Overview of STUDIO Grant Programs

The STUDIO manages several grant programs to support atypical, anti-disciplinary, and inter-institutional research and education at Carnegie Mellon. Our flagship programs, the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier and the Steiner Visitor Invitation Grants, provide financial, administrative, and logistical support to actively-affiliated faculty, staff, and students from any department of the University. 

The Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier

The FRFAF is an endowment to encourage the creation of innovative artworks by the faculty, students and staff of Carnegie Mellon University. With this fund, the STUDIO seeks to develop a cache of groundbreaking and interdisciplinary projects created at CMU. The FRFAF supports between twenty to sixty projects per year through grants between $500 and $2000. Any faculty, student or staff person actively affiliated with CMU is eligible to apply, regardless of their home department.

Steiner Visitor Invitation Grants

The Sylvia and David Steiner Speaker Series brings creative individuals who push boundaries, defy definition, and demonstrate excellence in the arts, to our campus for deep engagement with our students and faculty. This grant program provides support to CMU faculty, staff and students who wish to organize a Steiner visitor for their courses, departments, degree cohorts, or student clubs.

Residency-In-Your-Room Fellowships

During the second half of the Spring 2020, in consideration of the abrupt impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine, the STUDIO offered sixty-eight $200 grants to students enrolled in the CMU College of Fine Arts, to support creative work of all kinds. As of Fall 2020, this grant program is not accepting new applications; students seeking support from the STUDIO for creative projects should apply to FRFAF.

The Maddy Varner Mastication Grant for Time and/or Teeth Based Works

STUDIO Alumna Maddy Varner’s generous gift supports a $500 award for “work that chews the cud,” such as art about chewing, or creative inquiry which takes a long time to realize. The first recipient of the award was School of Art senior, Lumi Barron, who spent more than 700 hours training squirrels to act in tiny domestic scenes. Awards are made at the Director’s discretion.

Director’s Fund Sponsorships

The STUDIO’s Director’s Fund was created to put power behind original ideas that can only come from our CMU community. With this fund, the STUDIO sponsors faculty-led, student-intensive initiatives that cross boundaries, create new collaborations, and push cultural norms. In 2019, through the generosity of David and Nathalie Cowan, the Director’s Fund underwent a significant expansion, greatly enhancing the STUDIO’s ability to offer support to groundbreaking projects. Available exclusively to full-time CMU faculty, sponsorships can provide up to $2,500 of flexible research funding and other support for one academic year. Proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis, and awards are made at the Director’s discretion in consultation with STUDIO staff and stakeholders. To learn more, please schedule a time to discuss your project with STUDIO Associate Director, Tom Hughes.