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 across all Boston neighborhoods. The Neighborhood and Downtown Activation Grant is a program to support community-focused arts, cultural, and creative activations in public spaces that foster joy and strengthen community wellbeing across Boston neighborhoods. 

*The Neighborhood and Downtown Activation Grant application can be found at the bottom of these guidelines after signing into Submittable. The MOAC asks that you review these guidelines before starting the application.*
 

Who can apply?  

This fund will support individuals, nonprofit organizations, collectives, fiscally sponsored groups, and/or businesses working alongside community partners to implement creative activations across a variety of scales in Boston, with a priority for projects that center communities who have been impacted by long-standing systemic inequities.


What is a creative activation? 

Specific to this grant, a creative activation is an arts, cultural, and/or creative experience in a publicly accessible space that imagines and explores new possible uses for that space. This includes experiences that: 

  • Result in permanent or temporary changes to the physical, social, and/or atmospheric components of the space. 
  • Center the social fabric, traditions, norms, and conversations happening within the  community, highlighting its existing strengths and history. 
  • Demonstrate many kinds of creative elements, cultural traditions, artistic disciplines, artists and community engagement processes. 
  • Are designed, planned, and executed in partnership with, and to benefit, residents, local organizations, business owners, and workers within and surrounding the space.

This grant is open to both existing creative activations that are ongoing and new activations that are being launched for the first time. General examples of creative activations include (but are not limited to): performance art, community celebrations, a community-led stage, interactive theater productions, film screenings with conversation, cultural festivals, arts and cultural markets, community dialogues that center the arts, a digital arts festival, and more.

Please read through the full grant description prior to applying. A strong application will fit the full criteria outlined in this description. 


 

THE BASICS

Contact: For questions regarding the Neighborhood and Downtown Activation Grant, please email artsgrants@boston.gov. If phone is preferred, please leave a message at 617-910-0048 and someone from the grants team will be in touch with you. 

Funding Source: American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Boston Planning and Development Public Impact Contribution Funds

Total Funds Available: Up to $5 million

Size of grants: 

  • Cultural Festival: $5,000, one time grant
  • Small-Scale Activation: Less than $20,000, one time grant
  • Mid-Scale Activation: Less than $50,000, one time grant
  • Large-Scale Activation: $50,000 - $100,000, one time grant and multiyear up to 2 years
  • Multiyear Activation: $100,000 - $200,000 multiyear up to 3 years

Additional Information

  • Events and programs of all scales will be considered, including those with a budget under $10,000. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a budget that is commensurate with their proposed activation. 
  • Individuals with proposals over $100,000 are required to submit an application in partnership with a nonprofit organization or business.
  • Pending on funds available, approved proposals may receive partial funding of the total requested grant amount. 
  • For large multiyear funding, we encourage applicants to list additional funders that you have either confirmed or are considering pursuing.
  • There is a limited number of large, multiyear funding opportunities. 


 

ELIGIBILITY, CRITERIA, AND PRIORITIES  

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants need to meet all of the following criteria to be eligible: 

  • Be an individual, non profit organization, collective, fiscally sponsored group, or business working in partnership with community partners
  • Be Boston residents or demonstrate that their project is led by partners and/or artists who are Boston residents 
  • Have a direct relationship to the community or area in which the activation or program is taking place. This can include being from that community, having spent a significant amount of time working and building relationships in that place, etc. 

Project Requirements

  • All projects and related programming are located in the City of Boston and are free and open to the public 
  • Have a concrete location(s) in which the activations will take place, even if those places are not yet confirmed. Project ideas that list entire neighborhoods will not be considered. 
  • Demonstrate strong alignment with MOAC’s definition of creative activation as an arts, cultural, and/or creative experience in a publicly accessible space that imagines and explores new possible uses for that space. This includes experiences that:                                         
    • Result in permanent or temporary changes to the physical, social, and/or atmospheric components of the space. 
    • Center the social fabric, traditions, and norms of the community, highlighting its existing strengths and history. 
    • Demonstrate many kinds of creative elements, cultural traditions, artistic disciplines, artists and community engagement processes.
    • Are designed, planned, and executed in partnership with, and to benefit, residents, local organizations, business owners, and workers within and surrounding the space.

     

  • All events and programs funded by the Neighborhood and Downtown Activation Grant are required to be accessible for persons with disabilities under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including additional accommodations to be made available upon request of any person who requires alternately formatted materials, auxiliary aids, or other accommodations.
  • Grant recipients will work with MOAC on an evaluation plan as a part of the grant agreement, to document and communicate the impact of the program to the public

Permitting: All activations must obtain all required permits for the activation, separate from this grant program. For more information on permitting requirements and process, you can go here

Considerations and Priorities

Projects that include some or all of the these elements will be prioritized:

Location

  • Priority will be given to activations that occur or include the following neighborhoods: Mattapan, Roxbury, Dorchester, Hyde Park, East Boston, and Chinatown.

Public participation / co-creation

  • Going beyond the public as an audience and strategically building opportunities for the public to contribute to the vision, creation, and enjoyment of the activation. 

Youth participation and training:

  • Integrating outcomes for young people (ages 14 to 24) into the activation, facilitating opportunities for young people to inform and lead work, including opportunities to learn specific skills or gain career exposure.  

Partnerships and Collaborations:

  • Authentic partnerships and collaboration that bring communities that are segregated due to race, income, or geographic boundaries, into conversation and cross-neighborhood collaboration with each other.  
  • Applications from for-profit organizations that are partnered with non-profits, artists, or community groups will have priority over applications from for-profit organizations that do not have local non-profit partners.
     

What this does not fund:

  • Fundraising events, advertising, or any activity that is primarily for the commercial benefit of one entity 
  • Religious programs of any kind
  • Ticketed events that have an entry fee (ticketed free events are eligible)
  • Other foundations or grant-giving organizations
  • Events that have taken place prior to the application deadline 


Evaluation and Reporting Requirements 

Once the activation(s) proposed is complete, grantee partners will be asked to complete a brief final report form, as well as a survey about the grant process. This will allow MOAC to improve our grantmaking processes in the future to better support community work. Some applicants will be required to meet with the Grants + Programs team periodically and to review the final report. 


APPLICATION PROCESS AND TIMELINE 

The application is available on Submittable, at the bottom of this page. Funds will support activations starting in July 2023. All American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds must be in contract by the end of the calendar year 2024 and be fully spent by grantee partners by the end of calendar year 2026. Funds will be dispersed in 1-2 installments for one time grants and over 3 installments for multiyear grants. 

A condensed application process is as follows:

  • Submit application via Submittable
  • Initial review of application by the Grant Review Committee 
  • Virtual Q&A / Conversation between applicant and grants team (only some applicants will be asked to join a conversation)
  • Final Proposal and approval


Application Support

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will host three office hours for applicants to discuss the NDAG and its application. Office hours will be held on the following dates and times (dates include links):

Due Dates

Grant applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. The following quarterly due dates for applications in fiscal year 2024 are as follows: 

  • Round 1: July 3, 2023 by 11:59 pm
  • Round 2: October 31, 2023 by 11:59 pm
  • Round 3: February 26, 2024 by 11:59 pm
  • Round 4: TBD (there will be a round 4) 

Applications submitted after 11:59pm on the due date will be reviewed as part of the following quarter’s application round. A member of MOAC will inform all applicants on the status of their application within 8 weeks of the due date. If approved, payment can take up 30 days to process. Funds will be limited for each quarter to ensure future funding rounds through 2024.

  • All applicants will be notified of their application status. Qualifying applications that are not selected for the round they submitted will roll over to the next round of applications. If a qualifying application is not selected during the second round, the application will be removed from the pool and the applicant will be notified by a member of MOAC that their application was not approved.
     

Grant Review Committee

MOAC is committed to implementing transparent, equitable and inclusive grantmaking practices, including the way we determine and distribute funding. The Grant Review Committee (GRC) is a diverse cohort across age, race, cultural backgrounds, professional and lived experiences, artists and community members, ability, gender identity, and more. It is comprised of MOAC staff members and community members, positioning community members as decision makers on systems and structures that ultimately have the power to shape their lives and the well-being of their communities. 


Accessibility and Accommodations 

If you need accommodations or assistance with your application, please contact the grants team at artsgrants@boston.gov or leave a message with Sam Fiddler at 617-910-0048 and someone from the grants team will be in touch with you. 


Review Application Questions

Applications will be accepted through Submittable. If you would like to review application questions, you can see a pdf version of them below.  

Interested in creating public art in Boston?


Why am I completing this form?

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Art Commission believe that public art is any artwork installed in publicly accessible spaces where they can be experienced by everyone for free. In order to install art on public property, you will need approval from the Boston Art Commission and the department that owns the site. 

Complete this form to start the approval process! Once you submit your application, the public art team will be in touch but you can reach out to us with questions at anytime! Please email us at BAC@boston.gov. 

Resources


Please check out our website to see calls to artists and other opportunities! This form is not an application for funding but there are a couple of different options for finding funding through the city. You can also apply for the Opportunity Fund.


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, craft arts (ceramics, woodworking, jewelry, etc.), architecture/design (not including engineering and home staging), 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?

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.

Boston City Hall

Call to Artists, Art Organizations & Artist Collectives 


Overview

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC), in partnership with the City of Boston, is seeking artists and arts organizations that live and/or create in and around Boston to exhibit in one of our several galleries in Boston City Hall: The Mayor’s Neighborhood Gallery, The Scollay Square Gallery, The Mayor’s Gallery, and The Emerging Gallery. We seek work that supports the mission of the City Hall galleries to achieve a sense of welcoming and inspire a sense of belonging within Boston City Hall through exhibitions and programming. Your submission will be kept on file for future consideration.


When submitting, please keep in consideration which gallery/galleries will the exhibit best fit in.

  •  The Mayor’s Neighborhood Gallery - Highlights civic groups, non-profit groups and individual artists with civic improvement as a motivating factor.
  • The Scollay Square Gallery - Showcases the many art organizations and artist community groups that support Boston artists throughout the city.
  • The Mayor’s Gallery - Exhibits work by Boston artists who have received recognition for their artwork through grants, awards and other types of public display. *We also have a Display Case for small sculptural works.
  • The Emerging Gallery - Exhibits work by artists who are now starting out in their career and looking for space to showcase their work. 


Selection process

This is an ongoing open call, without a deadline. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Due to the volume of applications, we will only reach out to applicants that are selected to exhibit their work in City Hall. The timing of exhibitions will be specific to the needs and schedule of galleries. All submissions will be kept on file for future consideration. 


Accessibility and Accommodations 

If you need accommodations or assistance with your application, please contact Jamaal at jamaal.eversley@boston.gov or leave a message with Sam Fiddler at 617-910-0048 and someone will be in touch with you. 

The Strand Theatre serves as a cultural and educational resource to artists and audiences, regardless of race or cultural background, age, ability, gender, economic level, or sexual orientation. Please complete the application below based on your rental needs.

Please note: The first quote for your event is an estimate only. A final quote cannot be completed until all technical information and production schedule are complete and reviewed by the Strand Technical Director and General Manager. All forms and schedules must be reviewed no later than 60 days prior to your event.

Things to know before you apply:

Ticketing

Tickets may be produced through the Strand Theatre's box office (fees apply). Renters may print their own tickets and have the right to sell tickets at a third party location, however tickets cannot be sold until the following are completed:

  • Lease application
  • Signed contract
  • Insurance certificate
  • Copy of headliner signed contract with the organization (if applicable)

Insurance

Lessee must provide their own liability insurance. They must obtain either a one day entertainment policy (coverage of one million of liability minimum) or a rider from their existing policy. Insurance must list additional insured as the Strand Theatre - location and venue Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, MA. 02125

Hip Hop, hard rock performances, and sporting events are not covered under standard liability. A copy of secured insurance must be provided at least 30 days in advance. Failure to provide an accurate genre description of your event or artist roster will result in an automatic termination of your event.

If service of liquor is approved for your event, you must apply for a one day liquor license from the City of Boston and apply for liability coverage at least 60 days prior to your event. Service must be by a licensed bartender. This coverage is only applicable provided the venue has not obtained coverage and is not operating a house bar. Lessee will provide 2 copies of all permits and licenses. Lessee may obtain liquor services from a catering company that has a traveling liquor liability license and tip certified bartender for service (this is the best option).

Event Security

Security guards are booked based on the number of patrons expected and the type of performance. Changes to booking must be completed at least two weeks prior to the event. Boston Police details are booked on the same criteria and are at the discretion of management (and in some instances, the Boston Police Department). Management reserves the right to add additional security staff during an event at the Lessees' expense. Laminates or optional pre-approved staff recognition badges are required for Lessees' event staff. In addition, a list of all approved backstage staff employed by Lessee and Artist/Performers must be provided.

Advertisement and Website

Events will be linked on the Strand Theatre website at no cost to Lessee. All clients advertising a ticketed event must also create an event listing on the ArtsBoston calendar and send it to us prior to the event. Events will be listed on a revolving marquee with all other scheduled events. Please provide a description of your event and send a flier, photo or image for the website. Other than the above mentioned advertisement and listing, The Strand is not responsible for any additional advertisement, media, print or video marketing of the Lessee’s event.

Video/Photos/Audio

It is at the discretion of the Lessee to allow video/audio or photos. All photography stations must not obstruct patron aisles or handicap seating. All cables and wiring running on or through walkways, stairs or entrances, must be secured and taped down properly. Please discuss set up area requirements with the Technical Director. Bring extra gaffing tape and/or walkway covers to prevent cancellation of use.

Event Merchandise Sales

The Strand has 10 2x6 folding tables and 50 folding chairs for use during events. The rental of additional tables and chairs are the Lessee’s responsibility. You must supply all table cloths.

Merchandise sales may include CDs, DVDs, clothing, photos, and books. If approved, any edible items require a one day vendor’s license and health permit, obtained from City Hall. All food vendors must be pre-approved by the Strand General Manager. Two copies of all paperwork must be submitted one week prior to the event. Food items must be wrapped individually and gloves and head nets must be worn at all times. Vendor food items allowed - cupcakes, specialty cookies and other pre-approved baked goods associated with the event. There is a power source to assist with the selling of merchandise and all extension cords must be supplied by vendors.

There is a $25.00 fee, per station required for the sale of any and all merchandise, by Lessee and/or Lessee’s vendors. It must be in the form of a bank check or money order, made out to the Strand Theatre. All fees apply unless waived by the Strand General Manager.

Decorations

Allowed decorations include: balloons, free standing displays, posters, photographs, informational displays, literature tables, approved banners, and flowers. Drapery/fabric is permitted only if they meet safety/fire codes for the venue. You must provide a copy of all current fire retardant certificates for these items.

The gallery space has hanging lips for artwork and 12 picture hanging rods. Lessee/ its vendors must get pre-approval before any items are affixed to the walls. Due to the age of the plaster on walls you cannot nail or tape items to the walls. Please discuss all decoration ideas for pre-approval.

Event Catering

Organizations can provide catering for the event, which can include full meals. Lessee may use any licensed catering company of their choice. Caterers must provide a copy of all current licenses, fire permits and insurance if applicable and follow all safe serve and food handling requirements for transporting, service and staffing. The Strand does not have a working kitchen space for catering, therefore catering companies providing food service must be completely mobile.

Event Sound

Please refer to the Strand Technical Specifications for house sound equipment.

All wires and cables running throughout walkways, stair and public traffic must be taped down with gaffing tape and/or portable cable walkways. A charge of $35.00 per roll for gaffing tape will apply, if supplied by the Strand. (No exception) This amount will be collected from Lessee prior to the show.

All optional microphones such as body and head microphones must be rented by Lessee. The Strand can supply a vendor contact if needed, but will not be responsible for pick-up and return. The Strand is not responsible for poor sound quality or damages to rented microphones.  Lessee is responsible for providing AAA batteries for each wireless mic required. Fresh batteries for each mic will be required for each performance.

Event Lighting & Scene Requirements

Please refer to Strand Technical Specifications for house lighting equipment provided in the Technical packet.

Basic color washes are available through our technical team. Any color not in the house supply may be supplied with advance notification. Please allow adequate time to restore all house equipment back to its original place after removing it for special lighting and/or sound equipment. Soft Goods: The Strand has a main curtain and valance, three (3) panels of black borders, three (3) sets of black legs, one (1) scrim, one (2) panels Upstage travelers(1) one Cyc and (1) one movie screen for front throw movie projection or color wash . The Strand does not provide rigging /flying hardware other than the line sets available. (See Strand Technical Specifications) We do not provide general construction hardware to organizations nor do we have an area or maintain supplies to build sets in house. It is the Lessee’s responsibility to ensure safe hardware usage and maintenance and to maintain all scenic pieces including fire retardant certificates. Fire certificates must be provided for all upholstered furniture and set design fabrics being used on stage. *** Please allow at least 60 days to complete the Fire Certificate process. Applications are available online through Fire Dept. or at 1010 Massachusetts Ave.

The use of hazing requires fire details and auto-system shut off monitor. The number of marshals is based on the number of patrons and the rate is based on the detail marshal's position rank. Additional fees include fire system monitor turn off/on ($640), truck fee ($50), 7am – 3 pm $130 per hr. after 3 pm $190 per hr.., Sat $190 per hr., Sun $220 per hr. The use of hazing is a lengthy process and must be scheduled 90 days in advance. The Strand’s Fire System will need to be turned off one hour before show begins and remains off until all vapors have dissipated from the theater. A monitor remains at the system for the duration and is billed to Lessee directly. Average cost for hazing use on a weekend is $2500 up per day.

All application forms and permits can be found here: www.boston.gov/departments/fire-prevention/fire-forms-permits-application-and-fees

You must know what kind of machine and chemicals you will be using and it cannot be changed once approved

Restoration Fee

It is the responsibility of the Lessee to allocate enough time in their schedule for load-out and to restore all Strand lighting & sound equipment, staging, and general building areas to the condition in which you received it or back to the Strand working condition if you requested anything removed for your event. Staff hours will be been scheduled and billed into your invoice. However, if additional time is needed due to your organization's failure to comply with restoral requirements, you will be charged a $300.00 restoral fee plus any staff hours required. A walkthrough must be done at the end of Load-out and restoral time, to assess completion and/or damages.

Fine Arts Work Center has partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and City of Boston Poet Laureate, Porsha Olayiwola, to offer full scholarships to six emerging writers. Writers will spend one week in Provincetown, Massachusetts writing and studying under a poet of their choice in summer 2024. Tuition and lodging are covered via the scholarship. Artists must have lived or worked in the city of Boston for at least the last two years. Emerging writers must be between the ages of 18 and 35 or have published no more than one book (if you self-published a book, you are eligible!). The scholarship will prioritize individuals who have been impacted by long-standing systemic inequities. For specific questions, email Porsha at polayiw2@gmail.com.

For a description of classes,  you can go here: https://fawc.org/summer/workshops/?discipline=5&week=any&available_only=N

Introduction
     The Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture (MOAC), via the Boston Art Commission and in partnership with Street Theory, is thrilled to introduce a multi-year initiative that integrates murals and other 2D art projects into public sites across Boston’s neighborhoods. In its inaugural year, the initiative will focus on Boston Public School sites with capital projects. Artwork by selected artists will amplify the diverse, inclusive, cultural, social, and educational richness of schools while adding vibrancy to the city’s landscape.

This is a Call to Artists for the creation of several new, original, long-term 2D murals, and public art installations at Boston Public School sites across the city.


     Call released: Wednesday, February 7, at 3:00 E.T.

  • View and download the full Call to Artists HERE. (Updated 2.15)



     Each project budget will range from: $20,000 - $175,000.

The Call closes on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 11:59 pm ET.
 

There will be 2 Virtual Question and Answer sessions: the first on Thursday, February 15 at 6 pm ET and the second on Friday, February 16 at noon. 

We welcome written questions until 5 pm EST on Monday, February 19.

We will post answers and recordings on Wednesday, February 21, to our website


     Interested artists can also submit written questions by using THIS FORM or emailing Liza Quiñonez, Mural Consultant, at liza.quinonez@boston.gov
 

Deadline for content-specific questions is Monday, February 19, at 5 PM ET.  Questions and answers will be posted on the Boston.gov/canvas-bps website on Wednesday, February 21, and can also be found here. 


Technical questions about the Submittable application are welcome until the deadline!
PLEASE submit your application well before the deadline so that we have time to help you if you have technical issues.

Who Should Apply | Eligibility
     This Call is open to all professional artists and artist teams—local, national, and international—with a strong preference for those who have a connection to Boston and/or the overall themes of individual sites.

Non-Discrimination
The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, ancestry, or disability, nor will it fund projects that discriminate on these attributes.

About the Boston Art Commission
      This project is commissioned by the City of Boston via the Boston Art Commission. The Boston Art Commission must vote to formally approve the project. The artist will meet with the Boston Art Commission staff and/ or board at each phase of the project. The artist is expected to be collaborative and open to community input; however, the Boston Art Commission has sole approval over each phase of the public art project and the final acceptance of the artwork into the City of Boston permanent collection.

City of Boston Arts and Culture