15/01/2020 – Terra foundation grants for American Art research

american art terra foundation

What, when & where

Terra Foundation for American Art Research Travel Grants. 

The Research Travel Grants will be awarded annually, providing support to doctoral, postdoctoral, and senior scholars from both the US and outside the US for research topics dedicated to the art and visual culture of the United States prior to 1980. 

“We are excited to expand our partnership with the Terra Foundation to provide continued support for scholars of American art,” said David Raizman, interim executive director of CAA. “Research funding for domestic and international scholars is essential to the vitality of the field, and these generous grants from the Terra Foundation will facilitate the advancement of their work. The inclusion of international scholars for these grants is especially gratifying, as it promotes new perspectives and engages the wider scholarly community.” 

The grants foster firsthand engagement with American artworks and art-historical resources; build networks for non-US-based scholars studying American art; and expand access to artworks, scholarly materials, and communities for US-based scholars studying American art in an international context. 


Awards of up to $9,000 will be granted on a per project basis by a jury formed by CAA. The first awards will be announced in March of 2020. 

Deadline & how to apply

The deadline for application materials is January 15.

All application materials (including letters of recommendation) must be submitted in English.  

Application components: 

  • Applicant information
  • A copy or scan of a government-issued picture ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
  • Two letters of recommendation (for doctoral students, one letter should be from their dissertation advisor or professor)
  • A project proposal which includes:
    • An overview of the research project, outlining which part of the research is expected to be accomplished during the travel period 
    • An explanation for why the research requires study in the US/outside of the US, highlighting the archives or other resources to be consulted 
    • An explanation for the need of the grant to complete the project successfully 
    • A summary of the anticipated outcomes of the travel period 
    • A detailed description of the proposed itinerary with destinations and travel dates 
  • An itemized travel budget 
  • A curriculum vitae

Eligibility Criteria

Projects eligible for consideration meet the following criteria: 

  • Research topics are dedicated to the art and visual culture of the United States prior to 1980 (i.e. visual art dating from c. 1500 to 1980, made by artists from what is now the geographic area of the United States).
  • All visual art categories are eligible except architecture and commercial film/animation. Projects should place objects and practices in an art-historical perspective. 
  • For projects with transnational or transcultural content, eligibility will be determined on the significance of the topic for US art history.

Eligible candidates include: 

  • For research travel grants to the US: doctoral students, postdoctoral scholars (having completed their degrees within the last 5 years), and senior scholars enrolled in or working at universities located outside the US or independent scholars with a PhD residing outside of the US.
  • For International research travel grants for US-based Scholars: doctoral students, postdoctoral scholars (having completed their degrees within the last 5 years), and senior scholars enrolled in or working at universities located in the US or independent scholars with a PhD residing in the US.

Note: Candidates that are not based in the country of their institutional affiliation should provide further clarifications on their funding needs. 

Unsuccessful candidates may reapply annually as desired. Recipients may not reapply for the same project in subsequent years; however, they may submit a new application for a substantially different project once every four years. 

Doctoral candidates who have applied for and received both research travel grants grants and TFAA-funded Immersion Semesters (administered by the Courtauld Insitute of Art, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Université Paris Diderot, and Université Paris Nanterre) may only participate in one of the programs within a 12-month period. If an applicant is selected for multiple programs, they must select only one in which to participate. 

Questions? Please contact Cali Buckley, Grants and Special Programs Manager, at cbuckley@collegeart.org.

Information about Funding

Up to 25 grants are awarded annually as follows:

  • Up to $6,000 per grant for doctoral students from Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; 
  • Up to $7,000 per grant for doctoral students from Asia, Africa, and Latin America; 
  • Up to $9,000 per grant for all postdoctoral and senior scholars. 

Other info, Links & conditions

The Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. Recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art, the foundation provides opportunities for interaction and study, beginning with the presentation and growth of its own art collection in Chicago. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research, and educational programs. Implicit in such activities is the belief that art has the potential to both distinguish cultures and unite them. 

CAA’s administration of the Terra Foundation for American Art Research Travel Grants continues a long history at CAA of supporting travel and scholarship for professionals and students in the visual arts and design. Other grants offered by CAA include the Professional Development Fellowships for Graduate Students, the Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Grant, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, the Millard Meiss Publication Fund, the CAA Getty International Program, Travel Grants to the CAA Annual Conference, and introduced last year, the Art History Fund for Travel to Special Exhibitions. 

Now administered and juried by CAA, the Terra Foundation initiated this grant program in 2003 to fund European candidates. It was expanded to reach candidates worldwide in 2012 and opened to US-based researchers in 2017 to travel abroad, developing American art scholar networks around the world with a total of 173 grantees since its inception. 


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