Arts & Culture Grants

Worcester Arts Council Grants

The Worcester Arts Council (WAC) receives an annual appropriation of state funds from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), 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.

WAC Grant Opportunities

WAC accepts applications for two types of grants. Grant applications are open September 1 - October 16, 2023.

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.

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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.

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Grant Workshops

WAC will hold two virtual grant workshop on Zoom. First-time applicants and all interested in applying for a grant are encouraged to attend.

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 survey responses last year, WAC's Funding Priorities for FY24 are:

  • Project Categories | Projects that focus on Public Art, Musical Performances, Arts Education & Instruction and programs for all age groups from children to seniors.
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access (DEIA) | 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 through a DEIA lens.
  • Locations | Projects that take place in or benefit areas of Worcester that are historically underserved.

View the Full Report

FY23 Grantees

In FY23, the Worcester Arts Council awarded a total of $277,773 to 66 Worcester area applicants. The 2023 allocation included 8 Artist Fellowships, which were awarded to individuals to assist in the funding of their endeavors in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences.

FY23 & FY24 Grantee Resources

As of 2022, WAC has used a "Direct Payment" process. The previous "reimbursement" process required grantees to fund their projects themselves, then submit final reporting in order to receive their reimbursement. With the direct payment process, WAC has reduced barriers to its funds by making them available to grantees up front.

The process and timeline for direct payment is as follows:

  • IRS Form W-9 - MUST be on file with the City of Worcester in order to create a Purchase Order. WAC staff will notify grantee once this has been created, typically within 10 business days.
  • Direct Grant Agreement - after receiving notice that the Purchase Order has been created, grantees can request their payment by submitting a Direct Grant Agreement. Once processed, grantees will receive payment by mail, typically within 2-3 weeks.
  • Once the project is complete, or within 1 year from the date of their award letter, project grantees are required to submit a Final Report, which consists of:
    • Project Evaluation Form
    • Evidence that the event took place, and that WAC and the MCC were credited as outlined in the Grantee Credit and Publicity Requirements Grantee Credit & Publicity Requirements. This proof can include an event program, news article, press release, photos, social media posts, etc.
    • A detailed budget of expenses, including proof of all payments made using WAC funds. Acceptable proofs of payment can include receipts, copies of checks, bank statements and more.

All documents may be submitted in one of two ways:

  • Emailed to (preferred), or
  • Mailed to Worcester Arts Council, 455 Main Street, Room 409, Worcester, MA 01608

Additional documents for FY23 & FY24 grantees:

Contact Information

Worcester Arts Council
City Hall Room 409
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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Phone: 311
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