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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES REOPENING OF APPLICATIONS FOR BOSTON CULTURAL COUNCIL OPPORTUNITY FUND WITH DOUBLE THE FUNDING

MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES REOPENING OF APPLICATIONS FOR BOSTON CULTURAL COUNCIL OPPORTUNITY FUND WITH DOUBLE THE FUNDING
First round of funding offered 90 grants to applicants, totaling $100,000
BOSTON - Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Cultural Council, today announced the second round of applications for the Boston Cultural Council Opportunity Fund are now open. As a result of high demand from the first round, Mayor Walsh announced this pool of funding will be doubled, offering artists the opportunity to secure a total of $200,000 in funding to support meaningful one-time opportunities to further develop their career and expanding the reach of arts opportunities in communities.

"The Boston Creates cultural plan calls for growing support of local artists," said Mayor Walsh. "The Opportunity Fund has allowed us to accomplish that in many ways during its first year, and I'm pleased that in this round we will be able to expand our reach to serve even more artists. We are eager to see the continued enhancements this program brings to Boston's arts and culture community."

The Opportunity Fund was established in August 2017 as part of the City of Boston's effort to address needs identified in the Boston Creates Cultural Planto support individual artists and help grow access to the arts in every part of Boston. During the first pilot round, the City awarded more than 90 grants to applicants, totaling $100,000.

In this round, applicants can request up to $1,000 at a time to fund specific needs that will in turn benefit the larger community, and they are allowed to receive no more than one grant per year. Applicants chosen to receive the grant will now receive the money upfront rather than be reimbursed, as a result of feedback received from the last round of grantees.

Several changes were made to the Opportunity Fund process in order to better serve applicants. In addition to doubling the pool of funding from $100,000 to $200,000, the grants are now split into five different categories, which include:

  • Artist Career Development
This grant is available to individual artists living in the City of Boston who want to pursue meaningful one-time artistic opportunities to further their career, such as funding to help support an artistic project, funding for materials, or funding for professional development opportunities. Artists residing within the City of Boston are eligible to apply for this grant if their annual household income is under 65 percent of area median income (AMI).
  • Community Arts Experience
This grant is available to individual artists and/or teaching artists who would like to bring free arts experiences into a community located in the City of Boston. Experiences can be in libraries, schools, or less traditional arts-learning spaces such as senior centers, health centers, or community centers. The experiences must be free and open to the public, and priority is given to neighborhoods that have a lower concentration of arts activities, including Allston/Brighton, Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Fenway/Kenmore, Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Mattapan.
  • Local Arts Events
This grant is available to artists leading an established, annual community-based arts experience, event, or festival who are looking for funding. Events must be free arts-focused events that are open to the public, and they must have been held at least one in past years to be eligible. Eligible expenses under this grant include promotion and marketing materials, supply and equipment needs, shuttle rentals, and fees paid to designers, artists, musicians, performers, special guests and speakers. Open Studios events are the ideal candidates for this category.
  • MCC Festivals Program Matching Grant  
This grant is available to organizations or individuals who are producing a festival in the City of Boston and who have received a Festivals Program grant from the Mass Cultural Council. Applicants can live anywhere, but the festival they are organizing must occur within the City of Boston. Eligible expenses include fees paid to performers and speakers, programming and production costs, equipment rental, accessibility services, audience surveys or research, translation costs, and marketing and promotional materials.
  • Field Trips
This grant is available to teachers at K-12 schools in the City of Boston who are planning arts and cultural field trips and are looking to help support the costs of the trip. Applicants must be teachers or school administrators at schools that are located in the City of Boston. Eligible expenses include travel, and tickets.

Another change that was made to the Opportunity Fund process is that applications can now be submitted on a rolling basis, and will be reviewed by a selection committee every other month, instead of having monthly deadlines. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to apply for the grant at least two months before their event or project occurs.

"We saw many positive outcomes from the Opportunity Fund in the past year, and we're excited to continue providing artists with expanded  support in the future," said Julie Burros, Chief of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture. "These grants will not only help artists in continuing their work, but it will also provide them with the means to share their work with the entire City."

Artists who receive an Opportunity Fund grant are required to submit a brief final report that describes the outcome of the experience and how the funds were spent.

For more information or to apply for the Opportunity Fund, visit here .

About the Boston Creates Cultural Plan
The cultural plan was created out of a year-long community engagement effort designed to help local government identify cultural needs, opportunities, and resources and to prioritize, coordinate, and align public and private resources to strengthen cultural vitality over the long term.  The full cultural plan can be found online on their website.

About the Boston Cultural Council
The Boston Cultural Council (BCC), under the umbrella of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, annually distributes funds allocated by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, to support innovative arts, humanities and interpretive sciences programming that enhances the quality of life in our city. For more information, please visit here.

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