Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Individuals
Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Individuals offers unrestricted grants of $5,000 to creatives and gig workers to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and set a path for growth.
How to Apply
Read the program guidelines (below) and FAQs.
Register in our grants management system (or check to see if you already have a user profile).
Complete the online application, which opens on August 15, 2022. Submit it before the application deadline on November 1, 2022, at 11:59pm (ET). (We anticipate the application form will take about 15 minutes to complete.)
Questions? Contact Mass Cultural Council Staff
The Cultural Sector Recovery Grants for Individuals are $5,000 grants to creatives and gig workers to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and set a path for growth. The grants are unrestricted, meaning grantees are free to decide the best use of the funds.
Culture is a major contributor to economic growth and opportunity in Massachusetts and individuals in the cultural sector have faced catastrophic setbacks to their livelihoods and well-being. These setbacks include loss of revenue, unstable work or living space, reduced career opportunities and audience engagement, and other hardships. An investment in the recovery of individuals in the cultural sector is an investment in the economic recovery of the Commonwealth.
The Massachusetts Legislature passed Chapter 102 of the Acts of 2021, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs, to invest state and federal funds into pandemic recovery, including into the cultural sector. With these funds, Mass Cultural Council seeks to help rebuild the cultural sector through direct grants to artists, culture bearers, interpretive scientists, contractors, performers and other cultural workers.
We encourage you to apply if you are:
- An artist or cultural practitioner active in any artistic discipline or cultural tradition. For this program, the definition of “artist” includes, but is not limited to, artists and culture bearers working in community-based arts, crafts, dance, design, digital, film/video, folk/world/traditional arts, literature, music, performance, photography, theater, and visual arts. If you have any questions about whether your work is eligible for this grant, contact us.
- A teaching artist, interpretive scientist or humanist. For this program, a “teaching artist/interpretive scientist/humanist” is an educator who works in schools, libraries, or other educational/community settings to promote cultural education for people of any age. If you have any questions about whether your work is eligible for this grant, contact us.
- A cultural worker in arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences. For this program, a “cultural worker” is an individual working in the arts and culture sector who may not identify as an “artist.” These individuals may be lighting technicians, art conservationists, editors, or frontline staff. This list is not exhaustive so if you have any questions about whether your work is eligible for this grant, contact us.
AND you meet all of the following requirements:
- Your work in the cultural sector is independent, meaning freelance, gig, contract, or temporary/seasonal.
- You are 18 years or older.
- You are a legal resident of Massachusetts. We define “legal resident” as someone who meets the definition of a “full-year resident” in the Massachusetts tax code. You must provide a physical address in your application.
- You are not currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at a college or university.
- You are not a governor-appointed Mass Cultural Council member. Mass Cultural Council staff and family are likewise ineligible to apply.
Grants will be $5,000. If you already received a $1,000 or $1,500 COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals grant in FY20 or FY21 (including the GKV Foundation Assistance to Berkshire County Theater Professionals) your grant amount may be reduced to $4,000 or $3,500.
Use of Funds
The use of these funds is unrestricted. Funds can be used for expenses including, but not limited to, technology or equipment upgrade(s); touring/travel costs; space or housing costs; professional development; supplies; hiring other artists; or other expenditures related to recovery of your career in the cultural sector.
After the application period closes, Mass Cultural Council staff will review all applications to determine eligibility and accuracy of documentation provided.
Mass Cultural Council will fund all eligible applications if demand does not exceed the available funds. However, if eligible applications exceed available funding, the Funding Prioritization and Geographic Distribution details below will be used to determine which applications will be funded. For all applications with the same score, ties will be broken using a lottery-style, random selection process.
The review will be based on information provided by applicants and verified by Agency staff. Mass Cultural Council will make every effort to ensure accuracy but cannot be held accountable for missing or incorrect information in the relevant sources.
Agency staff will then make award recommendations to the governing Council who will then approve final grant amounts.
Funding Prioritization: The following equally-weighted factors will be used to create a score for each application:
- First-time applicants or applicants that have not received funding from Mass Cultural Council in the last six fiscal years.
- Applicants who have been historically under-funded:
- People of the global majority — Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Latinx, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, and all other ethnicities of color. Applicants wishing to make this self-identification will need to fill out the demographics survey in the grants management system.
- People who identify as Deaf or as having a disability.
- Applicants who are located in cities and towns that are below the state’s median household income and below statewide educational attainment (the percentage of adults who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree). This includes but is not limited to places designated as Gateway Cities. A full list of these under-resourced communities is available.
Geographic Distribution: To ensure geographic diversity, grants will be awarded by region of the Commonwealth in proportion to the region’s application demand. The regions are as follows:
- Greater Boston
For example, if applications from the Southeast region make up 15% of the total applications received, the Southeast region will be allocated roughly 15% of the grants made.
All the necessary documents will be emailed to grantees to complete. Grantees who do not have a bank account can notify the Contract Officer at the time of award notification in order to request a mailed check. Individuals who also operate as a sole proprietor have the option of directing their payment to themselves using their social security number (SSN) or to their sole proprietor Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Please be aware, grants may be considered taxable income and individuals should seek guidance from their tax professionals/accountants about tax and reporting requirements.
Electronic deposits will be made to the grantee’s account (or a check will be mailed) 20-45 days after the grantee returns their contract. Mass Cultural Council will make every effort to expedite payments as quickly as possible.
Grantees will be expected to complete a final report describing the use of their grant funds by July 13, 2023, for legislative reporting and advocacy purposes.
Application opens: August 15, 2022
Information sessions: August 23 and October 6, 2022
Application deadline: November 1, 2022
Awards finalized; email notifications sent: Late January 2023
Contracts sent: February 2023
Final report deadline: July 13, 2023
Legal and Other Requirements
Accessibility and Non-Discrimination Policy
Mass Cultural Council is committed to ensuring that all programs, services, policies, and practices are formulated and conducted in a manner that will ensure equal access for all people and prevent discrimination not only as a matter of law, but also as a policy designed to encourage the participation of all segments of the Commonwealth’s population in Mass Cultural Council programs and services.
Mass Cultural Council is dedicated to creating a workplace, programs, and services that welcome, respect, and value people of all races, color, age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religions, creeds, ancestry, national origin, disability and veteran status, and does not discriminate on the basis of these attributes. We strive to reflect diversity in all activities, programs and services by removing any barriers to accessibility.
Mass Cultural Council is happy to offer alternative formats, auxiliary aids, and services necessary so that any individual can participate in Mass Cultural Council’s programs and services. Contact staff for help. To facilitate your request in a timely manner, please contact us at least two weeks before any Mass Cultural Council event or grant deadline. Please read the full Access Policy for more information.
An applicant may request reconsideration of a Mass Cultural Council decision on their application if the applicant can demonstrate that the Mass Cultural Council failed to follow published application and review procedures. Dissatisfaction with the results of a review does not constitute grounds for reconsideration.
The first step in the reconsideration process is to consult with the appropriate Program Staff, to discuss the review process that concluded in the Mass Cultural Council’s decision. If the applicant wishes to pursue a reconsideration, a request must be sent to the Mass Cultural Council’s Executive Director, in writing, within 30 days of the Mass Cultural Council’s notification to the applicant of its decision.
Grants Management System
All applicants should submit their applications through the online system. To create a profile in the system you must have an email address, which will be your username.
If you have not applied to Mass Cultural Council before and/or do not already have a user profile, complete a registration in the grants management system.
- Go to the online system and click “Register”.
- On the next page select “Individual”.
- After completing the registration, you should receive an email to activate your account. The account must be activated within 24 hours. After clicking the activation link, you will be prompted to create a new 8-digit password.
If you have previously applied for a Mass Cultural Council grant using your email address, you may have a profile in the system already. Here’s how you can check to see if you already have a user profile:
- Go to the online system and click “Forgot Password”.
- Once you submit your email address, you will receive an email with a temporary password and a link to the site.
- Copy the password to use on the login page, you will then be prompted to create a new password.
- If you do not receive an email, you do not have an account and you should create one (see above), or you can contact the grants help desk for assistance.