Ends on October 31, 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, 2018December 30, 2017February 28, 2018April 30-June 30, 2018February 28, 2018April 30, 2018June 30-August 30, 2018April 30, 2018June 30, 2018August 30-October 30, 2018June 30, 2018August 30, 2018October 30-December 30, 2018August 30, 2018October 30, 2018December 30, 2018-February 28, 2019October 30, 2018December 30, 2018
It can take up to a month to receive funding after being awarded and submitting paperwork for payment of the Opportunity Fund.

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 your grant award letter. 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 Size65% AMI1$47,0502$53,8003$60,5004$67,2005$72,6006$78,000

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.
  • If an experience includes showing a film, the film must be the applicants own work and/or the applicant must be able to prove permission to show this work.

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. Please note that if a BPS school is awarded funds they will be disbursed through the school system and not directly to a teacher, staff member, or administrator.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be teachers or school administrators at public schools that are located in the City of Boston. This includes BPS schools and charter schools located in the City of Boston. This does not include universities and independent schools. Schools must be kindergarten, elementary, middle, or high schools.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Travel
  • Tickets
  • Food