WORCESTER, MA March 4, 2021 – The Worcester Arts Council is proud to announce the award of 65 grants totaling $219,100 for arts and cultural programs in Worcester in 2021.
The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) is part of a statewide network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences on an annual basis. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council (MCC), a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community. Decisions about which projects and programs to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers.
This year, WAC received $166,700 in funding from the MCC, an increase of 6% in funding over last year. WAC also received an additional $10,000 for its Fellowship funding this year, thanks to the generous support of Greater Worcester Community Foundation’s Creative Worcester Initiative, which is funded in part by the Barr Foundation.
“Reflecting on this year’s grant cycle, there were numerous uncertainties and unpredictable delays due to COVID-19, but we remained hopeful. The Worcester Arts Council is thrilled that we were ultimately able to offer more grant funding in 2021 than ever before. With the support of the Mass Cultural Council and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, WAC grant funds will benefit 65 local artists, individuals, organizations, and projects in Worcester this year,” said Yasmin Goris, outgoing Worcester Arts Council Chair.
2021 WAC project grants support a diverse range of programs and organizations in Worcester. The complete list of grant recipients and amounts can be found below.
WAC was also able to distribute more Fellowship grants than ever before to local artists in a variety of disciplines – musicians, comedians, visual artists, writers, and more. This includes two $5,000 Fellowship grants to filmmaker Angélique Webster and comedian Shaun Connolly, and four $2,500 Fellowship Grants to visual artist Vanessa Calixto, filmmaker Fernando Ponce, musician Tracy Ann Jones (Sunta Africa), and visual artist Ryan Gardell. The Council also issued seven $1,000 Fellowship Finalist awards.
Between January and February 2021, WAC reviewed 105 grant applications for projects ranging from public art and murals to theater workshops to podcasts to cultural festivals to historical programming. The Council takes various criteria into consideration including quality, public benefit, and alignment with its 2021 funding priorities as determined by community input through its Funding Priorities Survey. This year’s funding priorities included:
- Project Categories – Projects that focus on Public Art, Arts Education & Instruction, Children’s Programs and Musical Performances.
- 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.
Statewide, more than $4.35 million will be distributed by local cultural councils in 2021. Grants will support an extensive range of grass-roots activities: concerts, exhibitions, radio and video productions, field trips for school children, after-school youth programs, writing workshops, historical preservation efforts, lectures, nature and science education programs for families, and town festivals. Nearly half of LCC funds support educational activities for young people.
“Having the opportunity to be part of an organization that supports artists, individuals, and organizations who dedicate their life’s work to providing arts and cultural programming and building community here in Worcester is an exceptional privilege,” said Goris. “I look forward to the wonderful work the Worcester Arts Council will continue to do, and I encourage the Worcester community to continue supporting local artists by attending events and promoting one another in 2021 and beyond.”
WAC intends to host a virtual grant reception celebrating all of this year’s grant recipients in spring 2021. The Worcester Arts Council will seek applications again in Fall 2021 for the grant year 2022. Applications and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available at www.mass-culture.org. Application details will be announced on www.worcesterma.gov.
The 2021 Worcester Arts Council grant recipients and amounts are as follows, and can be found online at WorcesterMA.gov:
Worcester Arts Council 2021 Grant Recipients
|APPLICANT||PROJECT TITLE||TOTAL AMOUNT AWARDED|
|Aimee Kewley||Theater Collaboration with Burncoat HS Drama||$500.00|
|Aldrich Astronomical Society, Inc.||Hubble Space Telescope: 30 Years of Amazing Discoveries!||$250.00|
|Andrew McShane||Downtown Worcester Storefront Activation/Murals||$5,000.00|
|Art In The Park, Worcester||INNERVISIONS: THINGS AREN’T WHAT THEY USE TO BE||$5,000.00|
|Arts Transcending Borders at the College of the Holy Cross||Sounds of Community with Cyro Baptista and Banquet of Spirits||$5,000.00|
|Barbara Guertin||Photograph 51||$4,250.00|
|Boys & Girls Club of Worcester||Kids for Social Justice Mural||$5,000.00|
|Building Futures, Inc.||BFI’s Summer Music Program||$3,200.00|
|Creative Hub||Creative Hub Aurora Gallery||$5,000.00|
|Crocodile River Music||Worcester’s Got African Talent Digital Edition||$5,000.00|
|Cyrille Vincent Ndomakette Samba||Worcester Whirlwind||$5,000.00|
|Edward Street Child Services||“Spring is Busting Out All Over” Children’s Art Show||$2,200.00|
|Eric L’Esperance||The Living Room Listening Room Concert Series||$3,080.00|
|Eve Rifkah||Gather in Poems: a Virtual Reading||$1,000.00|
|Girls Inc. of Worcester||Cultural Enrichment for Girls K-12||$3,500.00|
|Grace Sliwoski||YouthGROW POW WOW Mural||$5,000.00|
|Green Hill Neighborhood Association||Lincoln Street Crosswalk Art||$4,575.00|
|Historic Crown Hill Neighborhood Association||House Flags on Crown Hill||$3,905.00|
|Jacob Folsom-Fraster||Worcester Community Skateshop: DIY Paint-n-Skate Kit||$2,250.00|
|Jennessa Burks||Acrylic Art Mentorship Program||$2,100.00|
|Joshua Croke||Threads: LGBTQ+ Youth Fashion Design Class & Youth Designer in Residency Program||$3,800.00|
|Linda Hixon||The Grip: the 1918 Pandemic and a City Under Siege||$300.00|
|Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook||Celebrating Art and Nature with the Fargo Education Center Mural||$3,450.00|
|Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra||Jazz in the Park: Celebrating Great African-American Composers||$5,000.00|
|Mihoko Wakabayashi||Seed to Fashion||$5,000.00|
|Music Worcester, Inc.||Tickets to Opportunity||$2,000.00|
|Open Door Arts||Connecting and Creating Through the Arts||$5,000.00|
|Preservation Worcester||Urban Green and Blue||$2,000.00|
|Rebecca Linton||Growing Community||$5,000.00|
|Render Creative, Inc.||Main IDEA Virtual Art Program||$5,000.00|
|Ritmos Dance Studio Inc.||Ritmos – Latinx Arts & Culture Experiential (LACE)||$5,000.00|
|Salisbury Singers||When Giving is All We Have||$1,500.00|
|Samuel Martin||Light the Night!||$2,250.00|
|Sarah Sanders||Pop It Podcast||$3,500.00|
|Seven Hills ASPiRE!||Seven Hills ASPiRE!: Virtual Creative Movement for People with Disabilities||$4,905.00|
|Solon Kelleher||Walk w/Out Rhythm||$4,300.00|
|Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts (SEACMA)||17th Annual Asian Festival; 15th Annual Moon Festival||$5,000.00|
|Studio Theatre Worcester||Summer Theatre Workshop||$5,000.00|
|Technocopia||STEAM Teen Internship Program||$5,000.00|
|The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for Performing Arts||Student Matinee of “Thurgood”||$5,000.00|
|Timothy Kane||All Together Drumming||$200.00|
|Tracy Ann Jones / Sunta Africa||Fellowship||$2,500.00|
|Vanessa de Leon||A Night to Remember: Folk Guardians of Worcester||$5,000.00|
|WCLOC Theater Company||The Niceties||$5,000.00|
|WICN Public Radio||Latin Jazz Now Course||$2,785.00|
|Worcester Chamber Music Society||Neighborhood Strings||$5,000.00|
|Worcester Community Cable Access, Inc.||Spring Swing||$2,500.00|
|Worcester Cultural Coalition||A Krampus Christmas||$2,100.00|
|Worcester Historical Museum||Voices of History||$4,050.00|
|Worcester Roots Project||LOVE IS THE MESSAGE – SPOKEN WORD ARTIST vs. COMEDIANS -who delivers the better message?||$5,000.00|
|Worcester Youth Center, Inc. (WYC)||Mural Project||$5,000.00|
|TOTAL AMOUNT OF ALL AWARDS||$219,100.00|
About the Worcester Arts Council:
The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) is a municipal body consisting of nine embers 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 project 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. Current Worcester Arts Council members are Yasmin Goris (Chair), Jennifer Riley (Vice Chair), Lisa Malo (Secretary), Mitchell Perry (Treasurer), Silvana Boaheng, Chris Rich, David Filar, Brandon Lewis, and George Sedares.
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: massculturalcouncil.org