Ends on

BACKGROUND

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture’s (MOAC) believes artists have a crucial role in creating a thriving, healthy community for all and that everyone should have access to creative expression through lifelong arts programming in every Boston neighborhood. 

In alignment with this belief, the Opportunity Fund was established in 2016 to provide grants for working artists, creative workers, and cultural practitioners of all artistic backgrounds and disciplines (subsequently referred to as “creative workers” throughout these guidelines) living in the city of Boston to increase their impact within their communities. 

This year, the Opportunity Fund is available as grants of $3,000 aimed to increase creative workers’ community impact within the city of Boston by: 

  1. Uplifting artists’ publicly accessible creative projects, 
  2. Furthering access to artists’ trainings that will increase their community impact
  3. Bolstering artists' civic engagement and leadership

Recipients of the Opportunity Fund will be selected through a weighted lottery process, with priority given to performing artists; individuals from low income backgrounds and/or individuals who are currently experiencing financial insecurity; and creative workers who live in the following neighborhoods: Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and Roxbury. 

Please read through the full grant description prior to applying.


 

THE BASICS

Contact: For questions regarding the Opportunity Fund grant please email artsgrants@boston.gov and use the subject line, “Opportunity Fund Grant Questions.”

Funding Source: Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture Operating Funds

Total Funds Available: $300,000

Size of grants: $3,000

Number of grants awarded: 100

Important Dates: The application deadline for FY24 is June 9, 2024 by 11:59 pm. Grants will be awarded and disbursed in July 2024.


 

FUNDING ELIGIBILITY AND PRIORITIES

Below this list are detailed explanations of the eligibility and priorities criteria.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants should meet all of the following criteria to be eligible. 

  • You are 18+
  • You are an active working individual artist, creative worker, or cultural practitioner 
  • You are currently a resident of the city of Boston, and have lived in the city of Boston for at least one full year at the time of this application
  • You are not currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student or graduate student
  • You have not received the Neighborhood and Downtown Activation Grant

What are the funding priorities? 

Please note that the funding priorities are different from the eligibility requirements. We encourage you to apply if you meet the eligibility requirements, but do not meet all, some, or any of the funding priorities below.

  • Creative workers with an individual annual income under 80% of the median household income in Boston ($83,120)
  • Creative workers with an individual annual income under 30% of the median household income in Boston ($31,170)
  • Performing artists
  • Applicants who have not received a grant from the Opportunity Fund in the past
  • Residents in neighborhoods who live in the following neighborhoods: Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and Roxbury. 

Additional information to consider 

  • You must provide a physical address where you reside in Boston. 
  • MOAC reserves the right to request additional documentation to verify Boston residency.
  • You may need to pay taxes on grants you’ve received.
  • Payment will be made to you as an individual.
  • If you receive public benefits that are income-limited and/or include asset limitations, this grant may impact those benefits. 


 

GLOSSARY AND FAQ

What is the definition of a creative worker in this context?

According to Springboard for the Arts, “An artist is anyone who thinks creatively about the world and their dynamic place in it. Our definition of artist is broad and includes visual artists, performers, writers, music creators, culture bearers, makers, artisans, storytellers, social conveners, idea purveyors, imaginaries, visionaries, students, teachers, organizers and nurturers. Artists are a powerful natural resource and they exist in every place and community.”


What is the definition of an “active creative worker”  in this context?

Active creative workers are individuals who are currently engaged in creative work intended to function as a profession instead of as a hobby. Active creative workers may earn income by selling their creative work, receive funding to support the development of their creative work (such as grants, awards, fellowships, and residencies), or work in non-creative industries to fund their professional creative work, with the intention of focusing their careers on their creative work. While students may be considered active creative workers, the Opportunity Fund does not invest in full-time students at this time.
 

What does it mean to reside in the city of Boston? 

Eligible applicants must reside in the city of Boston for at least one year at the time of application. To live in the city of Boston you must live in one of the neighborhoods mentioned on this City of Boston website.  


Who is prioritized and why?

The Opportunity Fund will prioritize individuals who may have not had fair access to artists grant programs, including creative workers who are: 

  • Performing artists
  • Applicants who have not received a grant from the Opportunity Fund in the past
  • From low income backgrounds and/or individuals who are currently experiencing financial insecurity
  • Creative workers who live in neighborhoods listed above 

Applicants who self-identify into priority categories will receive additional entries into the lottery.


Why does the Opportunity Fund prioritize performing artists? 

All artistic disciplines are eligible for the Opportunity Fund. In our most recent round of the Opportunity Fund, a third of applicants identified their artistic discipline as music. More broadly, the performing arts sector locally, and globally, was hit particularly hard by COVID-19. This industry has continued to face barriers toward recovering from COVID-19 because of the way the pandemic changed audience engagement, and the increased closure of performing arts spaces. For these reasons, the Opportunity Fund continues to prioritize investing in artists in the performing arts.
 

How does MOAC define financial insecurity?

The City of Boston has defined low income as households making less than 80% of the area median income and extremely low income as households making less than 30% of area median income. By these standards, nearly two thirds of the Opportunity Fund’s most recent applicants could be defined as extremely low income, while living in a city with a higher cost of living than the broader metropolitan area. 

Why does the Opportunity Fund prioritize artists living in certain neighborhoods?

The Opportunity Fund welcomes applications from creative workers who live in all neighborhoods of Boston. The Opportunity Fund prioritizes applications from creative workers who reside in communities impacted by long-standing inequities, including Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and Roxbury. Data on the impact of risks posed by climate change and COVID-19 are used to determine these communities. Click here to explore data we use to determine these communities. 


 

APPLICATION PROCESS AND TIMELINE 

The application is available on Submittable here. The application will open on May 13, 2024, and the deadline is June 9, 2024 by 11:59 pm. The application should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application no later than July 10, 2024. 

A condensed application process is as follows:

  • Submit application via Submittable
  • Review of applications to ensure applicants meet eligibility criteria
  • Weight each application: eligible applicants who self-identify as members of priority areas will receive additional entries into the lottery
  • Eligible applicants will be entered into a lottery
  • Awardees will be chosen using Random Picker
  • Applicants will be notified on the status of their application no later than July 10, 2024
  • Funding will be disbursed to awardees between late June and early July 2024


Grant Requirements

  • To receive funding, grantees must register with the City of Boston as vendors with the address used for this application 
  • All grantees will be asked to submit a brief final report describing how their project contributed to their community.

Review Application Questions

Applications will be accepted through Submittable. If you would like to review application questions before applying, you can review them here. For a document version of the guidelines, you can see here


Accessibility and Accommodations 

People who seek technical support and accommodations in the application process can reach out via email at artsgrants@boston.gov and use the subject line “Opportunity Fund Grant Questions” or call our primary contact at (617) 635-4445. If you cannot reach someone through our primary contact number, you can reach out to (617) 910-0048. This includes, but is not limited to: People who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind, or have difficulty speaking and/or reading. Large print and translated materials are available upon request. 

English: Interpretation and translation services are available to you at no cost. If you need them, please contact us at arts@boston.gov, LCA@boston.gov or 617-635-4445, by: 5/24/2024

Spanish - Español: Hay servicios de interpretación y traducción a su disposición sin costo alguno. Si los necesita, póngase en contacto con nosotros mandando un correo electrónico arts@boston.gov, LCA@boston.gov  o llamando a 617-635-4445, hasta esta fecha: 24/5/2024

Haitian Creole -Kreyòl ayisyen:  Sèvis entèpretation ak tradiksyon disponib pou ou san sa pa koute w anyen. Si w bezwen yo, tanpri kontakte nou nan arts@boston.gov LCA@boston.gov  oswa 617-635-4445, ant: 24/5/2024  

Traditional Chinese - 繁體中文: 我們可以向您提供口頭翻譯和書面翻譯服務,並不向您收取費用。如您需要,請在 5 月 24 日 前與我們連絡,發電子郵件至  arts@boston.gov, LCA@boston.gov 或致電 617-635-4445。

Vietnamese - Tiếng Việt: Các dịch vụ thông dịch và biên dịch được cung cấp cho quý vị hoàn toàn miễn phí. Nếu quý vị cần những dịch vụ này, vui lòng liên lạc với chúng tôi theo địa chỉ arts@boston.gov, LCA@boston.gov  hoặc số điện thoại 617-635-4445. ngày cuối: 24/5/2024  

Simplified Chinese - 简体中文:  我们可以向您提供口头翻译和书面翻译服务,并不向您收取费用。如您需要,请在 5 月 24 日 前与我们联系, 发电子邮件至 arts@boston.gov,  LCA@boston.gov  或致电 617-635-4445。

Cabo Verdean Creole - kriolu:  Nu ta oferese-bu sirvisus di interpretason y traduson di grasa. Si bu meste kes sirvisu la, kontata-nu pa email arts@boston.gov, LCA@boston.gov  ó pa telefóni, pa númeru 617-635-4445. Na es data: 24/5/2024  

 Arabic - العربية

خدمات الترجمة الشفوية والترجمة التحريرية متوفرة لك دون تحملك أي تكلفة. إذا احتجت لهذه الخدمات، يرجى التواصل معنا على العنوانarts@boston.gov, أو LCA@boston.gov، أو رقم الهاتف 617-635-4445، بحلول يوم 2024/24/5 

Russian -Русский: Услуги устного и письменного перевода предоставляются бесплатно. Если Вам они нужны, просьба связаться с нами по адресу электронной почты arts@boston.gov,  LCA@boston.gov либо по телефону 617-635-4445. до  24/5/2024

Portuguese - Português: Você tem à disposição serviços gratuitos de interpretação e tradução. Se precisar deles, fale conosco: arts@boston.gov, LCA@boston.gov ou 617-635-4445. Até esta data 24/5/2024  

French - Français: Les services d’interprétation et de traduction sont à votre disposition gratuitement. Si vous en avez besoin, veuillez nous contacter à arts@boston.gov, LCA@boston.gov ou au 617-635-4445, d'ici au: 24/5 /2024 

Somali - Af Soomaali: Adeegyada tarjumaadda iyo fasiraada luuqadaha ayaa diyaar kuu ah adiga oo aan wax kharash ah ka bixin. Haddii aad u baahatid iyaga, fadlan nagala soo xiriir arts@boston.gov, LCA@boston.gov ama 617-635-4445, markay taariikhdu tahay:  24/5/2024

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.