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Cultural Space Fund

The Cultural Space Fund provides funding to seed, stabilize and expand cultural spaces in the City.

The arts are essential to so many different aspects of our city. They are important to our quality of life, community resiliency, and Boston’s economy. Artists and cultural organizations need to be in Boston to:

  • develop their talents,

  • serve their communities, and

  • share their work.

Cultural spaces provide the infrastructure that artists, creative workers, and cultural organizations use to produce, practice, present, and preserve their work. Equitable access to cultural space is a key priority of our office.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture created the Cultural Space Fund as its first funding program for space-related needs. This is due to many pressures on cultural spaces in our city.

Apply for the fund

About the Cultural Space Fund

Goals and priorities

The goals of the Fund are to:

  • Secure the long-term future of existing cultural spaces and operators in Boston

  • Expand equitable access to cultural space in the City of Boston

The Fund seeks to support projects which:

  • Increase the amount of physical space in Boston secured for cultural uses long-term

  • Increase the power for artists, creative workers and cultural organizations as it relates to their spaces

  • Increase access to existing cultural spaces (including physical access, affordability, operating hours)

We will prioritize projects that support spaces for underrepresented communities, and projects that address market gaps.

The First Year of the Program

In this first year, a total of $1.5 million is available through the Cultural Space Fund.

The 2022-2023 fiscal year is the first round of the Cultural Space Fund. We expect that we will adjust various aspects of the program based on learnings from this year. External advisors will assist us in supporting future program design.

For 2022-23, the Boston Cultural Space Fund includes funds from the following sources:

  • the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture 2022-23 annual budget, and

  • contributions from development projects in the City of Boston. We will prioritize funds first to projects in the South End Economic Development Areas (Art. 64-14), then to other locations in the South End, Chinatown, Roxbury, and South Boston neighborhood zoning districts, and finally to the other neighborhoods of Boston.

Application Guidelines

Applications can be submitted through our Submittable platformThere is no maximum amount for which applicants can apply. Applicants should note the overall size of the fund ($1.5 million) and consider the following scenarios for guidance:

  • You are a group of artists/creative businesses looking for organizing, business planning feasibility, or design support for a cultural space project. We recommend that you apply for $10,000-$50,000.

  • You are an organization that owns or has a long-term lease on a space and want to upgrade the facilities or expand the access to the space. We recommend that you apply for $50,000-$200,000

  • You are an organization that has the opportunity to acquire a space or building. We recommend that you apply for $200,000+.

For this first year of the Fund, applications will be reviewed by a panel. The panel will include representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and other City of Boston departments. A set of external advisors will participate throughout the process and learn alongside MOAC in this first year.  

Funding Timeline

We will review applications for the Cultural Space Fund every two weeks on a rolling basis. You will receive notification of the outcome of your application within two weeks of your application being reviewed.

  • First round of reviews: Submit by Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at 5 p.m.
  • Final round of reviews: Submit by Tuesday, April 11, 2023, at 5 p.m.

If your application does not receive funding following the first round of reviews, it will remain in the pool for consideration in subsequent review rounds.

Funding disbursement will happen between February and June 2023. Please review the frequently asked questions below and the question document on the sidebar of this page before submitting an application. 

Apply for the fund

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Cultural space operators (entities that manage cultural space and make it available to other organizations, artists, or creative workers to use)
  • Groups of individual artists looking to work together on a cultural space project (a fiscal sponsor will be required in this instance)
  • Developers of affordable commercial and cultural space
  • Creative sector businesses who are facing barriers to securing space in Boston
  • Teams formed to respond to this opportunity, which should include representatives from the communities impacted by the proposed project and representatives connected to the space or building of focus

Please note: A fiscal sponsor may be required to receive funds if you are not already established as a non-profit. We can advise on this process if you are awarded funding. Applications also need to be directly associated with cultural spaces that are within City of Boston boundaries. Individual applicants do not need to be Boston residents.

  • Pre-development costs and capacity building related to cultural space, including feasibility studies, capital needs assessments and design work
  • Organizing efforts related cultural space and facility projects, including business planning, community organizing work, advocacy work
  • Contribution to acquisition, design, construction, repair, renovation, rehabilitation or other capital improvement of cultural space
  • Immediate emergency rental or relocation costs to respond to displacement threats (not ongoing rental costs)
  • Efforts to deliver affordable commercial space for cultural uses (at least 20% below market rate)

No, the funds cannot be used for general operating expenses, including staff salaries or ongoing rental costs. The Fund can only cover emergency rental and relocation costs if you are facing displacement in the immediate future.

If you are looking for resources to contribute to rental costs at a new location, please consider applying to the S.P.A.C.E Grant Program.

Studio at 119 Braintree Street, photo courtesy of Sassa Studios.

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