Call for Proposals:
CCA Freedom of Expression Exhibition at Cornell AAP

Due Date: November 1, 2023
Exhibition: March 2024, Bibliowicz Family Gallery & John Hartell Gallery

Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) announces a call for proposals to students, staff, and faculty for creative projects that showcase Cornell University’s 2023-24 academic year theme of Freedom of Expression. This funding opportunity aims to support interdisciplinary, innovative, and collaborative projects that delve into the realms of free expression and the arts.

President Martha Pollack states “The free exchange of ideas underpins everything we do as a university — educating new generations of global citizens, pursuing novel research and scholarship, and advancing the public good. We encourage Cornellians everywhere to challenge personal beliefs, to consider new ideas and unfamiliar perspectives, and to foster discussion around core freedoms for democracy and higher education.” Please review President Pollack’s full announcement and learn more at

The intention of this grant program is to support Cornell’s theme for the 2023-24 academic year. We encourage applicants to explore the topic of freedom of expression and how it relates to the arts. Projects should engage actively with these themes, aiming to enrich the Cornell community with a deeper appreciation for and understanding of freedom of expression, ultimately fostering a more vibrant and inclusive academic environment.

Grant Funds

  • Up to $2,500 may be requested for each project
  • Up to 15 projects will be funded


  • Applicants must be current students, faculty, or staff members at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, or Cornell Tech in New York City during the 2023-24 academic year.
  • Student organizations must be registered with SAFC or GPSAFC.
  • Departments and programs are also welcome to apply, provided the primary applicant is a current faculty member.


  • Project proposals are due by November 1, 2023
  • Notice of awards will be communicated by December 1, 2023
  • Funding disbursement is scheduled to begin January 1, 2024
  • Projects must be ready for showcasing by March 2, 2024 at 8am (installation day for the Freedom of Expression exhibition)

Exhibition Details

  • Funded projects will be included in the CCA Freedom of Expression exhibition at Cornell AAP, scheduled for March 4-22, 2024 in John Hartell Gallery, Bibliowicz Family Gallery, and Rand Hall Roof.
  • The curation of each space is dependent upon which projects are funded. When submitting an application, please indicate which space(s) are compatible with your project.

Project Criteria

  • Feasibility: An examination of the practicality of the project, including timeline, budget, and available resources. Additionally, the capacity of the applicants to successfully execute the project based on their qualifications and experience will be considered.
  • Thematic Alignment: The extent to which the project aligns with and contributes to the exploration and understanding of freedom of expression and the arts.
  • Impact: The potential significance of the project in advancing the conversation around freedom of expression.
  • Creativity: Evaluation of the innovation of the project in addressing the theme of freedom of expression, along with an assessment of whether the project offers creative and new perspectives, approaches, or solutions to challenges related to freedom of expression.
  • Engagement: Evaluation of the degree to which the project actively involves the community, encourages dialogue, and fosters open discussions on issues related to freedom of expression. The presence of evidence of partnerships or collaborations that enhance community engagement will be noted.
  • Inclusivity: Assessment of the project’s commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and the promotion of underrepresented voices in discussions of freedom of expression. Additionally, efforts to create a safe and respectful space for diverse perspectives will be considered.

Review Process

  • Grant Review Committee: Current faculty, staff, and student representatives from a diverse array of colleges and departments throughout Cornell will serve as the review committee.
  • Project Proposal Submission: Applicants will submit their projects for review using SlideRoom. Project proposals will include a narrative, biographies or mission statements, collaborators, a detailed budget, and work samples.
  • Initial Review: The Grant Review Committee will ensure all projects meet the minimum criteria for eligibility, alignment with theme, and feasibility. Projects that do not meet these minimum criteria are eliminated from the next round.
  • Primary Review: Each committee member will score each project independently, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest). Committee members will provide comments and feedback on each project to justify their scores. During this round, committee members use the Selection Criteria (see above) to determine their scores. Then, these scores are used to rank the projects.
  • Panel Discussion: The committee convenes to discuss the projects collectively and debate the merits of each project. The committee aims to reach a consensus on which projects should receive funding.
  • Selection: Based on the reviews and discussions, the committee finalizes a list of projects that will receive funding.
  • Notification: Applicants are informed of the decision, whether they are awarded the grant or not. When helpful, feedback will be provided to unsuccessful applicants.

Post-Award Process

  • Grant Disbursement: Successful applicants will receive grant funding upon completion of a grant contract that outlines all deadlines and requirements for the project.
  • Reporting: Grant recipients are required to provide progress reports and updates on their projects. This helps ensure that the funds are being used as intended and that the project is making progress.
  • Changes to Proposal: Any changes to the project, whether budgetary or programmatic, must be communicated beforehand to the Grant Review Committee for approval.
  • Use of Funds: Funds must adhere to approved budgets and cannot be used for university-restricted purchases or stipends for the applicant.
  • Participation in Exhibition: Grantees will showcase their completed projects in the CCA Freedom of Expression exhibition, held in Bibliowicz Family Gallery, John Hartell Gallery, and Rand Hall Roof at Cornell AAP from March 4-22, 2024. The location and arrangement of each project will be determined by AAP.
  • Closeout: After the project is completed, recipients will be asked to submit a report outlining budget use.
  • Forfeiting Funds: Failure to adhere to any of the above requirements or processes will result in forfeiture of funds.

Image: Work in progress by Erika Germain (M.F.A. ’22)