Harpo Foundation Grants 2012


2012 Grant Cycle

Harpo Foundation will use a new 2-step application process to review proposals submitted by non-profit institutions and fiscal sponsors who seek support on behalf of under recognized visual artists. Unlike in 2010 and 2011, the foundation will not use a thematic focus to prioritize funding in 2012.


The foundation will consider proposals that directly support the production of new work by visual artists and/or collaborative teams who are under recognized by the field. This production may happen in the context of an installation, public intervention, residency, or exhibition.


In its grantmaking, Harpo Foundation prioritizes projects that advance and cross the boundaries of visual media and artistic disciplines. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of the quality of the artist’s work, the potential to expand aesthetic inquiry, and the strength of its relationship to the foundation’s priority to provide support to visual artists who are under recognized by the field.


The foundation awards between 10-15 grants annually and funding decisions are made by the Board of Directors. As a general guideline, requests should not exceed $10,000 per year. Allowable use-of-funds includes direct support to the artist for honoraria, commissioning fees, production costs, and travel.

All projects funded during the 2012 funding cycle should be completed by September 2013. Projects that are scheduled in 2012 but happen prior to the foundation’s November notification date may be eligible for funding on a retroactive basis.

In rare cases the foundation will fund multiyear projects up to 3 years to provide support to artists whose projects rely on the passage of time as an essential component to its concept and structure. Of interest are durational approaches as they relate to changes in the physical environment, or as they inform an artist’s process. Proposals must demonstrate that the complexity of an artist’s project -its temporal and/or spatial dimensions – is time dependent. For example, a project that cannot be completed independent of a particular time frame because its very structure is based on seasonal shifts or a requirement to visit and document a certain place a number of times to collect information or research how a subject changes over time. The foundation is interested in supporting projects that will allow time and its properties of change to become a part of the project’s cumulative process.

Single year projects that have durational qualities will be considered under this special interest as well.

Questions about the relevance of a project to this multi year funding should be addressed to the Director by emailing Julie Deamer at jdeamer@harpofoundation.org.


  • Tax exempt 501c3 organizations are eligible.
  • Institutions in countries outside of the United States are eligible but if awarded must be prepared to supply the foundation with a legal affidavit written in English qualifying its tax exempt activities and structure.
  • Presenting venues and hosting organizations may only submit one application a year.
  • Individual artists may not apply on behalf of themselves but may apply in cooperation with a fiscal sponsor. Unlike presenting venues and hosting organizations, artist-support organizations that serve as fiscal sponsors may submit on behalf of more than one artist a year.

Application Process and Deadlines
Harpo Foundation receives many more applications than it is able to fund. Therefore, as a way to guide applicants through an open process, letters of inquiry must be submitted prior to being invited to submit a full application.

Step One: Letter of Inquiry

  • Eligible candidates interested in applying for a grant must first submit this Letter of Inquiry Form online
  • Letter of Inquiry Deadline: February 1, 2012 (11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time)
  • Notification: Applicants will be notified by March 15, 2012 if a full application is requested

Step Two: Full Proposal

  • Applicants whose projects best match the foundation’s priorities and interests will be invited to submit a full proposal by March 15, 2012
  • Applicants must submit full proposals using the foundation’s online application (available March 15, 2012)
  • Full proposal deadline: April 20, 2012 (11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time)
  • Notification: Grant decisions announced no later than November 1, 2012
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