Covenant Presbyterian Church is a congregation that meets in an old Polish Catholic church
at Damen and Dickens Avenues in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood. The church has
initiated the Covenant Project Grant to encourage proposals from artists for the creation of
works, events, situations, performances, transdisciplinary projects, etc., that can bring together
members of the congregation with the larger Chicago community. Anything from an exhibition of
paintings to a video blog to a meal to a guerrilla intervention to a series of performative lectures
is welcome. The budget is $1000.00, which we intend to give as two $500.00 grants. Proposals
are accepted on a rolling basis.
The church has some space and physical plant to offer to artists, including a fellowship building
with numerous classrooms and a large well-equipped kitchen, and an eighty year old Gothic
Revival sanctuary. The proposed project does not need to occur on the Covenant premises in
order to be considered for the grant, although it is expected that Covenant attendees would be
able to conveniently participate with or view the project somehow.
Covenant Presbyterian Church wants to have a hand in building a great city. In an era of
exciting grassroots funding initiatives for art, institutions less directly engaged with visual fine art
have not been prominent among those offering new ways to gather and distribute funds for
culture. Even the most direct granting programs have limitations, however, which is why faith
communities provide a welcome addition to the pool of potential resources available to artists.
While Covenant's funds for art projects are not vast, there is very little that, in principle, we
would consider off limits for funding; the criteria for selection are not religious in any way.
The church facilities (physical plant and communication) are available as resources, but most
significantly, the church offers a congregation.
This large community not only provides money for the grant through church tithing, but also
represents an engaged audience for granted projects. The selection committee would not
necessarily seek to provide this audience with art that all congregants would traditionally
associate with the church, nor associate with fine art, but rather they would want to offer
experiences that broadens opportunities for interaction and understanding between those
focused on thoughtful and challenging creative production, and those united around traditional
observations of faith.
We remind ourselves as often as we can that God has called us to love our neighbors and work
for their good with the same tenacity with which we love ourselves and seek our own good. This
means that finding ways to seek the welfare of our city and the people who live in it is important
to us. One way we can do both of those things is by supporting both the rich contribution that art
makes to our city and the artists who create it.
For more information or to apply, please contact:
Bert Stabler, firstname.lastname@example.org, (773) 227-8308