Terra Foundation For American Art Announces $2.5 Million in Grants for Art Design Chicago 

Terra Foundation For American Art facade (photo courtesy of the Terra Foundation of American Art). 

The Terra Foundation for American Art recently announced a broad slate of grants given in support of Art Design Chicago, a wide-ranging initiative the foundation is spearheading to explore Chicago’s vibrant creative history and enduring influence on art and design. Following a board meeting on June 20, Terra leadership confirmed 33 grants for Art Design Chicago projects given to 31 cultural organizations located in and beyond Chicago, totaling approximately $2.5 million. Grant monies will go toward the creation of a diverse range of exhibitions, publications, projects and academic and public programs, which will illuminate voices and narratives that were critical to the evolution of Chicago as a cultural epicenter of art and design movements globally. Art Design Chicago will take place throughout 2018.

With consideration to the breadth and depth of the city’s art and design legacy, the Terra Foundation expanded its content parameters for grants to encompass projects about graphic, commercial and product design as well as film, in addition to those focusing on the fine and decorative art forms it most frequently funds. The broader grant guidelines for Art Design Chicago also provided opportunities for a wider swath of nonprofits to participate, in particular smaller, community-oriented organizations. Among the entities receiving grants this June, 15 received Terra Foundation support for the first time. These include Bradley University, Chicago Design Museum, Chicago Parks Foundation, National Public Housing Museum, South Side Community Art Center, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Video Game Art Gallery, and University of Chicago Center in Paris, among others.

The grants announced recently follow a series of earlier Art Design Chicago grants for scholarly resources and programs, exhibition research-and-development, and other project support given between 2013 and 2017, totaling more than $2.23 million. Organizations interested in developing public programming for Art Design Chicago have another opportunity to apply for funding through the application process currently open on the Terra Foundation’s website. The submission process will close in fall 2017, and the final round of Art Design Chicago grants will be announced in early 2018.

In total, the Terra Foundation is investing $6.5 million in bringing the initiative to fruition. This includes grants given to cultural partners as well as funds for promotional and administrative support. Additional support for Art Design Chicago is provided by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Chicago Community Trust and Leo Burnett are providing in-kind support.

​“Throughout our history, the Terra Foundation has supported a diversity of Chicago-related projects. With our 40th anniversary approaching, we celebrate and reaffirm our commitment to our hometown in a way that recognizes its numerous and significant contributions to the creation and experience of art and design around the world,” said Elizabeth Glassman, President and CEO of the Terra Foundation. “We are honored and excited by the scholarly quality, depth, and innovative spirit of our partners’ proposals, and the enthusiasm with which so many organizations took on the opportunity to highlight the dynamic, yet lesser-known, narratives of Chicago. We look forward to continuing to support our many partners in the development of Art Design Chicago and to bringing these exciting exhibitions, publications, and events to the public for their enjoyment.”

All of the Art Design Chicago grantees were selected through an open application process, with submissions reviewed by Terra Foundation staff and external reviewers with expertise across a spectrum of art and design-related fields. Individual grants ranged from approximately $5,000 to $200,000, depending on the format, scope, and scale of the project as well as the applicant’s expressed need.

​Partners for the initiative range widely in mission, focus, and approach, from the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum to the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and from the South Side Community Art Center to The Art Institute of Chicago, and many others. Together, they represent the spectacular diversity of cultural organizations throughout Chicago and the richness of innovation and artistry that has and continues to characterize the city.