As you may know, Mass Cultural Council’s statewide grant programs are paused until the state Legislature passes a fiscal year 2021 budget. However, artists (and organizations) can apply now for funding from their Local Cultural Councils.
Cultural Grants for Public Benefit
Mass Cultural Council supports arts and culture in every city and town in Massachusetts through a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs).
Mass Cultural Council’s general guidelines for the program state that LCC funding should go to arts, humanities, and sciences programming that has a public benefit. So if you have a cultural project that has a public benefit – in other words contributes to the cultural vitality of the whole community (rather than a private individual or group) – investigate funding opportunities from your local council.
Beyond our general guidelines, each LCC can establish its own local priorities. Some LCCs offer individual fellowships for artists. Some have developed specific grants related to racial equity and artists of color (more on that below).
We recognize that COVID-19 has disrupted – and canceled – many in-person events. One detail to highlight this year is that LCCs will accept applications for projects with virtual programming. Mass Cultural Council is also encouraging more flexibility with venues and timing of projects, as well as fresh approaches to types of funding.
We mentioned that LCCs establish their own local priorities. For example, this year councils in Medford and Worcester are prioritizing projects that emphasize Cultural Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (read more in a post on our Power of Culture blog).
Other Councils have developed new grant programs in addition to the project grants discussed above. For instance, Somerville Arts Council has launched the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Community Grants, offering fellowships and project grants to support the local BIPOC community (the deadline was October 12, 2020).
Cambridge Arts is offering a number of special grants this year, including Art for Racial Justice Grants to support artists creating work with a lens of resilience and racial equity, operating support grants for cultural organizations, and targeted grants for projects that engage and benefit the Port Neighborhood of Cambridge.
Curious what your local council is up to? Find your council and investigate.