Worcester Arts Council’s FY22 Grant Applications

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Open September 1 through October 15, 2021

Worcester, MA  – The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) is now accepting grant applications for its FY22 funding cycle. The deadline to apply is October 15, 2021. 

As part of a statewide network of Local Cultural Councils (LCCs), WAC receives funding through the Mass Cultural Council (MCC) annually. For FY22, WAC will once again award thousands for local arts and cultural programs in Worcester to individuals, nonprofits, associations that can establish a nonprofit objective, schools, libraries, and other public agencies. This year, WAC will receive over $187,000 from the MCC for its grants, representing an increase of 12.5% over last year’s funding allocation.

“The Worcester Arts Council is proud to support local arts and culture with our fellowships and project grants again in 2022, and thrilled to have received over $187,000 in funding from the Mass Cultural Council this year,” said Worcester Arts Council Chair Jennifer Riley. “There is a lot of creativity here in Worcester that is deserving of our support. These grants make it possible for many creative projects, programs, and people to blossom, and add to the vitality of our city.”

WAC offers two types of grants: project grants and fellowship grants. Project grants support individuals and organizations from Worcester County in developing projects and programs within the city of Worcester that are innovative, collaborative, provide a public benefit, reach underserved populations, and demonstrate creative excellence. Fellowship grants help Worcester artists of all trades in developing and exploring their work outside the structure of a specific project.

New for FY22, WAC will use direct granting instead of reimbursement-based granting for its project grants. In the past, project grant recipients first paid out of pocket for all expenses, then submitted a request 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 will allow project grant recipients to receive funding up front, before they’ve incurred any expenses to bring their project to life.

m>“In making the change to direct granting for FY22, the Worcester Arts Council has taken an important step toward greater accessibility to our grants,” said Riley. “We believe this change will help ease the financial burden for all who wish to apply. It’s also our hope that folx who saw reimbursement-based granting as a barrier in the past will now find they are better able to plan creative projects in Worcester and apply for our grants.”

While all projects within the realm of arts, sciences, and humanities will be considered, based on the feedback received from the Worcester community through its annual Funding Priorities Survey, WAC will give preference to grant applicants and projects that align with the following priorities for FY22:

  • 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.

WAC’s FY22 Grant Guidelines and instructions on how to apply can be found at: worcesterma.gov/wac

All applications must be submitted online by October 15, 2021. Late applications cannot be accepted for any reason. WAC will review all grant applications from November through December 2021. Applicants who are denied funding will be notified in early January 2022. Applicants who are awarded grants will be notified by late January 2022.

WAC will also host a virtual Grant Workshop on Wednesday, September 22 from 7-8pm on Zoom. WAC encourages anyone who may be interested in learning more or applying, especially first-time applicants, to attend. Pre-register at: tinyurl.com/wacgrantworkshop

The current Worcester Arts Council members are Jennifer Riley (Chair), Brandon Lewis (Secretary), Christopher Rich (Treasurer), Silvana Boaheng, Sean Brennan, David Filar, Lisa Malo, and George Sedares. There is one open seat on the Council.

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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