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Applications open for 2021 Boston Cultural Council organizational grants

Update: The deadline to apply for Boston Cultural Council organizational grants has been extended to December 14, 2020.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture today announced the 2021 applications for Boston Cultural Council organizational grants are now open until November 16, 2020. Grants are available for organizations that benefit the public by offering arts programming in Boston's neighborhoods. 

"Boston's arts and cultural organizations provide accessible and diverse programs to community members of all ages, in every neighborhood," said Mayor Walsh. "It's an honor to be able to continue to support them through this grant, and acknowledge them for their work to enhance our city."

The Boston Cultural Council (BCC) works under the umbrella of 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. For the second year in a row, grants will be made only to organizations with annual budgets under $2 million.

Grants available are as follows:

  • Organizations with budgets less than $100,000 may apply for a grant of $2,000

  • Organizations with budgets between $100,000 and $500,000 may apply for a grant of $3,500

  • Organizations with budgets between $500,000 and $2,000,000 may apply for a grant of $5,000

Under a revised grant making approach, organizations may apply for grants up to a set limit, based on their organizational size. The BCC focuses on small to mid-sized organizations that uniquely serve the City's arts ecosystem and prioritize cultural diversity, economic diversity, inclusion, and equity, through both their staffing and audiences served. 

Nonprofit cultural organizations whose missions or programming are focused on music, film and video, traditional and folk art, visual art, theater, dance, humanities, literary arts, performing arts, social/civic practice, and multidisciplinary arts are eligible to apply as long as they are based in the City of Boston, or offer programming in Boston.

BCC members are Boston residents appointed by the Mayor 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. 

In 2020, $490,000 in Boston Cultural Council grants was awarded to 146 organizations. The BCC received applications from organizations across the entire city, representing a wide variety of artistic disciplines. Here is a complete list of the 2020 grantees.

"BCC funding helped to ensure that even during these challenging times, Company One has been able to keep staff and artists employed with no layoffs or furloughs," said Karthik Subramanian, Managing Director of Company One Theatre, which was named a 2020 Modeling Equity Organization by the Boston Cultural Council.

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 this year. Grants of up to $10,000 wereawarded to 146 small and mid-sized arts and culture nonprofits to adapt their programs, spaces, and operating models. Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, the City of Boston in partnership with Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) have also awarded grants totaling over $330,000 to over 600 artists as part of the Boston Artist Relief Fund, which was established to support artists whose creative practices and incomes were adversely impacted by the pandemic.

"Boston's arts organizations have experienced immeasurable hardships this year due to COVID-19, and have still made it a priority to bring opportunities to engage in the arts to everyone in the city," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. "As we think through ways Boston can be more equitable as a whole, it's important to make sure we're supporting these important cultural anchors in our communities."

The deadline to apply for BCC grants is November 16, 2020 at 5 p.m. ET. To learn more about the grants and the application process, visit

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