Worcester Cultural Coalition Announces 2023 Barr Foundation / JMAC Access Grant Awardees


The Worcester Cultural Coalition will expand equitable use of the Jean McDonough Arts Center. 

WORCESTER, MA – April 12, 2023 Thanks to funding support from the Barr Foundation, the Worcester Cultural Coalition (WCC) is pleased to announce the award of 8 grants totaling $85,000 for programs at the Jean McDonough Arts Center (JMAC) in 2023.

With a goal of ensuring continued equitable use of the JMAC, the JMAC Access Grant Committee reviewed 26 applications for funding. Applications were evaluated and scored on a variety of criteria, including whether the presenter had leadership from and/or programming that uplifts historically marginalized or underrepresented groups, such as the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities. Applicants could apply for a maximum of $10,000 in venue and rental costs and $15,000 in discretionary funds. Based on the funding requested and how the application scored, selected applicants received between $3,500 and $22,500 in total support.

“We received proposals for many excellent and intriguing programs. Some were from familiar names and some were brand-new to us!” noted Doménica Dillon, Associate Managing Director of the JMAC. “It’s gratifying to see that the events we host are resonating with the community, and that awareness of our space is growing.”

“Having served on many awarding bodies, I can say the JMAC Access Grant Committee conducted its process with rigor, integrity, care, and joy,” said Cailin Manson, Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Music Performance at Clark University, who served on the JMAC Access Grant Committee. “The awardees represent an exciting cross-section of presenters who will elevate programming at the JMAC while also serving its mission of being a home for all ilk of creatives and creations.”

The 2023 JMAC Access Grant Awardees and projects, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Crocodile River Music: Mali in Massachusetts
  • The Hanover Theatre Repertory (THT Rep): Experimental Staged Reading of Judith, a New Play by Katie Bender Directed by Brendon Fox
  • Inner Voices Outer Change: IVOC Summer Jumpoff
  • Nathan D. Manna: The Acrobatics of the Divine: An Exhibition and Symposium Responding to the Work of John O’Reilly
  • studioXpresents: Let Them Eat Cake!
  • Voices 21C: Bridging and Breaking: Incarceration, Community, and Empowerment
  • Kristin Wagner / Bodies Moving: Fairy Tales and Folklore: Dreaming with the Body
  • Worcester Writers Collective: Spring Intensive

“The Barr Foundation’s funding of JMAC’s Access Grants has made real the slogan: Our House, Your Home,” says Zach Combs, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Crocodile River Music. “Now, our organization can create in this amazing space, bringing a unique African art, music, and dance experience to our community. Thank you Barr, WCC and JMAC for this wonderful Project Sponsorship opportunity!”

The JMAC Access Grant Committee is: 

  • Ellen Dunlap, Treasurer of the Worcester Cultural Coalition
  • JMAC Staff:
    • Livy Scanlon, Managing Director
    • Doménica Dillon, Associate Managing Director
    • Sarah MacIntyre, Production + Operations Manager
    • Elijah Lidonde, Administrative Manager
  • Cailin Manson, Associate Professor of Practice and Director of Music Performance at Clark University

The $85,000 awarded in the JMAC Access Grants is part of a $175,000 investment from the Barr Foundation. The remaining funds will also be used to continue equitable access to the JMAC, primarily by underwriting rental of the BrickBox Theater through June 2023. More information about the Project Sponsorships and a calendar of events is available at www.jmacworcester.org.

About the Worcester Cultural Coalition: The Worcester Cultural Coalition (WCC) is a public-private partnership established in 1999 between the City of Worcester and 12 cultural organizations. In 2022, membership exceeded 80 organizations, which host over 2.7 million visitors annually, from Worcester and beyond. Its mission is to draw on Worcester’s rich and diverse cultural assets to foster economic revitalization, support active and creative engagement for all, and to promote a strong cultural identity for Greater Worcester. The WCC supports and encourages action that meets the creative goals of the Worcester Cultural Plan: promoting cultural equity and creative community engagement for all. Learn more at WorcesterCulture.org.

About the Jean McDonough Arts Center: Comprising the ever-changing PopUp and the intimate BrickBox Theater, the Jean McDonough Arts Center (JMAC) is an initiative of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, operated in partnership with The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts. The JMAC is home to myriad creative events and cultural initiatives. Individuals and groups can present or develop a wide range of work at the JMAC, including but not limited to work in theater, dance, film, music, performance art, visual art, fashion design and video game design. Completion of the JMAC was made possible with the generosity of the late Jean McDonough and the McDonough family. Funding for presenters is currently available through the Barr Foundation.  Learn more at JMACWorcester.org.

About the Barr Foundation: The Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. Based in Boston, Barr focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally, working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to elevate the arts, advance solutions for climate change, and connect all students to success in high school and beyond. Founded in 1997, Barr now has assets close to $3 billion and has contributed more than $1 billion to charitable causes. For more information, visit barrfoundation.org and @BarrFdn on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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