address any time period and/or medium, excepting performance art, film, 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 online 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, or technological.
- Art of the United States, including Native American art, should constitute significantly more than half of the checklist.
- The organizing institution’s permanent collection should not constitute more than half of the exhibition checklist.
- Exhibitions with substantial involvement of an artist's estate or commercial dealer cannot be considered.
- 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 per year can be submitted per institution.
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 email@example.com.
Through its Responsive Grants, the American Art Program seeks to support a wide range of collection-based projects that advance the understanding and presentation of art of the United States. Eligible collection areas include paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, decorative arts, naïve and outsider art, traditional and studio crafts, architecture, design, and all aspects of Native American arts.
Prospective grantees are encouraged to consider the reinvigoration of collections, for new and established audiences, as a primary goal. Successful applicants will initiate or apply new research and/or fresh approaches to collection-focused documentation, publications, reinterpretation, reinstallations, and in-house or touring exhibitions. They are encouraged to consider digitization projects in tandem with efforts to place works of art on view.
Each year the Foundation will support a number of substantial, carefully crafted projects that propose in-depth and multi-layered approaches to the study and exhibition of discrete areas of permanent collections. Applicants are encouraged to consider working with exceptional or challenging collection areas that have been under-utilized. One recent example was a three-year grant to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, for a Whistler Watercolor Initiative that includes a collection-based exhibition, distinct print and on-line catalogues, a post-doctoral curatorial position, an object study workshop for emerging experts in the field, and summer internships for museum diversity.
The American Art Program seeks to support curatorial training and opportunities in the form of term positions linked to Responsive grant projects. Apprentice-level positions should involve continuous mentorship by more senior curators associated with the proposed work.
Each year the Program will also fund several projects located entirely in museum or collection archives.
Although independent conservation projects are funded only rarely, conservation components can be included in proposals for collections-based projects.
Projects ineligible for funding by the American Art Program include those that deal exclusively with film, performance art, or the work of emerging artists. The Program does not fund the creation of works of art, the purchase of works of art, the production of documentary films about American art, or projects in the performing arts.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support for scholarly training in Art History is offered through the annual awarding of ten dissertation fellowships to doctoral candidates at colleges and universities in the United States. The fellowship program is administered by the American Council of Learned Societies on behalf of the Luce Foundation.