Ends on March 30, 2018

Artist Certification Guidelines

What is an Artist Certificate? 

An Artist Certificate is a letter from Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (formerly BRA) to an artist. The letter confirms that the artist has been reviewed by a committee of peers and is “certified” as a working artist. An Artist Certificate qualifies an artist as eligible for artist spaces for a period of eight years. Upon expiration, the artist will need to renew their certification.

Who is eligible for an Artist Certificate?

Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body of work and must be at least 18 years of age. Artists in the following disciplines are considered:

  • Visual Arts: including painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, conceptual art, ceramics, woodworking, architecture/design, media arts, film, and new media.
  • Performing Arts: including dance, theater, and music.
  • Literary Arts: including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and spoken word.
  • Multidisciplinary Art

Who reviews the applications?

A Peer Review Panel selected from a pool of Boston artists and arts professionals reviews applications on a quarterly basis.

The decision of the panel is final. If an applicant is not certified during this round, they can request feedback on how to improve their application and reapply in a future round. 

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria.

  • Evidence of a recent body of work, demonstrated by an artist resume or CV that lists dates and locations of exhibitions, publications, performances, or press. 

  • Documentation of artwork including image files, video clips, and writing samples.

  • Recommendations and letters of support from peers and professionals in the arts.

When are applications accepted?

Applications for the Artist Certification are reviewed four times per year. The four review deadlines are: March 30, June 30, September 30, and December 30. Applications are not reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications for each of these deadlines are reviewed during the month following the deadline.

When will I hear back about the status of my application?

You will receive an email updating you on the status of your application one month following the deadline of the application period in which you applied. Applications are not reviewed on a rolling basis.

What is Automatic Certification?

Automatic certification is granted to artists who have received any of the following awards in the last 3 years: the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, The Boston Foundation Brother Thomas Fellowship, the Boston Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, or the City of Boston Emerging Artist Award.

To receive automatic certification, please fill out your name and contact information in the Artist Certification application and upload your fellowship letter in the Work Samples section. 

Boston City Hall

Call to Artists & Art Organizations

The Scollay Square Gallery, The Mayor’s Gallery, and 

The Mayor’s Neighborhood Gallery at Boston City Hall.


Seeking artists and artist organizations, that live or create in Boston to exhibit at Boston City Hall. Your submission will be kept on file for future consideration.


Selection process

  • This is an ongoing search, there is no deadline
Public Art  Design Application Public Art  Design Application
The Boston Art Commission, housed within the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, advocates for the creation of innovative and transformative art and promotes its accessibility to enrich the lives of Boston’s diverse citizens and visitors. The Art Commission advises, supports, and consults with artists and communities, City departments, and others. It commissions, approves, and conserves the City of Boston’s collection of art and historical artifacts.

Please fill out the following form to propose both short and long-term public art and design interventions and installations on City of Boston property.

All applications will be reviewed by the Boston Art Commission at our monthly meeting, scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month. We generally ask for applications to be submitted 2 weeks before a BAC meeting and 6 weeks before the proposed start date, to allow us time to process the request and work with other departments for permissions and the insurance waiver scheduled BAC meeting.

Ends on April 30, 2018

Opportunity Fund Guidelines


The Opportunity Fund provides grants that support meaningful one-time opportunities for artists living in the City of Boston to further develop their career, and helps provide access to more opportunities for communities throughout the City of Boston to engage in arts experiences. The Opportunity Fund has five grant categories:

  • Artist Career Development

  • Community Arts Experiences

  • Local Arts Events

  • MCC Festivals Program Matching Grant

  • Field Trips

Application Cycle

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed every other month. Individuals may only receive grant funding from the Opportunity Fund once per year. See below dates to decide when to apply for the Opportunity Fund.

If you need funding between:

Apply by this deadline:

You will be notified if you received funding by:

February 28-April 30, 2018

December 30, 2017

February 28, 2018

April 30-June 30, 2018

February 28, 2018

April 30, 2018

June 30-August 30, 2018

April 30, 2018

June 30, 2018

August 30-October 30, 2018

June 30, 2018

August 30, 2018

October 30-December 30, 2018

August 30, 2018

October 30, 2018

December 30, 2018-February 28, 2019

October 30, 2018

December 30, 2018

Available Funds

In 2017-2018 $200,000 will be available for distribution from the Opportunity Fund. The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will make $33,333 available every other month.

Reporting Requirements

All grantees will be required to submit a final report that describes the outcomes of the experience and how the funds were used. Final reports must be filed online within one year of receiving the grant. Please note that if you are awarded a grant, you or your fiscal sponsor will be required to apply for a Vendor ID number from the City of Boston in order to receive your funds.

Please continue reading for specific guidelines for each grant category:

Artist Career Development Grant

Who can apply?

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

  • Funding for professional development opportunities

Who is eligible?

Artists residing within the City of Boston are eligible to apply for the Artist Career Development Grant if their annual household income is under 65% of area median income (AMI). Nearly 80% of Certified Artists surveyed make an income of under $50,000/year. See below for 2017 income limits:

Household Size

65% AMI













What expenses are eligible?

  • Cost of materials

  • Cost of travel, conference, or residency fees and,

  • Costs related to an artistic project, such as help framing paintings before an exhibition

Community Arts Experience Grant

Who can apply?

Individual artists and/or teaching artists who would like to bring free arts experiences into a community located in the City of Boston.

  • The Community Arts Grant prioritizes bringing arts experiences into neighborhoods in the City of Boston that have been identified as having a lower concentration of arts activities that are free and open to the public. Priority communities include: Allston/Brighton, Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Fenway/Kenmore, Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Mattapan.  

  • Experiences do not have to happen in these geographic areas, but these geographic areas will be prioritized. Whether applicants' arts experience will occur in one of these neighborhoods or not, applicants are encouraged to explain how the community they will serve through this art experience are underserved by arts activities 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.

  • Experiences must be free and open to the public.

Who is eligible?

Artists who are applying to bring arts experiences into communities can live anywhere, but the arts experience offered must occur in the City of Boston.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Materials for the arts experience

  • Compensation for artist(s) facilitating experience

Local Arts Event Grant

Who can apply?

Artists leading an established, annual community-based arts experience/event/festival can apply for funding to support their event.

Who is eligible?

Organizers of a pre-existing event in the City of Boston that has been held at least once in past years. For example, all currently existing Open Studios cohorts are welcome to apply for this grant. Events must be free arts-focused events that are open to the public. Organizations who are receiving operational support from the Boston Cultural Council Organizational Grant are welcome to apply for the Event Grant.

Who is ineligible?

Organizations that received programmatic funding through the Boston Cultural Council Organizational Grant cannot receive funding through the Opportunity Fund in the same year. Organizations that received operational funding through the Organizational Grant are welcome to apply for this Event Grant.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Promotion and marketing materials such as: advertising, design and printing, marketing consultants, and production and design of and collateral such as maps and wayfinding.

  • Supply and equipment needs for the event itself such as tables, tents, pop-up canopies, and chair rentals.

  • Shuttle rental

  • Fees paid to designers, artists, musicians, performers, celebrities, special guests, and speakers.

MCC Festivals Program Matching Grant

Who can apply?

Organizations or individuals who are producing a festival occurring in the City of Boston who have received a Festivals Program grant from the Mass Cultural Council are eligible to receive a matching grant from the Opportunity Fund.

Who is eligible?

Applicants can live anywhere, but the festival they are organizing must occur within the City of Boston.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Fees paid to artists, musicians, performers, celebrities, special guests, and speakers.

  • Programming and production costs.

  • Equipment rental such as: sound, stage, lighting.

  • Accessibility services such as: enhancements for people with visual impairment or hearing loss.

  • Audience surveys, research or economic impact studies related to festival activities

  • Translation costs such as: promotional or programming materials for multi-cultural audiences.

  • Marketing and promotional materials.

Field Trips

Who can apply?

Teachers at K-12 schools in the City of Boston who are planning arts and cultural field trips are welcome to apply for an Opportunity Fund Field Trip Grant to help support the costs of the field trip.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be teachers or school administrators at schools that are located in the City of Boston.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Travel

  • Tickets

  • Food



Along with its rich literary history, Boston is also home to many talented contemporary writers. In honor of the diverse and creative village we call Boston, the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture will display selected poems on the walls of city hall. Poets who reside or work in Boston are invited to send in work to help celebrate the city through poetry and to remind people of what a culturally exciting city Boston is to live and work in. 

A public reading hosted by Boston's Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges will take place to highlight the selected poems the last week in April. 

This year’s theme is Boston's Diverse Neighborhoods.


Selection Process: 

Poet and Professor Kathi Aguero will select 18 poems based on strength of content and style. 

Please submit the following in one document:

  • Up to 3 poems (each poem 200 words or fewer) 

  • A brief bio (no longer than a paragraph)

For more information, contact:

John Crowley, Curator/Exhibitions Coordinator

Mayor's Office of Arts & Culture

Boston City Hall, Room 802

Boston, Massachusetts 02201

Phone: 617/635-2368   Fax: 617/635-1850