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Artist Housing Certification

You can receive an Artist Housing Certification through the City of Boston. This allows you to qualify for some affordable artist housing where artists can live and work.

Update: We are currently experiencing delays in the review process for Artist Housing Certification. We appreciate your patience as we work to review your applications as quickly as possible.

What is an Artist Housing Certificate? It’s a letter to an artist from the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture.

With an Artist Housing Certification, you are initially qualified for some artist live-work spaces in the City of Boston. Most artist live-work spaces in the City of Boston are affordable. That means you may also have to meet other affordable housing requirements, like income and asset limits. Learn more about affordable housing in Boston.

The Artist Housing Certification verifies that artists have actively been producing art within the past three years, and the Certification lasts for eight years. After that time ends, you need to reapply to receive a new Certification. Not all spaces for artists to live and work in Boston require an Artist Certification. See which spaces for artists require an Artist Housing Certification and which do not.

Apply for Artist Certification

PLEASE NOTE: Every year, we have review deadlines of: February 28, April 30, June 30, August 31, October 31, and December 31.

Artist Housing Certification eligibility

You must be able to show a recent body of work. This means your artistic resume or CV needs to give evidence of artistic work over the past three years, and samples of your art work must be dated to be considered. You also need to be at least 18 years old.


The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture reviews Artist Housing Certification applications. Decision are final. If you are rejected, it is because your application did not prove active artistic work in the past three years. You can re-apply if your application is rejected.

We review applications on a bi-monthly basis. Applicants should hear back no more than 10 weeks after applying.

  • Visual Arts: including painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, conceptual art, craft art (ceramics, woodworking, fashion design, jewelry making, etc.) architecture/design (not including engineering and home staging), media arts, film, and new media. 
  • Performing Arts: including dance, theater, and music.
  • Literary Arts: including fiction, creative nonfiction (not including writing intended for scholarly purposes), poetry, and spoken word.
  • Your artistic practice may also include multiple disciplines.

Evidence of a body of work over the past three years. Your artistic resume or CV should list any of the following:

  • dates and locations of group or individual exhibitions
  • publications
  • performances
  • press coverage
  • awards and grants
  • residencies
  • jobs held in field of artistic discipline, and
  • formal training in the arts, if you have it.

Documents, or "work samples," related to your artwork. This includes image files, video clips, and writing samples. Works must be dated or else they will not be considered.

One reference letter of support from a peer or arts professional who knows your work. One short letter is required.

Automatic certification

An artist can receive an automatic Artist Housing Certification if they received any of the following awards in the last three years:

  • Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship
  • Boston Foundation Brother Thomas Fellowship
  • Boston Cultural Council Artist Fellowship
  • Boston Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Award
  • City of Boston Emerging Artist Award

To receive automatic certification, please fill out your contact information in the Artist Housing Certification application. You’ll need to upload your award letter in the Work Samples section to receive approval.

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