Back to top

Boston Cultural Council Opportunity Fund reopens with double the funding

October 31, 2017

Arts and Culture

Published by:

Arts and Culture

During the first pilot round, the City awarded more than 90 grants to applicants, totaling $100,000.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Cultural Council, today announced the second round of applications for the Boston Cultural Council Opportunity Fund is now open. As a result of high demand from the first round, Mayor Walsh announced this pool of funding will be doubled, offering artists the opportunity to secure a total of $200,000 in funding to support meaningful one-time opportunities to further develop their career and expanding the reach of arts opportunities in communities.

"The Boston Creates cultural plan calls for growing support of local artists," said Mayor Walsh. "The Opportunity Fund has allowed us to accomplish that in many ways during its first year, and I'm pleased that in this round we will be able to expand our reach to serve even more artists. We are eager to see the continued enhancements this program brings to Boston's arts and culture community."

The Opportunity Fund was established in August 2017 as part of the City of Boston's effort to address needs identified in the Boston Creates Cultural Plan to support individual artists and help grow access to the arts in every part of Boston. During the first pilot round, the City awarded more than 90 grants to applicants, totaling $100,000.

In this round, applicants can request up to $1,000 at a time to fund specific needs that will in turn benefit the larger community, and they are allowed to receive no more than one grant per year. Applicants chosen to receive the grant will now receive the money upfront rather than be reimbursed, as a result of feedback received from the last round of grantees.

Several changes were made to the Opportunity Fund process in order to better serve applicants. In addition to doubling the pool of funding from $100,000 to $200,000, the grants are now split into five different categories, which include:

  • Artist Career Development

This grant is available to individual artists living in the City of Boston who want to pursue meaningful one-time artistic opportunities to further their career, such as funding to help support an artistic project, funding for materials, or funding for professional development opportunities. Artists residing within the City of Boston are eligible to apply for this grant if their annual household income is under 65 percent of area median income (AMI).

  • Community Arts Experience

This grant is available to individual artists and/or teaching artists who would like to bring free arts experiences into a community located in the City of Boston. Experiences can be in libraries, schools, or less traditional arts-learning spaces such as senior centers, health centers, or community centers. The experiences must be free and open to the public, and priority is given to neighborhoods that have a lower concentration of arts activities, including Allston/Brighton, Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Fenway/Kenmore, Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Mattapan.

  • Local Arts Events

This grant is available to artists leading an established, annual community-based arts experience, event, or festival who are looking for funding. Events must be free arts-focused events that are open to the public, and they must have been held at least once in past years to be eligible. Eligible expenses under this grant include promotion and marketing materials, supply and equipment needs, shuttle rentals, and fees paid to designers, artists, musicians, performers, special guests and speakers. Open Studios events are the ideal candidates for this category.

  • MCC Festivals Program Matching Grant  

This grant is available to organizations or individuals who are producing a festival in the City of Boston and who have received a Festivals Program grant from the Mass Cultural Council. Applicants can live anywhere, but the festival they are organizing must occur within the City of Boston. Eligible expenses include fees paid to performers and speakers, programming and production costs, equipment rental, accessibility services, audience surveys or research, translation costs, and marketing and promotional materials.

  • Field Trips

This grant is available to teachers at K-12 schools in the City of Boston who are planning arts and cultural field trips and are looking to help support the costs of the trip. Applicants must be teachers or school administrators at schools that are located in the City of Boston. Eligible expenses include travel, and tickets.

Another change that was made to the Opportunity Fund process is that applications can now be submitted on a rolling basis, and will be reviewed by a selection committee every other month, instead of having monthly deadlines. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to apply for the grant at least two months before their event or project occurs.

"We saw many positive outcomes from the Opportunity Fund in the past year, and we're excited to continue providing artists with expanded  support in the future," said Julie Burros, Chief of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture. "These grants will not only help artists in continuing their work, but it will also provide them with the means to share their work with the entire City."

Artists who receive an Opportunity Fund grant are required to submit a brief final report that describes the outcome of the experience and how the funds were spent.

For more information or to apply for the Opportunity Fund, visit here .

About the Boston Creates Cultural Plan

The cultural plan was created out of a year-long community engagement effort designed to help local government identify cultural needs, opportunities, and resources and to prioritize, coordinate, and align public and private resources to strengthen cultural vitality over the long term.  The full cultural plan can be found online on their website.

About the Boston Cultural Council

The Boston Cultural Council (BCC), under the umbrella of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, annually distributes funds allocated by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, to support innovative arts, humanities and interpretive sciences programming that enhances the quality of life in our city. For more information, please visit here.

About the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture works to enhance the quality of life, the economy, and the design of the City through the arts. The role of the arts in all aspects of life in Boston is reinforced via equitable access to arts and culture in every community, its public institutions, and public places. Key areas of work include support to the cultural sector through grants and programs, as well as the production and permitting of art in public places. For more information, please visit here.

news and announcements