The visual arts pertain to work created in 2-D by drawing, painting, digital media like graphic design, and printing. Overall, visual arts grantmaking is divided into composite pieces. There are grants for individual artists, for museums and arts organizations, and for art conservation efforts, among others. While many of IP’s listed visual arts funders conduct grantmaking on a national scale, many state funders exist who fill important gaps frequently overlook certain geographical areas. Regional and state funders focused on a specific geographical area are featured here due to the fact that their work dominates visual arts giving in their state.
All the funder profiles below are updated regularly and we add new ones often. Additionally, some grants for art history, photography, film, or humanities research may be found under Inside Philanthropy’s Higher Education or Film grants. Only paid subscribers can access these resources (subscribe here).
AAS funds fellowships that improve the American people’s understanding of pre-twentieth century history.
This funder makes grants to women academics and supports women and girls through activism and empowerment.
American Express invests in visual arts organizations across the United States, but prioritizes grantmaking to six U.S. locations.
Angell donates generously to arts nonprofits that help disadvantaged youth discover art. Arts-education programs, afterschool workshops and scholarships for aspiring art students are a few examples of what it likes to fund, but it only awards grants in California and New England.
The Anderson Center is an artist community in rural Minnesota that provides opportunities for residencies and retreats. It supports the visual arts in the upper Midwest.
Annenberg is willing to “…take measured risks” in its fine arts grantmaking. We don’t know what the foundation considers to be risky, but at least it presents an open mind in its grantmaking.
Anonymous Was A Woman provides unrestricted grants to female artists over age 40, in recognition of those artists’ accomplishments, growth and quality of work. These grants are a big deal at $25,000 for unrestricted funds.
The Arcadia Fund supports museums, archives and universities in its visual arts grantmaking.
The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports arts projects and organizations within the state.
ArtsKC supports arts projects and organizations within a five county region that includes Missouri and Kansas.
Arts Writers grants support established and emerging writers who write about visual art.
Astraea funds grants for lesbians and queer women, trans and gender non-conforming people, intersex people, and people of color. The foundation also supports rights organizations that advance racial, economic, and gender-related justice.
The Awesome Foundation is a collection of autonomous chapters, each tasked with promoting the cause of awesome.
The foundation sees “community culture” as a vital aspect of positive change, and visual arts as a key component of community culture. But it only funds in some geographic areas.
Supports visual arts education through two funding streams, one concentrating on museum-based conservation and preservation, another on applied visual arts ed for adults and children.
Most grantseekers won't get far here, but Black is a serious collector and arts philanthropist in New York City and beyond.
The BNSF Railway Foundation funds various artistic and cultural institutions.
The Bogliasco Foundation, near Genoa in Italy, provides short residencies to scholars and creative artists from all over the world.
Borick funds nonprofit art organizations that increase access to arts education, art institutions, and museums.
This couple's foundation backs the arts in New York City, with a particular focus on Latin American art. The foundation supports major New York institutions, including the Met, MoMA and New York Botanical Garden.
The Brown Foundation supports visual arts organizations across the United States with a focus on museums.
Cargill supports a variety of arts-related projects; however, it prioritizes projects related to folk and Native American arts.
The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation invests in local art museums and galleries.
This funder makes grants to promote and strengthen Tarrant County, Texas, which includes Fort Worth.
The philanthropic vehicle of Jerrod Perenchio, former chairman and CEO of Univision, and his wife Margaret. Supporting the arts is a top priority, but the couple gives very selectively.
The Cintas foundation prioritizes grantmaking for creative artists with Cuban citizenship or who have a Cuban parent or grandparent. Its funding areas include architecture and design, music composition, the visual arts, and writing.
Finance billionaire Steve Cohen and his wife have an interest in art and a vast fortune. And while their foundation mainly funds in Connecticut and New York City, they've recently been reaching westward to Los Angeles.
The Crankstart Foundation’s visual arts grants support museums around the United States.
Creative Capital grants are limited to $50,000. But getting a Creative Capital grant means that you will get a ton of help with professional development, financial management and marketing—services with immeasurable value for artists.
The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund makes modest grants to feminist visual artists, writers, and poets.
The Diogenes Charitable Foundation’s visual arts grants typically funds larger, well-known museums.
The Dobkin Family Foundation awards grants to support a wide variety of arts institutions and projects across the United States.
This foundation of a national law firm describes itself as “an enthusiastic supporter of cultural programs and initiatives.” An open application process and its commitment to offering general support to arts organizations are compelling reasons to introduce your visual arts program.
Funder created upon the death of famed music publisher Max Dreyfus, who worked with American greats like George Gershwin and Cole Porter. The foundation provides modest grants that make a big difference.
The couple's arts philanthropy focuses largely on New York City, with a focus on photography and contemporary art. They are huge art collectors.
Entergy funds early childhood education organizations that work with low-income and underserved communities.
The Eveillard Family Charitable Trust’s grantmaking invests in music and visual arts institutions.
The Fidelity Foundation views arts and culture, including the visual arts (and especially support of museums), as a primary focus of its philanthropic pursuits. It takes a rigorous business-model approach to the types of projects it funds.
The FirstEnergy Foundation gives very modest amounts to a long list of organizations, but is a steadfast supporter of visual arts organizations, particularly of museums and arts centers.
The Flora Family Foundation makes substantial investments in arts and culture throughout the U.S., and this includes visual arts—though the foundation emphasizes this arena to a lesser degree than others.
With more than $11 billion in assets, the Ford Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States. It prioritizes addressing inequality and fostering social change.
The FCA supports a wide range of visual artists, including photographers, sculptors, performance artists, and more. Expect stiff competition for the small number of unrestricted grants offered here.
The Philp and Irene Toll Gage Foundation quietly supports visual arts organizations in the United States and abroad.
The David Geffen Foundation funds a range of visual arts organizations across the United States.
Philanthropic arm of the major paper manufacturer supports visual arts through its community enrichment focus; unique in that all giving funds general operating support.
The Gilder Foundation supports visual arts organizations around the country with strong support going to museums.
Makes modest grants to a wide range of organizations, primarily but not exclusively in the Indianapolis area. No web presence, so best to reach out to the board.
This funder only supports contemporary visual art, specifically emerging or under-recognized artists, with a focus on promoting their work.
The Getty Foundation's set of initiatives is in constant flux. Some are core to its priorities and are maintained longer than others.
This funder is about as niche as they come. It backs visual artists and arts organizations engaged with architecture.
The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation supports early career artists in painting, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking.
This foundation does not award grants. Rather, it awards a large number of fellowships to fine artists and those working in other disciplines around the world. Guggenheim awarded around 200 fellowships in 2012.
The Hambidge Center’s residency program supports science and scholarship, architecture and design, culinary artisans, and artists of all disciplines.
The Yip Harburg Foundation makes grants in support of social and political activism in keeping with its founder’s legacy.
Grants from the Hearst Foundations benefit existing, high-achieving organizations with budgets over $1 million. Its focus on culture includes a substantial commitment to visual arts, and museums in particular.
The William H. Hurt Foundation invests in fine arts institutions.
This funder is an independent federal government agency that supports projects that highlight the cultural, educational, and intellectual exchange between the United States and Japan.
The Jerome Foundation supports ongoing programs and services for early career artists.
The Edward C. Johnson Fund gives out tens of millions of dollars annually. It prioritizes the arts, with a preference for institutions in the Boston area. Beyond its direct arts giving, the family supports lending art to museums.
The Alex Katz Foundation was launched to collect contemporary art. Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine is a particular site of philanthropy, as are other university museums and art museum.
Based in New York City, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation supports visual arts organizations across the United States; however; it appears to prioritize organizations located on the East Coast.
The Kentucky Foundation for Women prioritizes women and feminist artists in Kentucky.
The F.M. Kirby Foundation support a wide range of visual and performing arts organizations across the country.
Knight’s Fostering the Arts Program is big, making over 100 grants to artists in all disciplines around the country. Knight awards grants for a multitude of artistic endeavors including music, exhibitions, lecture series, dance and museums.
The foundation of a billionaire collector couple isn't open to grantseekers, and mainly gives in New York. But the couple's arts philanthropy is expanding.
The Kresge Foundation supports arts and culture organizations working in low-income areas of major cities across the United States.
Lannan Foundation prioritizes contemporary artists who are in their “mid- to senior-career stages,” and more generally supports work to create a broader audience and awareness of contemporary art.
The Leeway Foundation supports women and trans artists who create art for social change.
Levy’s Arts and Humanities Program supports multiple disciples of fine art. Almost all of its grants in the arts fund art institutions and museums in New York City and the immediate surrounding area. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted.
Luce’s American Art Program awards grants in decorative art and fine art as well as scholarly art programs and dissertations in painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, photography and architecture. Luce’s grantmaking is limited to the United States.
Macy’s makes substantial grants in the area of arts and culture, and visual arts are at the forefront of this giving (especially museums). Some of this funding comes from the foundation, but much more is given directly by the corporation.
The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation focuses its visual arts grants on photography.
The Martin Z. Margulies Foundation focuses on presenting exhibitions and educational programs related to the visual arts.
The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation funds programs which advance arts education in public, charter, and parochial schools in New York City, supports scholarly research in the arts, loans works of art to museums for special exhibitions, and awards art-related project grants to museums, libraries and universities
The Maurer Family Foundation aims to provide financial assistance to those organizations and institutions whose goal is to enrich their communities and the lives of their patrons through programs of cultural value.
The Mellon Foundation principally funds projects that focus on Art History, conservation, and museums.
The Michelin Corporate Foundation supports a wide range of visual arts organizations around the world. It visual arts grantmaking supports work that addresses preserving local heritage.
The Mid-America Alliance makes grants to individual artists and arts organizations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Minnesota State Arts Board supports visual arts projects and organizations within the state.
The Mississippi Arts Commission supports artists and arts organizations working in the state.
The Missouri Arts Council supports arts projects within the state.
This funder mostly backs painters and sculptors, with lucrative grants and residencies available for different career phases and professional circumstances. Applications are typically by invitation only.
The Moody’s Foundation support larger visual arts organizations across the country.
The Morrison & Foerster Foundation supports local and visual arts organizations.
NEA is an independent government organization that leads arts funding and invests in art projects that advance artistic American excellence.
Emerging visual artists 15 to 18 years old are eligible for National Youth Arts Foundation grants. The NYAF’s goal is to cultivate and develop the next generation of artists with mentorship, scholarships, and other opportunities.
Open Meadows grants support women and girls leading and benefitting from art projects that address activism and social justice.
This foundation has a very specific grant focus—American painters aged at least 45, not well known, and in financial need. It’s niche to be sure, but if you fit the bill, there’s nothing else like it.
The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage awards grants exclusively to organizations and individuals in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region. It supports artists and organizations with ambitious, imaginative projects.
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation gives grants to painters, sculptors, and artists who work on and with paper, including printmakers.
In its grantmaking dedicated to visual arts, Puffin Foundation supports photographers across the United States.
The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation invests in visual arts journalists, writers, and critics.
Rauschenberg supports small and mid-sized visual arts groups and organizations.
Founded by Bay Area couple Bill and Sakurako Fisher, the Sakana Foundation supports museums, theaters, dance, and more.
Salesforce takes a broad approach toward its grantmaking and invests in a variety of visual arts-related organizations and projects.
The San Francisco Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in the nation and funds a broad range of equity-focused nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area.
The South Arts Fund supports organizations that present touring artists from out of state, with an eye toward enriching the economic, social, cultural, and educational vitality of the South. The fund connects the arts to key state and national policies and advances excellence in the arts.
The Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council supports artists and arts development in the region. Its grantmaking encompasses dance, literary arts, theatre, music, and the visual arts.
Sprint largely awards its visual arts grants to smaller and local museums, arts, and culture centers.
Surdna's arts support falls under its Thriving Cultures Program, which supports "efforts to encourage teens to explore the arts, involve artists in community development projects and foster the growth and success of local artists as economic engines and agents for social change."
Thoma's visual arts grants support curatorial research and planning, arts writing, publications, exhibitions and performances, lectures, symposia, and educational events.
The Thoma Foundation was established to distinguish Chicago couple Carl and Marilynn Thoma’s initiatives in, and support of, the visual arts.
Tremaine supports projects that seek to expand career opportunities for visual artists, as well as skills building, networking, and learning programs for curators.
This funder places a consistent emphasis on culture and the arts. Funding for the visual arts is at the top of the foundation's arts giving list.
United States Artists gives out as many as 50 unrestricted $50,000 grants directly to artistic creators each year. Support for visual artists is at the forefront of this giving. This is a very competitive grant.
A significant grantor of visual arts organizations in 25 states—particularly museums. The foundation views arts and culture support as part of a larger context of community development and uplift.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts fosters "innovative artistic expression and the creative process by encouraging and supporting cultural organizations that in turn, directly or indirectly, support artists and their work."
Supports arts and culture in the 44 states where Wells Fargo does business. Support for visual arts (particularly museums) is a major focus.
Grants go to organizations in western states that present the work of visual artists who also reside in western states. Within this geographic range, many opportunities are available.
The Wyoming Arts Council supports visual arts projects within the state.
The VIA Fund supports individual artists, curators, and small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations working the contemporary arts space.
The Zegar Family Foundation’s visual arts grants generally focus on museums and historical preservation organizations.