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Opportunity Fund 5.0 Guidelines (FY22)

Purpose

The Opportunity Fund provides grants that support meaningful one-time opportunities for artists of all artistic backgrounds and disciplines, teaching artists, creative workers, and cultural practitioners living in the city of Boston to further develop their career or help provide high-quality community art experiences throughout the city of Boston. The Opportunity Fund has two grant categories:

  1. Artist Career Development Grant: $5,000 for professional development opportunities and expenses related to projects that help the applicant further their artistic career in a meaningful way.
  2. Community Arts Experiences: $10,000 grant for individual artists and teaching artists across various artistic disciplines who want to bring arts experiences into Boston neighborhoods that have been identified as having a lower concentration of arts activities that are free, accessible, and open to the public.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will be prioritizing:

Application Cycle

In FY22 nearly $245,000 will be available for grant distribution and award sizes will depend on the grant category you apply for. The Opportunity Fund will reopen on December 13, 2021 with an application deadline of Friday, January 28 at 5PM. Our office anticipates being able to disburse payment to grantees throughout the month of March 2022. Grantees must use their award funding and complete grant activities between the date they receive their award and the end of 2022. If you are awarded the Opportunity Fund, you will not be able to receive it again until our next fiscal year (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023).

Application Requirements

  • To submit a complete application, applicants must register with the City of Boston as vendors
  • Grantees must keep all receipts in case the City of Boston requests them
  • All grantees will be required to:
    • Submit a short one page report summarizing your experience and/or artist career development opportunity that describes outcomes and how the funds were used OR participate in a Q&A style interview with staff in the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture a week after your community arts experience and/or artist career development opportunity
    • Invite members of the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture to attend your art experience (mandatory for all Community Arts Experiences, and when applicable for Artist Career Development grantees).

Please continue reading for specific guidelines for each grant category:

Artist Career Development Grant ($5,000 grant)

Who can apply?

Individual artists of all artistic backgrounds and disciplines, teaching artists, creative workers, and cultural practitioners living in the city of Boston who want to pursue meaningful one-time artistic opportunities to further their career can apply. An individual artist can also apply on behalf of an artist collective, artist group, band, etc. You can apply for funding to support:

  • Professional development opportunities
  • An artistic project, or projects, and
  • Materials and artistic career expenses. 

Who is eligible?

Artists residing within the city of Boston are eligible to apply for the Artist Career Development Grant if their annual individual income is less than $50,000. Over 70% of artists surveyed through our office’s Artist Housing Survey make an income of under $50,000 and our office aims to prioritize supporting these artists in Boston. Artists are welcome to use the grant to support more than one opportunity (e.g. an artist could apply for funds to support professional development opportunities and artistic project expenses). Artists, teaching artists, culture workers, and creative practitioners of all artistic disciplines are eligible to apply.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Cost of materials
  • Cost of travel, conference, residency fees, professional development workshop fees, funding for meals on your trip (if you're going on one), and,
  • Costs related to an artistic project within your artistic discipline. Examples include but are not limited to: help framing paintings before an exhibition, producing an album, making a film, choreographing a dance performance and hiring dancers to perform with you, etc.

Community Arts Experiences ($10,000)

Who can apply?

Individual artists, teaching artists, creative workers, and cultural practitioners living in Boston who would like to bring free public arts experiences into a neighborhood located in Boston. An individual artist can also apply on behalf of an artist collective, artist group, band, etc.

  • The Community Arts Experiences category 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, and were hit hardest by COVID-19. Priority communities include Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, and Mattapan.
  • Experiences do not have to happen in these geographic areas, but these geographic areas will be prioritized. Artists who live in these neighborhoods will also be prioritized. Whether applicants' arts experiences occur in one of these neighborhoods or not, applicants are encouraged to explain how the community they will serve is underserved by arts activities in the City of Boston.
  • Experiences can be recurring, first-time, or stand-alone experiences.
  • Experiences can also be in libraries, schools, or less traditional arts-learning spaces such as senior centers, health centers, or community centers, as long as they are free, safe, accessible, and open to the public.
  • Applicants will be asked to submit a plan for keeping audience members, event staff, and attendees safe due to COVID-19. Here is guidance for organizing COVID-19 safe events from the CDC.
  • If an experience 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?

This grant is open to individual artists, teaching artists, creative workers, cultural practitioners, and art collectives (groups, bands, etc.) who live within the city of Boston. The arts experience offered must occur in the city of Boston (experiences in Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, and Mattapan will be prioritized). Arts organizations, Main Streets organizations, and schools cannot apply for this grant but an artist can apply with them as a partner. Applicants can work with a fiscal sponsor to accept the award on their behalf if they so choose.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Materials and supplies for the arts experience (this can include refreshments)
  • Costs associated with marketing the experience
  • Costs associated with renting a space for the experience
  • Costs associated with a COVID plan, which includes PPE, testing, and/or other materials
  • Compensation for artist(s) facilitating experience, or artists hired as part of the experience. This can include the applicant.

Still have questions? Submit a question here and read our FAQ here.

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