Creating Opportunities: Giving Local Artists A Chance to Shine

This past summer, we launched the Opportunity Fund, a pilot grant program designed to support individual artists in activities that help them share their work with the public or teach others, continue their professional development and hone their skills.  As we prepare to open up submissions for the third round of grants on November 1st, I wanted to take a moment to share what we’ve done so far.  

The Opportunity Fund provides small dollar grants, up to $1,000, ten times per year. It’s designed to provide assistance to artists when they need it, when a small investment can help them showcase their work or learn a new skill, as well as to provide an opportunity for support with deadlines throughout the year, not just once.

Ten months a year, we publish the application.  Each round, we have $10,000 to share with artists, which will, in turn, help them share their work with Boston.  Applications are considered for materials, professional development, conference fees, travel related to professional development or creative opportunities, stipends for teaching artists, or other opportunities that might help an artist share their work with the public. Teachers or schools may also apply to fund cultural field trips.  

Evidenced by the number of applications received to date, it’s a fund that is clearly needed. Over the past few months, we’ve funded travel expenses for artists to present their performance art and for students to take field trips to the Isaac Royall House and to the Museum of Fine Arts.  Artists have successfully applied for grants to offer workshops to others, including a poetry slam, electronic bucket drumming classes, multi-media productions, an art class for vulnerable teens as well as one for seniors.

We’ve provided grants to help artists purchase materials they need for exhibiting their artwork, to produce original music and to attend the workshops and professional development events that will help them further their careers.  Grants have also been given to fund the production of experimental theatre pieces, community productions and public art installations.

Prior to the launch of this program, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture made grants on an annual basis and only to organizations, not individual artists. Thanks to the support of Mayor Walsh, the Opportunity Fund now helps individual artists thrive in Boston, one of the goals of Boston Creates, the City’s cultural plan.  We are looking forward to reading the next round of submission and seeing all of the wonderful projects that Boston artists have in mind. The application will be available next from November 1st-November 15th here.


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