Worcester Arts Council Awards Over $277,000 in Grants for Local Arts and Cultural Programs for 2023


WORCESTER, MA February 7, 2023 – The Worcester Arts Council and the City of Worcester are proud to announce the award of 66 grants totaling $277,773 for arts and cultural programs in Worcester in 2023.

The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCC) under the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). These LCCs serve all 351 cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Statewide, $5.5 million will be distributed by LCCs in 2023.

This year, WAC received $226,600 in funding from the MCC – a 20.7% increase over 2022.

WAC received a record 157 applications for its 2023 grants. Between October and December 2022, WAC evaluated all applications on criteria including public benefit, creative/artistic merit, capacity, budget, impact, and innovation. The Council also took into account how well applications reflected its annual Funding Priorities, which are established based on community input.

“The Worcester Arts Council is thrilled to be able to fund 8 artist fellowships and 58 projects that will take place in Worcester in 2023,” said Worcester Arts Council Chair Jen Riley. “We were able to distribute more grant funding into the community than ever before and are looking forward to the variety of projects planned for this year. It’s an honor to support so many projects and people who inspire us, challenge us, and connect us through their creativity and imagination.”

WAC’s 2023 project grant winners reflect a wide range of Worcester-based programs and organizations, including the Worcester Caribbean American Carnival from the Worcester Caribbean American Carnival Association, Catch Basin Mural Project from Sharinna S. Travieso, Organ Concert Series at First Unitarian Worcester, and Mr. Twister – an interactive opera performance and puppetry workshop from Latasha Hughes.

WAC also awarded fellowships to 8 Worcester artists, including $5,000 fellowships to musician Giuliano D’Orazio, visual artist William L. Thompson, musician and producer Eric L’Esperance, and visual artist Laura Marotta. An additional four $3,000 fellowships were awarded to fashion designer Ernie Jubin, dancer/choreographer John A. Semidei, visual artist John Vo, and journalist William Shaner.

The current Worcester Arts Council members are Jennifer Riley (Chair), Brandon Lewis (Secretary), Christopher Rich (Treasurer), Sean Brennan, David Filar, Avae Thomas-Quartey, Shantelle Campbell, and Nikki Erskine (Staff Liaison).

The 2023 Worcester Arts Council Grant Recipients are:

GranteeProject NameAmount Funded
African Community Education ProgramACE & Crocodile River Drumming & Dancing Project$4,300.00
Aimee KewleyInto The Woods: Burncoat Travels to Umass$1,905.00
Art in the Park, WorcesterArt in the Park, Worcester$5,000.00
ArtsWorcester, Inc.Nineteenth Annual College Show$5,000.00
Ashley L’EsperanceAshley P. L’Esperance$5,000.00
Building Futures, IncBFI 2023 Summer Music Program$3,000.00
Center for Nonviolent Solutions IncWalking Tour of Worcester’s Peace History$2,420.00
Christopher G KingUp cycling Textile Waste to Produce Fabric and Clothing$5,000.00
Claudia BastanteExploring the sounds of Music$5,000.00
College of the Holy CrossRefugee Artisans of Worcester: Digital Archive$5,000.00
Curt CurtinCreating a bilingual poetry collection for young adults$4,500.00
Cyrus Alexander4th Annual Beats And Barbecue Community and Culture Festival$5,000.00
David DominguezSalvadoran Festival$3,780.00
Deborah PowersWorcester Knitty Council Committee$2,100.00
Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District, IncDowntown Worcester Winter Festival 2023$5,000.00
Edmy OrtizFlamenco! Tradition, Art & Passion 2023$5,000.00
Elizabeth MercedesSENSORY ART GROUP$1,000.00
Emmanuel CarbooWavvz Dtf Printing workshop$5,000.00
Eric ButlerBroadway in Worcester: Education Workshops$5,000.00
Eric L’EsperanceFellowship$5,000.00
Ernie JubinFellowship$3,000.00
First Unitarian Church of WorcesterOrgan Concert Series at First Unitarian Worcester$3,500.00
Girls Incorporated of WorcesterMusic Workshop Series$4,000.00
Giuliano D’OrazioFellowship$5,000.00
Hannah LipperCeramic Abacus$5,000.00
Jane ShivickJane Shivick, soprano with Olga Rogach, pianist$5,000.00
John A. SemideiFellowship$3,000.00
John VoFellowship$3,000.00
Joy of Music Program, Inc.JOMP Children’s Chorus$5,000.00
Jubilee Career Center for the Performing Arts, IncJubilee Mobile Arts and Technology School Bus After-school Program$5,000.00
Kimberly HuynhThe Monarch Butterfly and Crane Movement$4,325.00
Latasha HughesMr. Twister – interactive opera performance and puppetry workshop$5,000.00
Laura MarottaFellowship$5,000.00
Legendary LegaciesWhere Legacy Begins$5,000.00
Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, IncAn Evening Celebrating Great Latin-American Musical Influences$5,000.00
Matthew BurgosWorcester Portrait Exchange$3,000.00
Matthew JaskotClose and Apart$4,800.00
Mihoko WakabayashiSeed to Fashion$4,035.00
Music Worcester, IncVijay Gupta: breaking boundaries through music$5,000.00
Pakachoag Music School of Greater WorcesterMusic Matters, for Elm Park After-School$4,000.00
Patricia KirkpatrickFlower Crown’s Summer Cyanotype Workshop Series$1,700.00
Push WorcesterDIY Paint & Skate$4,500.00
Seven Hills Foundation & Affiliates, IncCreative Movement$4,915.00
Sharinna S. TraviesoCatch Basin Mural Project$5,000.00
Studio Theatre Worcester, IncTheatre: Introductory Class Offerings (Studio Theatre Worcester$5,000.00
Suely DibaraBrazilian Festival of Worcester$5,000.00
Tessa HayesNeighborhive Pop Up Art Hives Initiative @ The Village Worcester$5,000.00
The Boys and Girls Club of Worcester IncLiving Exhibit$5,000.00
The Worcester Center for Crafts, Inc.Community Art$5,000.00
The Worcester Chapter, American Guild of OrganistsItalian Organ Recital$1,400.00
Tony GugliettiDance Date$3,700.00
WCUW IncWCUW’s 50th Anniversary Music Series$3,000.00
WICN Public Radio, Inc.Emerging Artist Series$5,000.00
William L. ThompsonFellowship$5,000.00
William ShanerFellowship$3,000.00
Worcester Area Mission Society United Church of ChristSummer CUBS: Learning About States of Matter Through Science and Art$   500.00
Worcester Art MuseumSoutheast Asia Artist-in-Residency Program at WAM$5,000.00
Worcester Caribbean American Carnival Association, IncWorcester Caribbean American Carnival$5,000.00
Worcester Center for Performing Arts, IncThe WYSH (Worcester Youth Speak Honestly) Project$5,000.00
Worcester Chamber Music Society, IncPeter and the Wolf and Hansel and Gretel, a free family concert$5,000.00
Worcester Community Cable Access, IncCentral Mass Jazz Fest$5,000.00
Worcester County Mechanics AssociationMany Voices – Mechanics Hall Youth Singers Spring & Fall Concerts$5,000.00
Worcester County Poetry Association, IncRain Poetry: A Walk in the Woo$1,616.00
Worcester Hip Hop Congress5-0-Break vol2$5,000.00
Worcester Public Library FoundationThe WPL Frances Perkins Branch Library Indoor Mural Program$3,777.00
Yasmin GorisUltraviolet Radiation- A Black Light Art Experience$5,000.00

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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