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Last updated: 7/7/17

Artist Certification

You can become a certified artist with the City of Boston to qualify for affordable artist spaces to live and work.


 An Artist Certificate is a letter from Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (formerly BRA) to an artist. The Letter confirms that the artist has been reviewed by a committee of peers and is "certified" as a working Artist. An Artist Certification qualifies an artist as eligible for artist spaces for eight years. After that time period ends, an artist needs to renew their certification.

Apply for Artist Certification

Upcoming Deadline

Applications are reviewed quarterly. The next deadline is September 30, 2017.

Applicants should expect to hear back about their application about a month after the application deadline.


Contact Julia Ryan at Julia.Ryan@Boston.Gov.

Looking for work space?

Visit SpaceFinder Massachusetts for artist space listings.

Artist Certificate eligibility

Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body of work and must be at least 18 years of old.

We consider artists in the following disciplines:
  • Visual Arts: including painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, conceptual art, ceramics, woodworking, architecture/design, media arts, film, and new media.
  • Performing Arts: including dance, theater, and music.
  • Literary Arts: including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and spoken word.
  • Multidisciplinary Art

Reviewing applications

A Peer Review Panel selected from a pool of Boston artists and arts professionals reviews applications on a quarterly basis.

The decision of the panel is final. If an applicant is not certified during this round, they can request feedback on how to improve their application and reapply in a future round. 

The panel reviews Applications based on this criteria:
  • Evidence of a recent body of work, demonstrated by an artist resume or CV that lists dates and locations of exhibitions, publications, performances, or press. 
  • Documentation of artwork, including image files, video clips, and writing samples.
  • Recommendations and letters of support from peers and professionals in the arts.

Automatic certification

Automatic certification is granted to artists who have received any of the following awards in the last three years:

  • the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship
  • the Boston Foundation Brother Thomas Fellowship
  • the Boston Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, or
  • the City of Boston Emerging Artist Award.

To receive automatic certification, please fill out your name and contact information in the Artist Certification application and upload your fellowship letter in the Work Samples section.