New Grant Opportunity from the Worcester Arts Council: Up to $200,000 Available for Creative Projects in Worcester

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WORCESTER, MA — The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) is now accepting applications for Project Grants for Individuals, a new program through which WAC plans to award up to $200,000 in grants, in amounts of $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000. The deadline to apply is July 10, 2022.

This new grant opportunity is available thanks to an American Rescue Plan Act grant WAC received from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. WAC was one of just 66 organizations nationwide, and only two organizations in the state of Massachusetts, to be awarded one of these NEA grants.

“The Worcester Arts Council is grateful to have received a $250,000 grant from the National Endowment from the Arts to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. This funding will provide vital financial support to Worcester’s vibrant arts community, which has been significantly impacted over the last several years,” said Worcester Arts Council Chair Jennifer Riley.

Through this new program, WAC will award grants to individuals from Worcester County for projects that take place within the city of Worcester between August 2022 and August 2023. All grant funds must be spent, and final reporting must be submitted by, September 1, 2023. Projects must provide a public benefit, reach under-served populations, have artistic merit, and demonstrate artistic excellence.

“With our Project Grants for Individuals, the Worcester Arts Council hopes to infuse our local creative community with some much-needed funding, and see even more people and projects flourishing in Worcester,” said Riley.

While all projects in the realm of arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences will be considered, WAC will give preference to applicants and projects that align with its 2022 Funding Priorities:

  • Project Categories | Projects that focus on Public Art, Arts Education & Instruction, and Children’s Programs.

  • Cultural Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion | Projects that elevate the voices and experiences of historically marginalized groups to highlight the current and historical diversity of Worcester. Projects should create opportunities for artists and community members who identify as Black, Indigenous, POC, LGBTQX, refugee, immigrant, or person living with a disability.

  • Locations | Projects that take place in or benefit areas of Worcester that are historically underserved.

These grants are intended for individuals. Organizations, non-profits, or groups are NOT eligible for these particular grants.

Full grant guidelines, including details on the application evaluation criteria and instructions on how to apply, can be found at http://www.worcesterma.gov/cultural-development/grants.

All grant applications must be submitted online by July 10, 2022. Late applications cannot be accepted for any reason. WAC will review all applications from mid- to late July 2022. All applicants will be notified of funding decisions in August 2022.

Interested applicants who have questions are encouraged to email ArtsCouncil@WorcesterMA.gov, or attend a monthly WAC meeting, where they will be able to ask questions live. The next meeting will take place on Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 7:00pm on Zoom. Register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0sf-CsrD0pH9ZG773S_I5643boqc9UHXnK.

This new, one-time grant opportunity is separate from WAC’s regular annual grant cycle, which is made possible with funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). Applications for WAC’s MCC-funded project grants and fellowships for FY23 will open September 1, 2022. Details will be posted at worcesterma.gov/wac by September 1, 2022. The Council is also currently seeking community input about the types of projects and programs it should prioritize for these FY23 grants via its annual Funding Priorities Survey at: tinyurl.com/WACSurvey2022.

The current Worcester Arts Council members are Jennifer Riley (Chair), Lisa Malo (Vice Chair), Brandon Lewis (Secretary), Christopher Rich (Treasurer), Silvana Boaheng, Sean Brennan, David Filar, and George Sedares.

About the Worcester Arts Council:

The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) is a municipal body consisting of nine members appointed by the City Manager. The Council is charged with promoting the cultural affairs of the City of Worcester and allocating funds received by the Council for cultural projects and programs. The mission of the Worcester Arts Council is to promote excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and interpretative sciences to improve the quality of life for Worcester residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our City. The Worcester Arts Council is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. Visit worcesterma.gov/wac to learn more.

About the National Endowment for the Arts:

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit www.arts.gov to learn more.

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