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More than $66,000 awarded in last two rounds of Opportunity Fund, 198 artists supported in 2018

January 24, 2019

Arts and Culture

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Arts and Culture

The Opportunity Fund has supported 321 artists thus far.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture today announced the City of Boston has awarded 69 grants totaling $66,683 in the last two rounds of the 2018 Opportunity Fund. Last year, the Opportunity Fund helped support 198 artists with over $190,000 in funding.

“Through the Opportunity Fund, we’ve been able to invest in hundreds of local artists while supporting opportunities for Bostonians to engage in creative opportunities within their communities,” said Mayor Walsh. “I look forward to expanding these efforts in 2019, and ensuring that every resident has equal access to the arts.”

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 for a second year 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. A total of 321 artists have been supported by the program thus far.

For the last round of funding, Harvard University contributed an additional $10,000 for artists living in Allston-Brighton and community arts experiences or local arts events located in Allston-Brighton. Below is a sampling of the grantees selected for the final two rounds of the 2018 Opportunity Fund:

Community Arts Experience Grantees
  • Jada Willard will use the grant to host “In Knots: Cultivating Peace with Macramé and Yoga Healing Arts,” a collaborative event that will explore intersectional awareness, identity, and healing through the art of macramé knotting and embodied yoga practice in Dorchester.
  • Anthony W. Lanier will use the grant to host a Roxbury artifact history display and discussion, where attendees can create a display or table with objects that reflect an event they have experienced or a collection of items they would share with others, at the First Church of Roxbury.
  • J. Michael Winward will use the grant to support the creation, rehearsal and first presentation of the "Steps in Time Flash Mob" to be performed by the dancers of the Veronica B. Smith Senior Center in Brighton.
Local Arts Events
  • NorthStar Duo will use the grant to produce a classical music concert in Mattapan that promotes and celebrates the works of African-American women composers.
  • The IT Factor will use the grant to support a music and dance competition where amateur dancers and musical artists from Greater Boston compete at a series of venues across the City.
  • Couples Therapy Boutique will use the grant to produce a silent play inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula that incorporates a fashion extravaganza at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester to raise LGBTQI diversity awareness. 
Artist Career Development
  • Beverly Sky of Fenway used the grant to attend the Virginia Center for Creative Arts (VCCA) as a resident fellow at their Auvillar Studio Residences in Auvillar, France.
  • Heather Kapplow of Allston-Brighton will use the grant to support a residency through Index in Zurich, Switzerland, where she’ll carry out a project that examines the semi-public space of luxury shopping. 
  • Cliff Notez of East Boston used the grant to cover the costs of participating in the Assets for Artist residency at Mass MoCA.
School Field Trip
  • Katie Manning used the grant to support a field trip for K-5 students with disabilities and general education students from the Edward Everett School in Dorchester to see Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” at the Strand Theatre.
  • Alicia Carey will use the grant to support a field trip for third grade students from the Perry School in South Boston to visit the Boston Tea Party Museum.
  • Erin Curran and Keith Whelan will use the grant to support a field trip for fourth and fifth grade students from the Patrick Lyndon Pilot School in West Roxbury to attend a production of "James and the Giant Peach" at Wheelock Family Theater.
MCC Festivals Matching Grant
  • The Community Music Center of Boston will use the grant to support the Young Composers Festival in the South End.
  • Boston Book Festival used the grant to support its October 2018 festival in Back Bay.
  • The Boston Arts Festival used the grant to support its 2018 festival in the North End.

“Because of the Opportunity Fund, we can put even more focus into the mission of our work: championing works by women musicians of color and compensating them fairly for their contribution to the diaspora and the community,” said Adrienne Baker, a member of NorthStar Duo, which was recently awarded an Opportunity Fund grant.

“It’s amazing to see how far the City of Boston has come since June 2016, when we first committed to investing in individual artists and advancing equity by bringing artistic opportunities to historically underserved communities through Boston Creates,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. “We look forward to continuing this work for all of the City’s artists.”

Details on a third round of the Opportunity Fund have not yet been announced. More information about the Opportunity Fund can be found online

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