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 believe that there is an elaborate and well-funded support system available today on the “supply” side of the art industry – grants, workshops, MFA programs, photo reviews – but not enough effort or support on the “demand” side. 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.

Read about the 2014 Crusade Engagement Grant finalists and winner here.

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



  • Any single photographer, project organizer, or group of photographers 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.



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 $20 application fee.

Five to ten finalists (chosen by the Executive and Assistant Directors of Crusade for Art and approved by the Board of Directors) will be invited to submit a full application.  The full application will require 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 will select 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 selection committee are:

  • Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography at The New Yorker
  • Karen Irvine, Curator and Associate Director at Museum of Contemporary Photography
  • Rupert Jenkins, Executive Director at Colorado Photographic Arts Center

INITIAL APPLICATIONS for the 2015 grant cycle will open in march.



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.  

Is there any copyright/IP protocol? 

Artists retain all copyrights and control of all IP, though again, we want to be able to share the best ideas.

Can photographers and project coordinators outside the United States apply? 

Yes. There are no geographic restrictions.