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$1.85M Awarded to 740 Cultural Festivals & Projects

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director


photo of 6 young people performing a traditional dance, long sleeves of cloth floating around as they move
Dance performance at Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts’ Asian Festival in Worcester.

Mass Cultural Council has announced 740 recipients of FY23 Festivals & Projects grants. The $2,500 awards are going to cultural projects, programs, and festivals across the Commonwealth, totaling $1,850,000.

“Community festivals, local arts programming, and creative projects are essential to celebrating, understanding, and sharing our vibrant cultural assets across Massachusetts,” said Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “I am thrilled to support these creative initiatives and look forward to participating in many of them and encourage all residents and visitors to engage in these events and activities as they take place in communities near you.”

Mass Cultural Council, an independent state agency, is charged with bolstering the Commonwealth’s creative and cultural sector. The Agency’s efforts advance economic vitality, support transformational change, and celebrate, preserve, and inspire creativity across all Massachusetts communities.

The Festivals & Projects program awards $2,500 grants to support publicly available cultural activities taking place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. The program is often an entryway for organizations that have not previously received Mass Cultural Council funding. 52% of these Festivals & Projects recipients are receiving a Mass Cultural Council grant for the first time.

“I’m pleased to note that we are funding every eligible first-time applicant as well as all eligible applicants who had previously applied for Agency support but were unsuccessful,” said Bobbitt. “I am so glad to welcome these new grantees and I hope they will continue to engage with our programs and services.”

Eligible projects, festivals, or activities for funding are primarily focused on promoting access, diversity, or education in the arts, humanities, or interpretative sciences and are available to the public in Massachusetts.

Sample Festivals & Projects Grant Recipients

Community Celebrations

North Adams Pride Night (North Adams) – This grant will be used for a project to help foster a sense of community and support for LGBTQIA+ individuals and their allies in the Northern Berkshires by producing a Pride parade, educational and celebratory community event, and dance party.

Westborough Cultural Council’s Arts in Common (Westborough) – “Inspiring Creative Expression” Arts in Common, sponsored by the Westborough Cultural Council since 2009, brings together people from all over New England to experience and celebrate creativity in all forms of artistic medium and expression such as visual arts, culinary arts, music and more. By using the universal language of art, the community works to ignite creative expression in children and adults.

Cultural Festivals

Asian Festival (Worcester) – The Asian Festival is an annual event hosted by the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts to celebrate Worcester’s cultural diversity and the more than 14 local Asian communities represented in the area. The festival is a community-based cultural event which celebrates Worcester’s diversity, reconnects community members to their cultural roots, and provides an opportunity to learn about the cultures and traditions of Southeast Asia.

Puerto Rican Festival of MA (Boston) – The annual Puerto Rican Festival brings together people from all heritages to share Puerto Rican culture. The festival consists of live performances by local and international artists, kiosks selling typical Puerto Rican food, local arts and crafts, mechanical Rides, and different activities for the entire family.


Marshfield Lobster Festival (Marshfield) – Hosted by the Marshfield Chamber of Commerce, Inc., Marshfield Lobsterfest is a celebration of the local coastal community and the Town’s rich fishing and lobstering history while supporting small businesses.  Their goals are to highlight and support our local fishermen, to provide educational materials, interactive learning activities and to highlight the vibrant arts landscape in the area.

Martha’s Vineyard Flavors: A Food History Symposium (Tisbury) – Martha’s Vineyard Flavors is the first-ever convening focused on tracing the diverse cultural influences on the island’s food history, from early Wampanoag lifeways through the contributions of colonial European settlers, Portuguese Cape Verdeans, African Americans migrating from the American South, Brazilians, and Caribbeans. Hosted by The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, Inc., the event will link past, present, and future through participatory experiences with MVM collections and archives, demonstrations and workshops, and discussions on stewardship for healthy, just food systems.


Wampanoag Heritage and Archaeology Fair (Middleborough) – The Massachusetts Archaeological Society will use this grant expenses related to hosting the Wampanoag Heritage and Archaeology Fair and the Massachusetts Archaeological Society Annual Meeting, two free, public events that introduce visitors to Wampanoag cultural history through archaeological artifacts, traditional crafts, foods, tours, and discussions, highlighting members of the Wampanoag community themselves, who interpreted displays and activities in accord with their cultural values.

Interpretive Sciences

First Day Hikes Cape Cod (Barnstable) – This grant will be used by the Barnstable Land Trust, Inc. to support First Day Hikes Cape Cod 2023, the only regional collaboration of its kind in the nation representing 10 nonprofit conservation/environmental organizations, which encourages all people to get outdoors and connect to the land in new ways through free guided walks and special activities as they explore Cape Cod’s parks, trails, and natural resources on the first day of the new year.

Lowell Learning Sustainability Trail (Lowell) – Lowell City of Learning will use this grant to support a project that maps and creates an urban Learning Trail that highlights and increases awareness of sustainability practices and challenges in Lowell. Focusing on science, art, and history, the Trail will be self-guided or a guided “Lowell Walk,” and will draw in partners such as the Lowell National Historical Park, and UMass Lowell’s Sustainability Office.

Public Art

Northampton Public Art Festival (Northampton) – The Northampton Public Arts Festival is a unique 2-day event hosted by the Paradise City Cultural District aimed at promoting public arts through live mural painting, street art workshops for the community, and permanent mural installations. The festival will bring local and nationally recognized street artists and muralists to convene and create beautiful public art for the city of Northampton.

Small Business Grantees

From Jazz to Hip-Hop: A Black Music Month Celebration (Holyoke) – This grant will be used by Genuine Culture, LLC to produce a public show featuring local Jazz and Hip-Hop artists and connect the community through music in the heart of Holyoke.

Next Funding Opportunity

Mass Cultural Council plans to offer an FY24 Festivals & Projects grant round, subject to appropriation by the state Legislature and the approval of an FY24 spending plan by the Agency’s governing Council:

  • April 25, 2023 – Application Opens
  • June 8, 2023 – Application Deadline

FY24 program guidelines, frequently-asked questions, and information session details will be available closer to April 25.

See the Complete Funding List

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