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Boston Cultural Council awards 2021 grant funds

Celina Colby
Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Boston Cultural Council awards 2021 grant funds
The DEAFinitely Performance Crew. PHOTO: Courtesy of Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Cultural Council (BCC) has awarded 153 arts and culture organizations grants totaling $489,000. These grants will support the general operating expenses of the organizations and the goal of enhancing life in Boston through the arts.

Grants are provided by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Cultural Council and distributed by the BCC, a council of Boston residents whose members are selected based on their knowledge of the local arts scene. These members serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.

For the second year, in an effort to better support small and medium arts organizations, these grants were distributed based on budget size. Groups with annual budgets under $2 million received grants between $2,000 and $5,000.

Additionally, the BCC awarded three organizations the Modeling Equity Organization grant. OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center, Little Uprisings and DEAFinitely, Inc. were given an additional $5,000 for their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the organization and in their programming.

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Apply for individual artist grants by June 4 at

“This award from the BCC will invigorate DEAFinitely’s performing arts and mentoring programs as we start a new chapter of empowerment and resolve after a year of isolation and grave injustices,” said Jamie Robinson, founder/creative director of DEAFinitely, Inc. “We thank BCC for shining a light on communication and Deaf cultural access as integral parts of diversity, equity and inclusion for all Boston cultural organizations.”

Arts organizations received important support from these grants after the devastating 2020 shutdowns, but individual artists haven’t been left out of the equation. The City of Boston has allocated $200,000 to supporting individual local artists through its Opportunity Fund. Artists can apply for $1,000 grants to be used for professional development experiences or community arts events. Artists in need of this support can apply at boston.gov/opportunity-fund; the deadline for 2021 grant applications is June 4.

Many of the organizations receiving grants from BCC are also in line for an additional financial boost from Amazon. On Saturday, May 1, the corporate giant pledged $1 million to Boston arts organizations, anchored by a $150,000 investment in Boston Public Schools’ Boston Arts Academy.

These funds come at a crucial time, when arts organizations that have struggled during the pandemic are poised to reopen.

“The arts are integral to ensuring our city is a culturally vibrant place where everyone is able to thrive,” said acting Mayor Kim Janey. “These organizations have done incredible work over the past year to engage our communities during such a difficult time, and we are proud to support them as they continue to carry out this much needed work.”

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