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.
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.
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 3,000 survey responses last year, WAC's Funding Priorities for FY23 are:
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.
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:
All documents may be submitted in one of two ways:
Worcester Arts Council
City Hall Room 409
455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.