We are at the precipice of a crisis in our art. 

Prodigious effort is going into programs and initiatives that create supply – opportunities to educate artists and help them create and exhibit work – which is resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of fine art photographers and huge volumes of their art.  Little support focuses on creating a demand for this art.  Demand is not keeping up with supply, and if not corrected, will create a huge imbalance where there is an abundance of art but no audience for it.  Crusade for Art is dedicated to cultivating demand for art.

A sizable financial award to artists who are creatively exploring this systemic problem of demand will put our greatest resource – the brainpower of our creative force, our artists – against this challenge and have the best chance of finding solutions.

We will not have a Crusade Engagement Grant cycle in 2017. Check back with your best ideas in 2018!


Want some more inspiration?

2016 finalists and winner
2015 finalists and winner
2014 finalists and winner

What we are looking for in a project

The Crusade Engagement Grant provides funding to develop and implement an innovative and effective way to connect audiences to photography. We are looking for projects that focus on creating demand for photography and provide a concrete plan to create one-to-one connections between the photographer, the viewer, and the audience.

We are looking for the most creative and original ideas to create and foster demand for fine art photography. We are looking to break new ground here and believe that artists themselves are best positioned to conduct these experiments.  That is why the grant size is substantial.


We are interested in well-developed projects that:

  • Create an aesthetic experience – one that actively involves the viewer’s senses, emotion, and intellect
  • Provide opportunities for interacting with the photographer and/or the images
  • Lower the perceptual barriers to participation with art (inexperience with and lack of knowledge about art, intimidating situations or environments, perception that art is not accessible, etc.)
  • Clearly identify the target audience (not “the general public”) for a body or type of work and how the project will specifically aim to reach that audience

We are not interested in projects that:

  • Seek funding to create or complete a body of work
  • Seek funding to mount an exhibition (unless the exhibition has unique features designed to attract and engage new audiences)
  • Seek funding to participate in a class or workshop
  • Seek funding for book production

Eligibility Criteria

  • Any single photographer, project organizer, or group of artists 18 years or older is eligible to apply.
  • There is no limit to the number of project ideas an individual can submit, however each project must be submitted in a separate application.

Grant Cycle Process

The goal of offering a grant of this size is to motivate a large volume of photographers to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them. In the initial application, photographers/project organizers must submit a description (500 words or less) of their project idea and a $25 application fee. Applications for the 2017 grant cycle will open in the spring.

Five to ten finalists (chosen by the Executive Director and Board of Directors of Crusade for Art) are invited to submit a full application. The full application requires applicants to include a detailed project description, timeline, budget, projected audience reach and expected impact of the program. There is no additional application fee for finalist applications.

A selection committee made up of three photographic industry leaders selects the grant award recipient based on the proposed project’s creativity, originality and probability for success as well as the applicant’s credibility and references. The three members of the 2016 selection committee were:

  • Michelle Dunn Marsh, Founder of Minor Matters Books and Executive Director at Photo Center Northwest
  • Laura Roumanos, Executive Producer and Co-Founder, United Photo Industries and Photoville
  • Gordon Stettinius, Founder, Candela Books + Gallery

Submissions are evaluated on their creativity/originality, likelihood for success, impact and sustainability.


Who has control of my idea after submission?

The artist has total control and ownership of the idea, with the limitation below.  

Are submissions public or private?

We reserve the right to publicize the best ideas, as well as make progress reports about their execution.

What is the time frame in which the idea must be carried out? 

The expectation is that the winning project will be executed in 12 months, though we understand that some plans may take longer, and a winning idea would not expire then (or ever). The one year marker is not a rule, just a time frame in which we want to see the project substantially implemented.

How is the grant funded?

The grant is funded solely through private donations.  

Can photographers and project coordinators outside the United States apply? 

Yes. There are no geographic restrictions.