Artist Housing Certification Guidelines

What is an Artist Certificate? 

An Artist Housing Certificate is a letter from Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. The letter confirms that the artist has been active in their artistic practice in the past three years. An Artist Housing Certificate qualifies an artist as eligible for artist live/work housing and some work space in Boston. The Artist Housing Certification is valid for a period of eight years. Upon expiration, the artist will need to reapply to receive a new Artist Housing Certification. The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture keeps a list of all spaces for artists in the City of Boston, whether they require the Artist Certification or not. Review those spaces here. The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture does not maintain a waitlist for these spaces and is not able to confirm when these spaces will become available.

Who is eligible for an Artist Housing Certification?

Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body (last three years) of artwork 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

If you are a commercial artist who has an office space to do your work, and/or works for a company instead of for yourself (sole proprietor) we require examples of your personal fine art to ensure that you need an artist space for your artistic work. This is also the case for artists who are employed full-time in other industries.

Who reviews the applications?

The Artist Resource Manager in the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture reviews applications.

The decision of the Artist Resource Manager is final. If an applicant is not certified during this round, it is because they were not able to convey that they have been actively making art in the past three years through their application.

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria.

  • Evidence of a recent body of work (last three years), demonstrated by an artistic resume or CV that lists dates and locations of exhibitions, publications, performances, press, awards, artist residencies, jobs held in arts discipline field, and formal training if you have it.
  • Documentation of artwork (or "work samples) including image files, video clips, and writing samples. Files must be dated or they will not be considered. 
  • One reference letter of support from peers and professionals in the arts who can confirm you have been active in your artistic practice over the past three years.

When are applications accepted?

Applications for the Artist Certification are reviewed every other month. Please check out website to see when we will be reviewing applications.

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

You will hear back about your application the week after we review applications. Use the link above to check when we will be reviewing applications.

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 Housing Certification application and upload your fellowship letter in the Work Samples section. Letter must prove reception of award in the past three years.

Public Art Curator Roster Guidelines

The City of Boston is creating a list of qualified curators interested in leading in the creation of municipal, private, and public-private public art projects. The Public Art Curator Roster is a response to an increase in requests for qualified curators experienced in the public realm from stakeholders in the field. In order to provide interested parties introduction to experienced public art curators, this list will be made publicly available on Boston.gov/arts. 

The Public Art Curator Roster is valid for a period of eight years. Upon expiration, the curator will need to reapply to renew their inclusion on the roster.

Who is eligible for a Public Art Curator Roster?
Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body (last three years) of curatorial experience and must be at least 18 years of age. Additionally, curators and other professionals with experience and interest in the following categories are considered:

  • Public art planning
  • Public art project management

Curators with experience and interest in the following categories of projects are considered:

  • Private property projects
  • Public property projects
  • Interior projects
  • Exterior projects
  • Temporary installations
  • Long-term installations
  • Two-dimensional projects
  • Three-dimensional projects
  • Participatory activations working with multiple stakeholders 

Curators may work as a sole proprietor or may be a member of a larger organization or company but must apply individually. 

The City of Boston is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. Qualified applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, military, and veteran status, or other protected category.

Why create this roster?

The Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC) released the City’s first cultural plan, Boston Creates, in 2016, calling for increased support to Boston’s arts and culture ecosystem. In order to integrate art into Boston's landscape, the City created a Percent for Art Program demonstrating the City’s leadership and commitment to sustainable funding for the arts by setting aside one percent of the City’s annual capital borrowing budget for the commissioning of public art. 

In order to fulfill this shared vision of a robust arts and culture ecosystem, the City's efforts must be met with private endeavors and public-private partnerships. Urban visionaries across the world invite curators and artists to join their design teams; we encourage all leaders working in Boston to celebrate the unique cultural vibrancy of the city of Boston through the creation of innovative and transformative artworks in our built environment. 

Who reviews the applications?

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture reviews applications and decisions are final. If an applicant is not accepted during this round, it is because they were not able to convey that they have been actively curating public art projects in the past three years through their application.

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria.

  • Evidence of a recent body of work (last three years), demonstrated by a resume or CV that lists dates and locations of exhibitions, installations, publications, performances, press, awards, residencies, jobs held in arts discipline field, and formal training if relevant.
  • Documentation of installations and exhibitions including image files, video clips, and writing samples. Files must be dated or they will not be considered. 
  • Recommendations and letters of support from peers and professionals in the arts.

When are applications accepted?
Applications for the Public Art Curator Roster are reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications are reviewed the last week of every month. If you submit your application by close of business on the last Tuesday of the month, your application will be reviewed that month.

When will I hear back about the status of my application?
You should expect to wait no more than 6 weeks to hear back.

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


City of Boston logo 



 Important Update 3/20/2020

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture is receiving many questions from artists and third-party proponents seeking guidance on the ways Coronavirus Disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, might impact proposals for public art. While protocols and guidelines are changing quickly, we continue to offer as much support and up-to-date information as possible. We encourage you to monitor the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture's web page, where we are regularly posting new information. As you consider applying, keep in mind that rapidly changing timelines and certain moratoriums may impact approval and installation timelines. 

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. 

This form is for BAC review on whether to allow artwork to be sited on City property; this is not an application for funding. 

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 may be reviewed by the Boston Art Commission at our monthly meeting, generally scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month. We ask for applications to be submitted three weeks before a BAC meeting and six weeks before the proposed installation start date.

Opportunity Fund 4.0 Guidelines (FY21)

Please note there have been changes to the Opportunity Fund to reflect the needs of individual artists in Boston due to COVID-19. In FY21 the Opportunity Fund is only open for applications from individual artists and not arts organizations.


Opportunity Fund Guidelines

Purpose

The Opportunity Fund provides grants that support meaningful one-time opportunities for artists living in the City of Boston to further develop their careers, and supports artists who want to plan free arts-focused experiences and events throughout the City that provide increased affordable arts and cultural programming for Bostonians in their neighborhoods. The Opportunity Fund has two grant categories:

  • Artist Career Development (up to $500 grant for applications for one-time professional development opportunities, and up to $1,000 grant for supplies and expenses associated with artistic career), and 
  • Community Arts Experiences & Events (up to $1,000 grant).

Please note that artists who applied to the Boston Artist Relief Fund but have not been funded due to lack of funding are encouraged to apply to the Opportunity Fund and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will do their best to prioritize these applicants.

Application Cycle

The Opportunity Fund will reopen on July 7, 2020 and will be open on a rolling basis. Please note that deadlines are subject to change and will be updated on our website. Individuals may only receive a grant from the Opportunity Fund once per round of funding. This means only one Opportunity Fund grant per fiscal year (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021). If your experience or event is coming up shortly, you are welcome to apply to the Opportunity Fund to have your expenses reimbursed, but we will not be able to guarantee advanced funding.

Available Funds

In FY21 $200,000 will be available for distribution in $500 and $1,000 grants from the Opportunity Fund. Grant size will depend on the grant category you apply for. Please review the description of each grant category to learn more.

Application Requirements For All Applicants & Awardees

To submit a complete application, applicants must submit a completed W9 and must register with the City of Boston as vendors. 

Reporting Requirements

All grantees will be required to submit a final report that describes how the funds were used. Final reports must be filed online within one year of receiving your grant award letter. Please note that if you are awarded a grant, you will be required to apply for a Vendor ID number from the City of Boston in order to receive your funds. Grantees must keep all receipts in case the City of Boston requests them.

Please continue reading for specific guidelines for each grant category:

Artist Career Development Grant (grants of $500 and $1,000)

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 for professional development opportunities. Whether it is taking a course to receive a certification related to teaching artistry, attending a conference, workshop, or webinar - if it supports your professional development as an artist or teaching artist, we'd like to help cover those costs. Grants up to $500.
  • Funding to help support an artistic project. Whether you are painting a mural, recording an album, or choreographing a dance, this grant can be used by artists of any artistic discipline to help fund a personal artistic project. ($1,000)
  • Funding for materials and artistic career expenses. Whether you need funding to support framing your work, funding to rent a rehearsal or studio space, or to buy equipment you need to make your work, this grant can be used by artists of any artistic discipline to offset the costs of your artistic career. ($1,000)

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, or $51,600. Nearly 90% of Certified Artists surveyed make an income of under $51,600. Please note, if you have more than one household income that you share, you must combine all household incomes together to see if you are eligible for this grant. Only individual artists or artists who make a shared/combined income of less than $51,600 are eligible for this grant. For example: If you have a domestic partner who you share incomes with and your shared income is more than $51,600, you are not eligible for this grant.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Cost of materials, equipment, and infrastructure that supports your artistic career,
  • Cost of travel, conference, residency fees, professional development workshop fees and,
  • Costs related to an artistic project, such as help framing paintings before an exhibition, or mastering an album (these are just examples!).

Community Arts Experiences & Events (up to $1,000)

Who can apply?

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

  • Community Arts Experiences & Events 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 or event will occur in one of these neighborhoods or not, applicants are encouraged to explain how the community they will serve through this arts experience or event are underserved by arts activities in the City of Boston.
  • Experiences or events can be recurring, first-time, or stand-alone experiences or events
  • Experiences or events can be, but are not limited to: Film screenings with post-viewing Q&As, arts learning classes or workshops taught by teaching artists, artist talks and panels, concerts and performances, arts festivals, etc.
  • Experiences and events can be virtual due to COVID-19. When it is safe to do so, experiences and events can be in libraries, schools, or less traditional arts-learning spaces such as senior centers, health centers, community centers, or churches. Please note in-person experience and events applications will only be approved when it is deemed safe to gather in the Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For the time-being, we encourage virtual events.
  • Experiences and events must be free and must be open to the public.
  • If an experience or event includes showing a film, the film must be the applicant's own work and/or the applicant must be able to prove permission to show this work.

Who is eligible?

Artists or teaching artists who are applying to bring arts experiences or events into communities can live anywhere, but the arts experience or event offered must occur in the City of Boston. Arts organizations, Main Streets organizations, schools cannot apply. This grant is only open for applications from individual artists in FY21. 

What expenses are eligible?

  • Materials for the arts experience or event
  • Costs associated with marketing the experience or event
  • Compensation for artist(s) facilitating experience, or artists hired as part of the event or experience.

About the Boston Cultural Council

The Boston Cultural Council (BCC), under the umbrella of the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, helps to ensure that grant making responds to the needs of the cultural community and grant solicitation, review and disbursement follows best practices. The BCC annually distributes funds allocated by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, to support innovative arts, humanities, and interpretive science programming that enhance the quality of life in our city.

Boston Cultural Council Equity Statement 

To truly thrive, Boston must be an equitable city. For the Boston Cultural Council, equity means equal access to resources and equal value of all cultural traditions and expressions. Equity operates as an out-loud process of actively reflecting, including, and rewarding cultural, economic, and racial diversity in the arts. The BCC actively encourages the creativity and engagement of all Boston residents and visitors. They do this through grantmaking guided by the Boston Creates cultural plan. BCC grants emphasize fair opportunity, accessibility, and understanding of Boston’s arts and cultural communities. BCC programmatic, financial, and informational resources also proactively encourage equity and inclusion within the organizations we support. 

Boston Cultural Council Funding Strategy

The BCC has an updated funding strategy with new eligibility requirements and guidelines. For the second time, grants will be made only to organizations with annual budgets under $2 million. Organizations will now fall under different categories depending on their budget size, and all grantees within a specific budget category will receive the same amount of funding. Please visit boston.gov/artsgrants to learn more about the BCC’s Funding Strategy.

Grant Guidelines

Please visit here to read the full guidelines for applying to the BCC. Guidelines include information on BCC review process, evaluation criteria, grant reconsideration, grant payment cycle. Please also review our website for information on how to prepare materials and for answers to commonly asked questions including a budget template and information on how to find a fiscal sponsor. Still have questions? Schedule a meeting with us here.

Grant Categories

The BCC offers general operating support grants to organizations with budgets of less than $2 million. If an organization is selected as a recipient, they will receive the total amount they are eligible for in their budget category.

  • Organizations with budgets less than $100,000 may apply for a grant of $2,000
  • Organizations with budgets between $100,000 and $500,000 may apply for a grant of $3,500
  • Organizations with budgets between $500,000 and $2,000,000 may apply for a grant of $5,000

Eligibility

  • Non-profit cultural organizations with budgets under $2 million whose mission and programming is focused in the following disciplines: Music, Film and Video, Traditional and Folk Art, Visual Art, Theater, Dance, Humanities, Literary Arts, Performing Arts, Social/Civic Practice, Multidisciplinary Arts. 
  • Non-profits whose mission is not primarily arts and culture based yet are looking to fund arts and culture programs are eligible to apply.
  • Organizations not based in the City of Boston, with primary programming that takes place in Boston are eligible to apply.
  • Unincorporated groups can apply with a fiscal sponsor as long as they meet the rest of the eligibility criteria. This can include artist collectives, volunteer groups, or publications.
  • Organizations can submit only one proposal per funding cycle.
  • Non-profits with L3C designations are eligible to apply. 

Grant Fund Restrictions

Grant funds may NOT  be used for the following items:

  • Salaries or stipends for employees of a school system, library, parks department, municipal agency or municipality.
  • Capital expenditures for schools, libraries, other municipal agencies.
  • Programming that discriminates or discourages participation on the basis of race, gender, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
  • K-12 schools, K-12 school foundations, and Main Streets organizations are not eligible to apply. 

Application Forms and Submission

  • We prefer to have all proposals submitted online. Hand written hard copies will be accepted delivered to 1 City Hall Square, 8th floor room 802, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am-5:00pm. 
  • Applicants must have Vendor ID, Application Name & Address match the information on the City of Boston supplier portal. For assistance using the Supplier Portal, creating a new vendor account, updating existing vendor account updates, creating a User ID, etc you will find detailed instructions with screenshots at this link. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the 'Related Documents' section. 
  • If using a fiscal sponsor, you must have a letter from the sponsor confirming that they will accept the funds and distribute the funds to the applicant.

Application Deadline 

  • Applications must be received on or before November 16, 2020 5:00 pm EST (ONLINE only) Paper applications received by November 13, 2020 5:00 pm EST. 
  • No late applications will be accepted.
City of Boston Arts and Culture