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Worcester Arts Council (WAC) Grant

Grants and Fellowships to Massachusetts Nonprofits, Individuals,
Schools, and Agencies for Arts, Humanities, and Sciences

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Worcester Arts Council (WAC)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

11/16/20 3:00 PM; 11:59 PM for uploads to WAC dropbox


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Grants of up to $5,000 and fellowships to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations, individuals, schools, libraries, and agencies in eligible locations for humanities, arts, and sciences. Funding is intended to promote access, excellence, diversity, and education in the disciplines with the goal of improving the quality of life for residents and contributing to the economic vitality of the city. All projects must take place in the City of Worcester.

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.

The official WAC Funding Priorities for FY21 are:

  1. Project Categories - Projects that focus on Public Art, Arts Education & Instruction, Children's Programs, and Musical Performances.
  2. 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, LGBTQX, refugee, immigrant, or person living with a disability.
  3. Locations - Projects that take place in or benefit areas of Worcester that are historically underserved.

Two types of grants are offered:

  • 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. Fellowship grants are paid up-front, unlike Project Grants which are reimbursement-based.
  • 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. Project grants are reimbursement-based.

Fellowship Grant Requirements: WAC fellows must have a presentation or exhibition during the grant year in which they receive an award. In-person presentations/exhibitions must take place in the City of Worcester to meet this requirement. Due to restrictions related to COVID-19, virtual presentations or exhibitions are also acceptable. WAC will help fellows develop a manageable project for the upcoming year. Fellows are not obligated to use their fellowship award to fund this requirement.

Project grant requirements may be found at

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 159398

Number of Grants:

In recent years, WAC has awarded 40-50 project grants. Due to uncertainty around the availability of funds stemming from COVID-19, WAC has committed to award no less than one fellowship grant.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards have historically ranged from several hundred dollars up to $5,000. In recent years, WAC has awarded grants at an average of ~$2,700.

Fellowships: $2,500.

Term of Contract:

All expenses must be incurred in the calendar year of the grant award.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Projects Grants: Individuals, artists, artist groups, arts and cultural organizations, community organizations, nonprofit organizations, associations that can establish a non-profit objective, public schools, libraries, and other municipal agencies are eligible to apply. Organizations and fiscal agents must have tax exempt status under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Project grant applicants must maintain a residential, commercial, or studio address in Worcester County. Post Office boxes do not meet this requirement and are not allowed.

WAC will not fund:
Projects that replace regular curriculum in the arts, or salaries/stipends of municipal employees
- Salaries/stipends for duties that are part of an employee’s regular position
- Operational Costs
- Refreshments (e.g. food or beverages)
- Projects for which the primary purpose is to raise funds
- Projects that consist exclusively of scholarships (e.g. college scholarships, tuition-only coverage for program participants)
- WAC reserves the right to restrict funding of any item(s) regardless of cost that do not provide a significant public benefit
- Projects that discriminate against applicants and/or programs on the basis of age, ability, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, nationality, geographic origin; or immigration, military, or socio-economic status in accordance with State law.
- Projects in locations that are not accessible to persons with disabilities

Fellowship Eligibility:
- Artists in any creative discipline.
- Applicants must maintain a residential, commercial, or studio address in the City of Worcester. Post Office boxes do not meet this requirement and are not allowed.
- Preference is given to applicants who have not previously been awarded a WAC Fellowship.

Pre-proposal Conference:

WAC will host one virtual grant workshop this year. Anyone who is interested in applying for a grant for FY21 is
invited to attend to learn more and/or ask questions.
- When: Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 7:00 PM
- Where: Zoom


Pre-Application Information:

Application Timeline:
- Application Opens: October 1, 2020
- Grant Workshop: October 7, 2020
- Application Deadline: November 16, 2020 at 3:00 PM
- Application Evaluation Period: November 2020 – January 2021
- Denial Letters Sent: Late January 2021
- Approval Letters Sent: Early February

Applications for 2021 grants will be accepted from October 1 - November 16, 2020. Allocations will be made by February 1, 2021.

This year, WAC will not be accepting paper applications. All applications must be submitted online. Mailed, faxed, emailed, handwritten, or late applications will not be accepted.

While all Local Cultural Councils use the same basic application form, WAC also requires supplemental materials from its applicants. These can be uploaded and attached to your online MCC application. The MCC online application limits the number of supplemental materials that can be attached. If you need to submit more pages than the online MCC application allows, they must be submitted to WAC
via Dropbox.

Fellowship grants are paid directly to the grantee upon receipt of the required documentation and form.

Project grants are funded on a reimbursement basis. Grantees can request partial reimbursement of expenses
incurred before project completion.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:
- Project Grant:
- Fellowship Grant:

The Worcester Cultural Development office staff is also available to answer additional questions you may have. Please email:

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

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts: Worcester area

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