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Mayor Janey announces $487,000 awarded to 152 organizations in Boston Cultural Council grants

Grants support local organizations offering arts and cultural programming in Boston.

BOSTON - Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - Mayor Kim Janey, together with the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Cultural Council (BCC), today announced 152 arts and cultural organizations have received grants totaling $487,000 through the Boston Cultural Council. These grants support the organizations’ general operating expenses, with the goal of enhancing the quality of life in Boston through the arts.

Photo of Boston Cultural Council grantee and Modeling Equity Organization DEAFinitely, Inc. performing at Boston Children’s Museum on January 20, 2020, courtesy of Kathy Wiiman//Ball Square Films.

“The arts are integral to ensuring our city is a culturally vibrant place where everyone is able to thrive,” said Mayor Janey. “These organizations have done incredible work over the past year to engage our communities during such a difficult time, and we are proud to support them as they continue to carry out this much needed work.”

The Boston Cultural Council 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 the Mayor, 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, the Mass Cultural Council contributed $245,900 and the City of Boston contributed $250,000. 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 2021 grantees.

For the second year in a row, grant amounts were determined by budget size. Organizations with budgets under $2 million received grants between $2,000 and $5,000. This funding strategy aims to better support small- to medium-sized organizations. 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.

The Boston Cultural Council also awarded the Modeling Equity Organization grant for the third year in a row. OrigiNation Cultural Arts CenterLittle Uprisings, and DEAFinitely, Inc. were each awarded an additional $5,000 for meaningfully addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership, board, staff, and programming, and their ongoing work to serve historically underrepresented groups. 

“This award from the BCC will invigorate DEAFinitely’s performing arts and mentoring programs as we start a new chapter of empowerment and resolve after a year of isolation and grave injustices,” said Jamie Robinson, Founder/Creative Director of DEAFinitely, Inc., a 2021 Boston Cultural Council grantee and Modeling Equity Organization award recipient. “We thank BCC for shining a light on communication and Deaf cultural access as integral parts of diversity, equity and inclusion for all Boston cultural organizations.”

In addition to supporting arts organizations through Boston Cultural Council grants, the City of Boston has also allocated $200,000 to supporting individual artists through the Opportunity Fund. Artists can apply for $1,000 grants for professional development experiences or community arts events. The deadline to apply for funding in FY2021 is June 4, 2021. Interested artists can learn more at

"We aim to make opportunities to engage in the arts and creative expression accessible to all, and one way we're doing that is by celebrating organizations that represent the racial and ethnic diversity of the city, and lifting up those who are going above and beyond in their own work to advance equity, access, and social justice in Boston,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. “We look forward to supporting all of our grantees as we work together to make Boston a city that uplifts our communities."

A virtual reception celebrating this year’s grantees will be livestreamed to the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture’s Facebook page (@ArtsinBoston) on May 20, 2021 from 6-7 p.m. To learn more about the Boston Cultural Council, visit here.


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