Worcester Arts Council FY21 Project & Fellowship Grant Applications Open 10/1-12/14/2020

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Worcester, MA  – The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) is now accepting grant applications for its FY21 funding cycle. The deadline to apply is December 14, 2020 (originally November 16, 2020). WAC accepts grant applications from individuals and non-profit organizations, from associations that can establish a non-profit objective, and from schools, libraries, and other public agencies.

“WAC grants support artists, creatives, organizations, and community members across Worcester, all of whom are vital to our community,” said Worcester Arts Council Chair Yasmin Goris. “We look forward to seeing a diverse range of creative, innovative, meaningful projects from our grant applicants this year.”

The amount WAC will have available for grants this year is yet to be determined by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), as the MCC’s planning for FY21 is based on Commonwealth budgets, which are delayed due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

“It’s challenging to head into our grant cycle with uncertainty,” said Goris. “Navigating the impact of COVID-19 has been incredibly difficult for our local arts community. It’s also shown this community’s unique ability to adapt, innovate, create, and inspire, under any circumstance.”

Erin WIlliams, Cultural Development Officer for the City of Worcester added, “While we may not be sure of WAC’s total grant amount available for FY21 until later in the fall, we are certain that, now more than ever, funding for arts and culture is critical. We are committed to supporting arts culture and interpretive projects and programs which bring us together via creativity here in Worcester.”

Each year, WAC seeks community input through its annual Funding Priorities Survey. This year, there was more survey participation than ever before. While all projects within the realm of arts, sciences, and humanities will be considered, based on the feedback received from the Worcester community, WAC will give preference to grant applicants and projects that align with the following priorities for FY21 grants:

  1. Project Categories | Projects that focus on Public Art, Arts Education & Instruction, Children’s Programs and Musical Performances.
  2. 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.
  3. Locations | Projects that take place in or benefit areas of Worcester that are historically underserved.

WAC will also host a virtual Grant Workshop via Zoom on October 7, 2020 at 7pm ET. Anyone interested in applying for a grant is encouraged to attend. Pre-register at: https://bit.ly/3459vVO

WAC offers two types of competitive grants for arts and culture in Worcester: Project Grants and Fellowship Grants.

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. All projects must take place in the City of Worcester within the 2021 calendar year.

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. Due to the uncertainty about its available grant funding this year, WAC may allocate from one Fellowship Grant in the amount of $2,500 up to two Fellowship Grants in the amount of $5,000 each. The number of Fellowship Grants available and the amount(s) will be determined by WAC depending on overall available funds for FY21.

The 2021 Grant Guidelines and Applications for Project and Fellowship Grants can be found on the City of Worcester website.

Apply for a grant online at: mass-culture.org/Worcester

All applications must be submitted by 3pm November 16, 2020. This year, WAC will only accept online applications. Paper applications will not be accepted. Late applications cannot be accepted for any reason.

The Council will review all grant applications November through December 2020. Applications who are denied funding will be notified in January 2021. Applicants who are awarded grants will be notified in February 2021.

The current Worcester Arts Council members are Yasmin Goris (Chair), Jennifer Riley (Vice Chair), Lisa Malo (Secretary), Mitchell Perry (Treasurer), Thomas Conroy, David Filar, Lisa Malo, and George Sedares. Those interested in serving on the Worcester Arts Council can find out more or apply at: www.worcesterma.gov/boards-commissions.

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: http://www.massculturalcouncil.org/about/about.asp


More to explore


Add events and programming to discovercentralma.org at least one month prior to each event.




Your application will be reviewed and we will be in touch! 

Worcester Cultural Coalition’s Arts & Culture Connection Registration