The Design Emporium

Sarah Lawrence’s Design Emporium is seeking to fund innovative and experimental concepts related to art and design, civic engagement, and technology with a $1000 grant offering.


Design Emporium founder Sarah Lawrence (that’s me!!) received a $1000 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 her ideas are worthwhile.

All these years later, I’m in a position where I would like to pay it forward.

Application process opens:

September 1st, 2023

Applications close:

October 1st, 2023

Interviews begin:

November 2023

Grant awarded:

December 2023


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 only the Design Emporium’s third 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).

Past Award Winners

Reciprocal Zine

An ongoing collaborative art project built on a network of expanding relationships.

Brother El

A paper mache sculptural artist based in English Avenue, Atlanta


Jennifer Pham’s Residency Program in Maine, summer 2021

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.

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

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