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More than $33,000 awarded to second round of 2018 Opportunity Fund grantees

May 21, 2018

Arts and Culture

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Arts and Culture

Through the Opportunity Fund, artists and educators are provided grants of up to $1,000 for meaningful, one-time opportunities.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Cultural Council, today announced over $33,500 has been awarded to 34 grantees in the second round of Opportunity Fund grants for 2018. 

“This second round of the Opportunity Fund truly exemplifies the diverse and talented array of artists whose work touches every neighborhood of our City,” said Mayor Walsh. “I look forward to seeing these individuals excel in their art and enhance their communities with these grants.”

The Opportunity Fund was launched in August 2016 with the goal of supporting individual artists in activities that help them share their work with the public, teach others, continue their professional development and hone their skills. Through the Opportunity Fund, artists and educators are provided grants of up to $1,000 for meaningful, one-time opportunities.

The Opportunity Fund reopened in October 2017 with double the amount of funding and a modified structure including grants that are separated into five different categories, a rolling deadline for applications and new guidelines to help focus investment on artists of limited means and in communities with less access to cultural events or art-making. Including the latest round of funding, the Opportunity Fund has helped support 192 artists. 

“As community arts organizers, the Opportunity Fund allowed us to offer programing we've been wanting to provide for years,” said Porsha Olayiwola, a past Opportunity Fund grantee. “With the grant we received, The House Slam was able to offer ten writing workshops free to the public, while also paying artists for their work. The experience and space to hone one's craft under a practicing artist is a valuable resource that is imperative the growth and transformation of individuals in our writing community.”

Below is a sampling of the grantees selected for the second round of the 2018 Opportunity Fund:

Community Arts Experience Grantees

  • Nancy Marks, a visual artist from Jamaica Plain, will use the grant to bring The Opioid Project, a series of community-based workshops and art exhibitions that highlight the complex social narrative of addiction while giving space and ‘voice’ to all those connected to the opioid epidemic, to several neighborhoods in Boston.
  • Lauren Minihane-McGrath of Brighton will use the grant to hold an Allston-Brighton Paint with Pride Day that will be free and open to children of all ages from the Allston-Brighton community.
  • Piper Ainsley of Roxbury will use the grant to build an art and music performance with the experimental music ensemble Patchtax called “The Allegory of Breaking Light,” which will serve as the foundation for a one-day youth workshop in collaboration with Project Urbano in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.
  • Maia Dolphin-Krute of Allston will use the grant to support The Way We Live Now (2018), a performance-based civic engagement project that updates a Susan Sontag short story to facilitate public conversations about opioids, chronic pain, trauma and hope. 
  • Angelica Wilshire, a songwriter from Roslindale, will use the grant to support an acoustic live event and book reading at the Mattapan library, where she will share songs from her project in an acoustic session and read excerpts from her accompanying book.

Local Arts Events

  • Allentza Michel of Mattapan will use the grant to support the Mattapan Open Studios in June.
  • Anne Smart of the South End will use the grant to support the South End Open Studios in September.
  • Nan H. Feldman of Fenway will use the grant to support the Fenway Open Studios in November.
  • Abra Shen will use the grant to support the Longwood Chorus’ community concerts at multiple hospitals in the Fenway neighborhood.
  • Lorraine Fitzmaurice of Allston will use the grant to support the new LGBT vocal ensemble Quorum’s spring concert at the Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center in Lower Allston.

Field Trips

  • Gail Bos will use the grant to fund a field trip for fourth grade students from the David A. Ellis elementary school in Roxbury to go visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
  • Beatriz Abascal will use the grant to fund a field trip for pre-kindergarten students at Conservatory Lab Charter School in Dorchester to visit the Museum of Fine Arts.

Artist Career Development

  • Robert Green, a visual artist from East Boston, will use the grant to purchase materials so he can paint a series that pays tribute to famous faces from Boston’s past and present that will be displayed in downtown Boston.
  • Chiara Eisner of Roxbury will use the grant to create a compelling short documentary series called The Force of Nature Project that provides local immigrants from different backgrounds a platform to speak and be heard by the community.
  • Zakiyyah Sutton, a musician from Dorchester, will use the grant to support the creation of her first musical recording project, which will be a tribute to the African diaspora.
  • Nicholas Shea of Dorchester will use the grant to support a cross-country bicycle trip, during which he will make art for a show that will happen at the end of the trip.
  • Eve Boltax, a violinist from Jamaica Plain, will use the grant to support a one-time professional development opportunity to study further with master Suzuki violin teacher Edmund Sprunger at the Oregon Suzuki Institute.

“The Opportunity Fund has allowed us to invest in individual artists while simultaneously bringing arts opportunities to underserved communities,” said Julie Burros. “It’s great to see the goals of the Boston Creates cultural plan advanced in this way, and we look forward to seeing the new arts opportunities the third round brings.”

Applications for the Opportunity Fund are accepted on a rolling basis, and the review deadline for the next round of the Opportunity Fund is June 30, 2018. Artists and organizations can apply here