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$490,000 awarded to 146 arts organizations in Boston Cultural Council grants

These funds support innovative arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences programming.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture today announced 146 arts and cultural organizations that offer programming in the City of Boston have been awarded organizational grants totaling $490,000 through the Boston Cultural Council. These funds support innovative arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences programming with the goal of enhancing the quality of life in the city.

"At a time when statewide losses to arts and cultural institutions exceed $58 million due to the coronavirus pandemic, it's vital that we support Boston organizations in every way we can," said Mayor Walsh. "These organizations are anchors in our neighborhoods and communities, teaching youth, supporting social resilience, and fostering community connections."

The Boston Cultural Council (BCC) works with the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture to annually distribute funds allocated by the City of Boston and the Mass Cultural Council for local arts and culture programming. BCC members are Boston residents appointed by Mayor Walsh, and serve for up to two consecutive three year terms. Council members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated commitment to Boston's cultural community and their knowledge of various arts disciplines. 

This year, Mass Cultural Council contributed $236,400 and the City contributed $300,000 for grants. The Boston Cultural Council received applications from organizations across the entire city, representing a wide variety of artistic disciplines. Here is a complete list of the 2020 grantees.

The City made several changes to the program last year to better support small- to medium-sized organizations, the biggest grant given to nonprofit organizations with budgets under $2 million. Grant amounts were also determined by budget size, with organizations receiving between $2,000 and $5,000. 

Organizations were evaluated on a series of criteria, including diversity of the organization, service to historically underrepresented populations, benefit to the public, and reflection of the goals and ideas of the Boston Creates cultural plan.

For the second year in a row, three grantees received an additional Modeling Equity Organization Award of $5,000, each for doing exceptional equity work both internally within the organization and externally through programming. The winners of the 2020 Modeling Equity Organization Award were City Ballet of BostonPao Arts Center and Company One Theatre.

"Pao Arts Center will use the Model Equity Organization prize for its community-centered residencies which celebrate Asian Pacific Islander perspectives and viewpoints and strengthen and support the creatives and artists to create this work," said Cynthia Woo, Director of Pao Arts Center.

Building off of Mayor Walsh's record-breaking investment in Boston's arts sector, the City of Boston is also investing $250,000 for the artist residency program, as well as an additional $200,000 FY20 investment in sustaining key grantmaking programs for individual artists. Over the next five years, the City is also committing $13.4 million to the Percent for Art program. This, combined with $80,000 for temporary public art projects this fiscal year and several new City staff positions, is the most funding the City has ever dedicated to Boston's arts sector. 

To better support arts organizations facing financial losses, canceled programming, and closures caused by COVID-19, the City of Boston also established a $1 million Arts and Culture COVID-19 Fund. Grants of up to $10,000 were made available for small and mid-sized arts and culture nonprofits to adapt their programs, spaces, and operating models. 

"It's important for us to continue to support the sustainability or arts and cultural organizations of all sizes in Boston, as they take the next steps in reopening and adjusting their programming to allow for safe participation from all residents," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. Learn more about the Boston Cultural Council.

More COVID-19 Resources for Arts Organizations
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