The Worcester Arts Council Ensures Greater Accessibility to its Grants with Move to Direct Granting for FY22

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Worcester, MA  – The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) is pleased to announce an important change that will improve accessibility to its grant program: the Council is switching from reimbursement-based granting to direct granting for FY22. 

Historically, WAC’s project grants were reimbursement-based. This means that organizations, individuals, and non-profits who were awarded project grants first paid out of pocket for any expenses, then submitted a request to WAC for reimbursement. While the process worked, it also posed a potential financial barrier — it could be a challenge for some to first pay for project expenses themselves. 

“The change to direct granting is an important step forward toward greater accessibility to the Worcester Arts Council’s grant program. Our hope is that those who may have found reimbursement-based granting a barrier to applying for our project grants now have a new or better opportunity,” said Worcester Arts Council Chair Jennifer Riley. “This is great news for our FY22 grant applicants, and great news for Worcester!”

Erin WIlliams, Cultural Development Officer for the City of Worcester added, “Accessible funding for Worcester’s creative community is a priority for our city. Projects funded by the Worcester Arts Council are created by and for our residents, by our local artists and cultural organizations. The power of culture is strong in Worcester and deserves support. Kudos to the Worcester Arts Council for making room for everyone to participate.”

WAC offers two types of competitive grants for arts and culture in Worcester: project grants and fellowship grants. The change to direct granting only affects project grants, as fellowship grants have always been paid directly.

Project grants support individuals and organizations from Worcester County in developing projects and programs that are innovative, collaborative, provide a public benefit, reach under-served populations, and demonstrate creative excellence. Project grant applicants must maintain a residential, commercial, or studio address in Worcester County, and all projects must take place in the city of Worcester. WAC accepts project grant applications from individuals, non-profit organizations, associations that can establish a non-profit objective, schools, libraries, and other public agencies.

Fellowship grants assist artists of all trades, scholars, and literary persons in developing and exploring their work outside the structure of a specific project or presentation. Through its fellowship grants, WAC honors individuals who are innovative, demonstrate excellence in their field, and represent the best of Worcester’s creative community. Fellowship applicants must maintain a residential, commercial, or studio address in the city of Worcester. WAC is one of only a few Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) in Massachusetts to offer fellowship grants.

Grant applications for FY22 will open on September 1, 2021. The application deadline is October 15, 2021. WAC’s FY22 Grant Guidelines and information on how to apply will be posted by August 31, 2021 at: worcesterma.gov/cultural-development/grants

WAC is also currently seeking input from the Worcester community through its annual Funding Priorities Survey. While all projects within the realm of arts, sciences, and humanities will be considered, WAC will give preference to grant applicants and projects that align with local priorities determined by the responses to this survey. As an added incentive, Worcester residents who complete the survey will also be entered for a chance to win Bose QuietComfort Earbuds ($279 value)! The survey closes August 7, 2021. It can be found at: tinyurl.com/wacsurvey2021.

The current Worcester Arts Council members are Jennifer Riley (Chair), Mitchell Perry (Vice Chair), Brandon Lewis (Secretary), Christopher Rich (Treasurer), Silvana Boaheng, Sean Brennan, David Filar, Lisa Malo, 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. For more information visit: www.worcesterma.gov/wac

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council:

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grant programs, partnerships, and services for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. For more information visit: www.massculturalcouncil.org

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