The Marilynn Thoma Fellowship is the only unrestricted research funding in the United States devoted exclusively to the field of Spanish Colonial art. Each year post-doctoral scholars from across the world are invited to apply for research support in the amounts of $45,000 and $60,000, respectively. Recipients are selected by an international jury of three undisclosed experts in the field and notified in mid-December, with travel commencing within 18 months following notification. Selected scholars design their research projects independently, using funding in any reasonable way to accomplish their goals.
Fellowships range in duration from one to two years, and eventuate in major measurable outcomes, including museum exhibitions, dissertations, book publications, scholarly essays, and lecture series. While proposals are accepted from all of Spanish colonial Latin America and the Caribbean, the Foundation gives strong preference to projects that contribute to the history of painting and sculpture in colonial South America.