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Creative Catalyst Program


In 2011 the Curb Center announced its signature Creative Campus Innovation Grant Program.  Over time, the program’s name has changed and it is now known as the Creative Catalyst Program.  Regardless of its name the goal remains the same: to support Vanderbilt faculty, staff, students and even the larger Nashville community* as they harness their passions to turn original ideas into a force for positive social change.

The program makes awards to proposals which place creativity at the center of campus and community life by:

  • applying creative problem-solving to issues impacting the Vanderbilt community and beyond;
  • building the capacity of students, faculty, and staff to formulate and implement innovative solutions to intractable problems;
  • integrating pilots into curriculum media, design, creative practice and expression for enhanced learning opportunities;
  • fostering arts and scholarship-based community engagement programs, projects and events;
  • facilitating connections across disciplinary, social, and institutional boundaries;
  • transforming campus and community spaces through serendipitous, out-of-the-ordinary experiences;
  • inviting engaging and uncommon conversations across disciplines and/or among unlikely participants with a special emphasis on demonstrating how creativity can help broaden public deliberation and the common creative process intrinsic to cultural, scientific, entrepreneurial, and design work; and
  • fostering individuals’ creative and expressive potential by growing the skills needed to imagine ideas and lead others in making those innovations a reality.

Since 2011 we have awarded 90+ awards for projects which ranged from illness and doctor-patient narratives to creating a quilt of shared experiences, from reimagining prison art to exploring the blurred lines between research and art, and from a virtual soul food fest to an immigrant cookbook featuring recipes and stories from home.  What all of these projects have in common is a desire to use creativity to listen to and learn from diverse populations so together the group can collaborate to create a better today and tomorrow for all involved. To learn more about the projects funded through the Innovation and Creative Catalyst programs visit the past and current awards pages.

All past and current Innovation and Creative Catalysts are encouraged to:

  • continue to catalyze creative practice;
  • support other Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff in their creative efforts;
  • nominate candidates for collaborative projects with the Curb Center;
  • spread the word about the Center’s events and attend yourself whenever possible
  • continue to submit proposals for projects that align with the Curb Center’s mission

To learn more visit:

*Non-Vanderbilt affiliated Catalysts must partner with a current student, faculty, or staff member to be considered for funding.