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Arts & Culture Grants

Worcester Arts Council Grants

The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) receives an annual appropriation of state funds from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and makes these funds available to the community through its grant programs. WAC accepts grant applications for individuals and organizations, and is one of the few Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) in the Commonwealth to offer Fellowships on an annual basis.

Grants are issued to support arts, humanities, interpretive sciences, visual artists, performing artists, science educators, historians and other humanists; as well as community, business and civic groups, social service organizations, schools, neighborhood centers, and youth, senior and family associations.

Fellowship Grants: Assist individuals in developing their work outside the structure of a specific project or presentation. Artists in any discipline may apply. All Fellowship applicants must maintain a residential, commercial or studio address in the city of Worcester.

Project Grants: Assist in the development of projects and programs in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences. Applicants must demonstrate a tangible benefit to Worcester citizens. All grant applicants must maintain a residential, commercial or studio address in Worcester County. All WAC-funded projects must occur within the city of Worcester.

For the first time, in FY22 WAC will make direct payments to both project and fellowship grant recipients. This means that all grants issued by WAC for FY22 will be paid up front. Detailed instructions for initiating direct payments will be provided to FY22 grantees in January 2022.

Funding Priorities

Each year, WAC seeks community input though a Funding Priorities Survey. The responses inform WAC on the types of projects that are most important to the people of Worcester. WAC uses this feedback to determine its Funding Priorities for its annual grant cycle. Projects and programs that align with the Funding Priorities are given preference in the Council's review of applications.

Based on over 2,000 survey responses, WAC's Funding Priorities for FY22 are:

  • Project Categories | Projects that focus on Public Art, Arts Education & Instruction, and Children's Programs.
  • Cultural Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion | Projects that elevate the voices and experiences of historically marginalized groups to highlight the current and historical diversity of Worcester. Projects should create opportunities for artists and community members who identify as Black, Indigenous, POC, LGBTQIA+, refugee, immigrant, or person living with a disability.
  • Locations | Projects that take place in or benefit areas of Worcester that are historically underserved.

View the full report: Worcester Arts Council FY2022 Funding Priorities.

2021 Grantees

For FY21, the Worcester Arts Council awarded a total of $219,100 to 65 Worcester area applicants. The 2021 allocation included 6 Artist Fellowships and 7 Fellowship Finalist awards, which were awarded to individuals to assist in the funding of their endeavors in the arts, humanities and interpretative sciences.

View the full list: 2021 Grantees

Grant Applications

The deadline to apply for WAC's FY22 grant cycle has been extended to November 1, 2021.

A virtual Grant Writing Workshop was held on Wednesday, September 22. View the slides and video below.

Grantee Resources

Learn more about Credit & Marketing Requirements, Grant Amendments and Grant Payments.

Credit & Marketing Requirements

All grantees should review the 2022 Grantee Credit & Publicity Requirements and Social Media Tools forms, and incorporate this information into their project as appropriate.

Grant Amendments

If a project cannot be completed as described in the approved grant application, a request for project modification or extension must be submitted to WAC using the Grant Amendment Form. Changes to WAC-funded programs are considered on a case-by-case basis during monthly WAC meetings. Grant Amendments must be submitted to WAC before any changes are implemented.

Grant Payments

To receive payment, grant recipients must complete all required forms. Payment requests must be submitted within one year of the date of notification of the grant award. Grantees who do not meet this deadline will forfeit their grant; the funds will be de-obligated and go back into WAC's grant pool for the next grant cycle.

Before requesting payment, WAC grantees must first submit an IRS Form W-9, preferably within 2 weeks of receiving notification of funding.

You will be notified once your W-9 has been processed. Once you have received notification, please submit the following documents for payment.

FOR GRANTS ISSUED IN FY21 OR EARLIER:

FOR GRANTS ISSUED IN FY22:

Detailed instructions for initiating direct payments will be provided to FY22 grantees along with their award notice in January 2022.

All documents can be submitted as follows:

Emailed to: ArtsCouncil@WorcesterMA.gov. Please note that City emails are subject to Public Records Requests. For your security, any emails that have sensitive personal information (such as a Social Security Number) must be encrypted. To protect your confidential information, the subject line of any such emails must end with [encrypt].

Mailed or dropped off to:
Worcester Arts Council
455 Main Street
Room 409
Worcester, MA 01608

Contact Information

Worcester Arts Council
City Hall, 4th Floor
455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

Phone: 508-799-1400
Fax: 508-799-1406
Email Us

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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