We send a list of active artist opportunities in our newsletter, BCA to Go, which goes out twice a month. Subscribe to receive that curated list.
Below, we’re compiling an evolving list of organizations that center around artist support via grants; and opportunities or tools that might help artists develop their skills. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for amendments or recommendations, so that we can continue to understand how to help Boston artists.
Where to Find
Grants and Opportunities
Artists for Humanity based in Fort Point, Artists for Humanity helps teens find employment opportunities that explore and express their creative abilities.
Assets4Artists: MASSMoCA’s Assets for Artists provides professional development workshops, financial and business coaching, working capital grants and micro-loan referrals, artist residencies at MASS MoCA, and support for artists re-locating to North Adams, Massachusetts.
City of Boston Arts and Culture: This office department lists resources, events, and opportunities specifically about Boston arts.
NEFA: New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.
Now + There: Resources for info, support, and background on public art practices in Boston.
Ujima Jobs Board: a regularly updated list of open positions in the Ujima Network.
ACA Connects: The Artist Communities Alliance offers virtual exchange and networking opportunities for artist residency staff and people who work in the arts.
Americans for the Arts: Americans for the Arts is a nonprofit organization whose primary focus is advancing the arts in the United States.
Creative Capital: a nonprofit, grantmaking organization with the mission to fund artists in the creation of groundbreaking new work, to amplify the impact of their work, and to foster sustainable artistic careers.
Building Your Network
Local Arts in the Greater Boston Area
Coming to any BCA event is an opportunity to meet Boston’s arts community and learn about exciting contemporary work. If you want to continue to expand…
A large cluster of Boston galleries are found a fifteen minute walk from our BCA Campus in the SOWA district.
Every first Friday of the month, visit gallery openings and meet artists in the SOWA Artist Studios. We recommend visiting Fountain Street Gallery.
Around the Corner Framing is located in the South End. BCA Board Member Amanda Accardi runs this local frame shop focused on hands-on craftsmanship with a keen eye for design.
In Chinatown, PAO Arts Center celebrates and strengthens the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community of Chinatown and Greater Boston through access to culturally relevant art, education, and creative programs.
Check out the Somerville Arts Council to learn about arts orgs and studios in Somerville, MA. Somerville Open Studios is a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of producing an annual open studio and related events in Somerville, Massachusetts. Also find the Boston Figurative Center where you can join weekly drawing or painting sessions.
For poets outside of the city, United Open Mic hosts open mics in Lowell, MA.
Freelancing and Remote Work
FREELANCE ARTISTS’ RESOURCES
This list is specifically designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community; an aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.
INTERDISCIPLINARY REMOTE & REMOTE-FRIENDLY EMPLOYMENT
This spreadsheet compiled by Rachel Meade Smith of Words of Mouth includes resources for seeking remote work, starting with a growing list of interdisciplinary remote-friendly employers. Sign up to receive Smith’s weekly newsletter.
HOW TO PLAN A VIRTUAL EVENT ON VIMEO
Vimeo’s live production team offers advice on how schools, event coordinators, marketers, and more are evolving their event strategies to optimize engaging live streaming experiences.
HOW TO HOST A WATCH PARTY ON FACEBOOK
With Facebook’s Watch Party feature, you can watch tons of videos and shows with members of groups you’re in on Facebook. This could be helpful for filmmakers or other artists whose screenings had to be cancelled.
From July 2020 through Summer 2021, Boston Center for the Arts presented Combahee’s Radical Call: Black Feminisms (re)Awaken Boston, a yearlong, multi-platform curatorial project co-curated by Arielle Gray, Cierra Peters, and Jen Mergel, and stewarded by the wisdom of original Combahee River Collective member Demita Frazier. The project took the form of a series of public installations and programs that recentered the vital legacy of Black feminism(s), archives and the written word in Boston.
Learn about Black Feminism and see the archive of resources:
- A Free Zine: Designer Zoë Pulley has created a free zine of the complete annotated text of the 1977 Combahee River Collective Statement, so the influential ideas will be freely available both in print (~500 newsprint takeaways will be available -one per person- on the BCA Plaza starting February 9) and as a downloadable pdf. The printed zine unfolds into a poster format with key call-out quotes from this powerful movement statement.
- A Virtual Reading Room: Titled Our Mothers’ Gardens, this anthology of links to over 100 texts, interviews and video clips is subjectively gathered into fifteen thematic collections of Black Feminist thought. Created by Cierra Michele Peters, this archive will live as a freely accessible website for shared learning through 2021.
In addition to the Artist Relief Fund, we compiled the following opportunities to support artists. As our communities continue to reopen, we hope these resources continue to help support artists.
Last Update: May 26, 2020
Filing for unemployment is a decent safety net but not all artists qualify to apply. If you’re looking for small emergency grants or funds to hold you over, read on to learn more.
Actors Fund Entertainment Assistance Program
The Actors Fund provides services and financial support to entertainment professionals facing personal or work-related problems. It is also a conduit for emergency financial assistance in times of pressing need or in response to catastrophic events.
Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists.
Artists’ Charitable Fund
Colorado-based Artists’ Charitable Fund assists American visual fine artists (painters and sculptors) living anywhere in the United States by paying a portion of their medical/dental/eye-care bills. For example, the Fund has purchased a wheelchair, paid for eye surgery, provided funding for an artificial leg, paid partial medical expenses of several artists who have cancer, as well as other needs for medical assistance. You can find out more about the fund as well as donate here.
Artists’ Fellowship, Inc.
Deadline: rolling basis, applicants encouraged to apply early in the month
The Artists’ Fellowship provides emergency aid to professional fine artists and their families in times of sickness, natural disaster, bereavement or unexpected extreme hardship. Please note: these funds are restricted to address immediate medical emergencies.
The organization defines eligibility to “Professional” is defined as those visual artists who make their livelihood through sales as reported on a Schedule C with a U.S. Federal tax return. An active exhibition history is also an important part of documenting “professional.” You can find the application here.
American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Relief Fund
The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Relief Fund provides support and temporary financial assistance to members who are in need. AGMA contracts with The Actors Fund to administer this program nationally as well as to provide comprehensive social services.
Authors League Fund
Deadline: rolling basis
The Author League Fund helps professional writers in financial need because of medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income, or other misfortune by providing no-strings-attached “loans” to pay for pressing expenses.
Deadline: rolling basis
Have a crazy brilliant idea that needs funding? We award $1,000 grants every month. It couldn’t be simpler! Your idea is yours alone. We don’t want a stake in it. We just want to help you make it happen!
The Blues Foundation HART Fund
The Blues Foundation Handy Artists Relief Trust Fund is available to Blues musicians and their families who are in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns.
Boston Dance Alliance Dance Relief Fund
The fund is open to dancers, dancemaker/choreographers, or dance teachers who have experienced loss of income due to cancelled activities because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, we cannot support dance studios at this time. See bostondancealliance.org for other details regarding eligibility.
Boston Music Maker Relief Fund
Deadline: rolling basis
The Record Co. has established the Boston Music Maker Relief Fund to provide financial relief to Boston-area music makers experiencing lost income as the result of performance cancellations related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to $200 will be paid rapidly on a first-come, first-served basis to affected artists and groups.
CERF+ Emergency Relief Fund
Deadline: rolling basis
Artists who have suffered from a recent, career threatening emergency, such as an illness, accident, fire or natural disaster, can apply for funding. Currently, CERF+ is restricting funding to people who have contracted COVID-19. CERF+ also has a list of resources centered around the pandemic.
City of Boston Small Business Relief Fund
The City of Boston is committed to helping small businesses during this unprecedented time and established the Small Business Financial Relief Fund to help businesses most impacted by COVID-19. The City of Boston aims to provide immediate help and guidance.
Families and Workers Fund
The Ford Foundation, Schmidt Futures, Open Society Foundations, The JPB Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Amalgamated Foundation, and others are partnering to create a rapid response fund dedicated to helping the workers, families, and communities most devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fashion Fund for COVID-19 Relief by CFDA/Vogue
Grants made by A Common Thread, a joint venture by Vogue and the CFDA, will target designers, small retailers and other fashion companies whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.
Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant
Deadline: rolling basis
Do you have an unanticipated opportunity to present your work? Did you incur an unexpected expense that you didn’t budget for? The Foundation for Contemporary Arts offers Emergency Grants between $200 and $2,500 for visual and performing artists. They review applications once a month, so you can quickly take advantage of momentum or solve any budget errors.
Gottlieb Emergency Grant Program
Deadline: rolling basis
This emergency grant provides financial assistance to painters, printmakers, and sculptors whose needs are the result of an unforeseen incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation.
Jazz Road Quick Assist Fund
Deadline: The process will close when funds are depleted; artists are encouraged to submit as soon as possible.
The Jazz Road Quick Assist Fund is a new, temporary emergency relief fund for jazz artists around the country who have lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response. Through this fund, we are offering a limited number of $1,000 grants to artists whose tours and gigs in March, April, or May 2020 have been canceled.
Deadline: rolling basis
MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need, treating each case with integrity and confidentiality.
The Musicians Foundation provides grants to U.S. musicians in any genre in a time of acute need due to personal, medical, dental, or family crisis, natural disaster, or other emergency situation.
PEN American Writers’ Emergency Fund
The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is a small grants program for professional—published or produced—writers in acute or unexpected financial crisis. Depending on the situation and level of need, grants are in the range of $2,000.
Public Art Learning Fund
The Public Art Learning Fund provides grants of $500 to $2,000 to support professional development opportunities for New England artists to strengthen their public art practices. Through the Public Art Learning Fund, NEFA intends to foster the continued development of more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant public spaces and public life throughout New England.
Radical Imagination for Racial Justice
Deadline: June 8, 2020
Join us in imagining a racially just Boston…
We have always lived in unprecedented times. Well before COVID-19, and especially now, artists of color know what is essential for the freedom and liberation of their communities.
Are you an ALAANA+ artist? (By ALAANA+ we mean: African, Latinx/a/o, Asian, Arab, Native American, Indigenous, First Peoples, Black, African American, Multi-racial, People of Color, Caribbean…)
Do you live and/or work in Boston, MA?
If yes, do you identify as a…
- Cultural organizer
- Artist activist
- Culture bearer
- Maker of things
- Creator of dynamic experiences
We want to support you, your creative practice, your artistic voice, and YOUR world-building vision in collaboration with your community. We seek to support Boston-based artists of color (of all ages 14+) who are excited to bring to life their visions of a racially just society. Learn more here.
Sweet Relief COVID-19 Fund
Sweet Relief has created this donor-directed fund with a limited amount of funds available to be used specifically for musicians and music industry workers affected by the Coronavirus. Funds raised will go towards medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other vital living expenses to those impacted due to sickness or loss of work.