Project Grants

The purpose of the VRA Foundation’s Project Grant is to provide support for projects in the field of visual resources and image management.  One grant is available in the spring 2017 cycle with up to $3,000 to be awarded.  The funds may be used for stand-alone projects, pilots or start-up financing for larger projects, or for a component of a larger project.  Collaborative projects and those proposed by groups, whether or not affiliated with an organization or institution, are encouraged.  Of particular interest are innovative projects with results that can have a broad impact and be shared with the global community.  Categories to be considered for funding would include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

  • Metadata for Visual Media
  • Visual Media Cataloguing Standards
  • Visual Media Data Standards
  • Digitization Projects of Special or Unique Collections (Educational Institutions, Libraries, Museums)
  • Visual Literacy
  • Technology Development for Visual Media Management and Pedagogy
  • Intellectual Property Rights

The project must be completed within one year from the time the grant is formally accepted. The grant will be disbursed in two increments: $1500 at the start of the granting period, and $1500 pending the submission of a mid-project progress report.  Within one month of completing the project, the grant recipient will submit a final report on how the grant contributed to the completion or significant development of the project, including a financial statement. Failure to complete the proposed project may result in the grantor requesting a full or partial return of the funds.

The VRA Foundation has United States Internal Revenue Service status as a 501c3 non-profit entity. All elements of a proposed project must be performed within the legal parameters of United States local, regional, and federal government requirements. International applications are welcome from institutions or individuals provided applicant institutions have the equivalent of US non-profit status and applicant individuals have a similar non-profit, educational purpose.


  • Applicants should be working in the field of visual resources and image management, and may include retirees, those currently unemployed, or students.
  • Membership in the Visual Resources Association is not required.
  • Other applications for funding for the same project must be disclosed.
  • Former recipients of the grant are not eligible for a period of two years following their most recent award.

Grant monies may be used for:

  • Salaries and labor costs
  • Transportation costs
  • Cost of Materials (grants generally do not fund the purchase of office and other/related equipment)
  • Other appropriate expenses (as approved by VRAF)

Grant monies may not be used to cover indirect costs at institutions

Application and Review Cycle:

To apply for the VRAF Project Grant, please fill out the application form at

The application deadline for the 2017 grants is Friday, February 24th at 11:59pm Pacific Time.

Award decision public announcement:  March 10, 2017

If you have further questions about the Project Grant Program or the application process, please contact:

Steven Kowalik, VRA Foundation Board of Directors
phone: 212-772-5054

Project Grant Recipients

2015 Project Grant Recipients
Fatemeh Baigmoradi
M.F.A Student
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
This project will expand upon a developing digital archive of the works of contemporary Iranian artists, with plans to share the images with the scholarly community via either ArtStor or Shared Shelf Commons.

Sheryl Frisch
Visual Resources Specialist
California Polytechnic State University

Greg Reser
Metadata Specialist, University of California San Diego
This project will develop a new, stand-alone version of MetaShotPpt, an application that transfers embedded metadata into PowerPoint. This version will work on both Mac and Windows platforms, and will include all of the updated features currently available only in the Mac version. The new version of MetaShotPpt will be developed using Visual Studio. 

2014 Project Grant Recipients
Krystle Kelley, University of Colorado-Boulder
Digitizing the Ronald Bernier Image Archive
This pilot project aims to digitize and make broadly accessible 500 images that highlight the extraordinary depth and breadth of the 30,000 Ronald Bernier archive. The particular strength of this archive is in the cultures of Nepal, India, Tibet, and Southeast Asia, and in its emphasis on documentation of less studied indigenous traditions, notoriously difficult to access countries and sites, and on sites and works that are now in peril or have now disappeared altogether.

Matthias Arnold, Heidelberg Institute
VRA Core XML Transform Tool
The VRA Core 4 XML Transform Tool will be designed to enable any user who can supply descriptive image metadata in a standardized CSV form (comma separated values, e.g. via Excel) to create validating VRA Core 4 XML. Useful on its own, this XML also represents an important step for further transformations to other XML schemas, like RDF to support output of data as LOD (Linked Open Data). The tool is being developed in consultation with both VRA Data Standards and the Core OC Committees, will be shared with the image management community during beta testing for feedback, and will be open-source and freely available upon completion.

2013 Project Grants
“MetaShotPpt 2,” Amanda Rybin, University of Chicago
“DIMLI: Digital Image Management Library,” Christopher Strasbaugh, Vanderbilt University

2012 Project Grants
CMA:  Analog Master Negatives Digitization Project, Leslie Cade, Cleveland Museum of Art

"The visual resources of the Cleveland Museum of Art archives are the most unique and sought after assets of the archives documenting the life of the institution and its world class collections. The master analog negatives are the primary resources for research and publication by staff and scholars throughout the world. Digitizing this collection will activate it for a broader audience than we are able to reach currently.  The Visual Resources Association Foundation grant allowed us to take the first step by providing the resources to develop a database and hire an intern to count the exact number, size, and type of negative.  Knowing that we have 124,077 negatives in 45,542 envelopes has assisted us in demonstrating the significance of this resource to the museum administration.  The results of the project have fostered institutional support in the preparation of thoughtful grant applications to hire a consultant to assess the physical condition of the collection and a digitization vendor.  We continue to prepare the collection using an archive volunteer to enter additional descriptive and technical metadata to the database." -Leslie Cade, February 2015

Currier Bulletins Digitization Project, Meghan Petersen, Currier Museum of Art

"Like many small museum libraries the Currier Library and Archive is understaffed which significantly hinders access to our rich collections. We identified Currier publications for digitization because we felt we could tackle the project  in a responsible way and that it would serve our audiences well.  The trick was we needed to find some outside financial support.  The VRAF grant supported the launch of the pilot Digital Library project for the museum.  The award funded 100 hours for a metadata assistant who was able to scan, upload and catalog 200 items.  The searchable database quickly became popular among our staff and researchers and proved an excellent proof of concept.  Both the Director of Exhibitions and the Museum Director took notice and began to prioritize our collection driven access project in conversations with Trustees and donors.  Library staff were invited to present the project to the Board of Trustees several times and to our great excitement a Trustee stepped up to fund the remainder of the project with a single dedicated donation.  The VRAF grant although modest, propelled our project forward and enticed donors to support our ongoing work.  We believe that they took the project seriously not only because we presented a realistic workflow and project plan but because the project was support by the Visual Resources Foundation.   Our success in the Digital Library project has increased traffic to our website and has improved our response times for reference for this collection. Additionally, the Digital Library has now become an institutional strategic priority.

2011 Project Grants
MetaShotPpt,  Heidi Eyestone, Carleton College and Greg Reser, University of California, San Diego

"The VRA Foundation grant enabled us to create MetaShotPpt, an open source software plug-in that, with one click, builds a PowerPoint Presentation from a folder of image files, importing embedded metadata as speaker notes.  This tool was an important step in providing a real-world use for embedded metadata: reducing the time it takes to create instructional presentations.  We intended MetaShotPpt to be useful to a wide range of communities.  Its first presentation on the world stage was at the CEPIC-IPTC photo metadata conference in Barcelona, Spain in 2013.  We greatly appreciate VRA Foundation’s support in making MetaShotPpt a reality."  - Heidi Eyesstone, January 2014

Documenting Usage Rights to the North Carolina Folklife Institute Image Archive, Joy Salyers, NC Folklife Institute

Newsletter Digitization Project, Jessica Shaykett, American Craft Council

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