Design Emporium WONDER Grant

Sarah Lawrence’s Design Emporium is seeking to fund innovative and experimental concepts related to art and design, civic engagement, and technology with a $500 grant offering.


Design Emporium founder Sarah Lawrence (that’s me!!) received a grant from the Awesome Foundation in 2013 to complete her senior thesis project, an interactive memory map for the city of Atlanta – this was a turning point early in her career that provided validation and showed her that my ideas are worthwhile. 7ish years later, I’m in a position where I would like to pay it forward.


Applicants must meet the following criteria:

• Must be a minimum of 18 years old

• Anyone in any stage of their career is welcome to apply – sole proprietors welcome

• Applicants are not required to be a resident of metropolitan Atlanta, but Atlanta residents will be given first priority

• Be either a single applicant or a small collaborative group – awards are not to be used by an institution or established organization. We are looking to fund folks who might not have access to funding otherwise, either by lack of experience or systemic exclusion.

Types of projects that are funded:

This is the Design Emporium’s first year making the WONDER grant, and we don’t want to exclude any potential projects by making the guidelines too strict. The award is meant to inspire, and we’re looking for projects that:

• Support civic engagement and community building

• Have a deliberate and specific outcome in mind, one that can be measured if possible

• Use art and/or design to amplify a message or encourage positive change

• Experiment with new technologies and attempt to push the boundaries of what is possible with modern offerings

• Finish a project that might help you secure additional funding down the road

If your project does not adhere exactly to these guidelines, we welcome you to apply anyway and outline your rationale in the application. 

There are no strings attached on this funding – you can use it for whatever you want. But we will ask how you plan to use it.

How is this grant funded?

This funding is from the Design Emporium itself, with no outside funds or external matching. This helps me stay nimble, but I have also assembled a steering committee of trusted friends and colleagues to help review applications and check potential bias in my own decision-making (hence the “we” you will see in other places).


Application materials:

1. A cover letter that includes the following:

• Your name

• Your project title

• Your website, if applicable (This can be for you, or your project, or your social media profile)

• A description of your project

• How you will use the money, including a rough budget breakdown

• The outcome you are looking to achieve and how you will measure it

2. Your resume

3. Sample projects that demonstrate your ability in this area (At least 1 project, and no more than 5)

Don’t sweat this application process – we’re not judging you for typos, work experience, or background. We just want to see who you are and what you’re trying to do.

• Application should be a single PDF, less than 15 MB

Please upload your application to this Dropbox link

Application process opens: December 10th

Applications closed: January 30th  February 6th

Interviews begin: February 15th

Grant awarded: March 15th


Questions? Email hello (at) sarahclawrence.com with the subject line “Grant Question.”


How will I get everything into a PDF?

You are more than welcome to write everything out in Google Docs and save it as a PDF to send over. You will not be judged on formatting or design for this, the PDF just makes it easier to review. If your images are too large and push outside of the 15mb limit, you can use a resource like TinyPNG to compress them without losing detail.

Was this formerly called [Name Here]?

Yes, as a placeholder until I was able to settle on a “real” – I’m bad at naming things and wanted to focus on getting the money out there without stressing too much about what it was called.

Past Award Winners

Here are the artists + projects we’ve given to so far:

• Brother El’s Mystical Art

• Jennifer Pham’s 4th&Main Residency Program