Mass Cultural Council logo
photo of performer on stage holding a mic and wearing a yellow shirt, smiling over a crowd of standing audience members. A large tile mural is in the background.

Festivals & Projects


How do you define arts, sciences, and humanities?
As it relates to this program, Mass Cultural Council uses the following definitions:

THE ARTS are the creation of work in the crafts and performing, visual, media, folk, design, literary, and interdisciplinary arts. They also include the presentation and preservation of, and education about, works in these disciplines.

THE HUMANITIES are types of learning that deal with human values and aspirations, human thought and culture, language, and creativity. Examples include, but are not limited to, history, social studies, philosophy, criticism, and literature.

THE SCIENCES are limited to the cultural, interpretive, and educational expression of science and refers to types of learning that deal with nature, science, and technology in ways that explain how they relate to people’s lives. Some organizations that conduct this type of activity include aquariums, botanical gardens, nature centers, natural history museums, planetariums, and science centers.

What do you mean when you say the festival or project needs to be “primarily focused” on promoting access, diversity, or education in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences?
This means that the arts, sciences, and/or humanities needs to be integral to the goal or purpose of the project or festival.  Simply having a musician or performer at your project or festival does not necessarily mean it is the primary focus of the project or festival. For example, a music festival designed to showcase folk musicians would be primarily focused on the arts. But a cancer awareness event that has a band open and close the day would likely not be considered primarily focused on the arts since the intent of the event is to promote awareness about cancer and not to promote access, diversity, or education in the arts.

 Who can apply for a Festivals & Projects grant?
A broad range of organizations, collaboratives, and businesses are eligible. We encourage you to apply if your group/collective/organization is:

  • A federally- or state-recognized tribe or an Urban Indian organization
  • A fiscally-sponsored organization with a Massachusetts address that conducts the majority of your programming in Massachusetts
  • An unincorporated organization with a non-profit objective, or an incorporated organization in the process of getting your federal tax-exempt status
  • A small for-profit corporation, partnership, or Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • A Massachusetts municipal entity such as a Local Cultural Council, Cultural District, public library, recreational department, etc.
  •  A Massachusetts recognized non-profit whose federal tax-exempt status is currently active

Can I apply as an individual?
No, This program is for organization entities.

What kinds of for-profit business are eligible?
Eligible for-profit entities:

  1. Are privately owned by individuals,
  2. Have a Massachusetts address on the business’ Federal Business (Federal Form 1120) or Partnership Tax Return (Federal Form 1065), and
  3. Have three or fewer locations.

I operate as a sole proprietorship, am I eligible?
No, individuals are not eligible to apply to this program.

Does a for-profit entity have to file its taxes using the Federal Form 1120 or Federal Form 1065 to be eligible?
Yes, this program is meant to support organizations. Sole proprietorships, or single member limited liability companies that file their taxes using their personal tax returns are not eligible.

What are some examples of eligible projects?
Examples include but are not limited to concert series, dance performances, art showcases, sculpture walks, poetry readings, mural projects, oral history projects, fashion shows, gallery exhibits and openings, and productions of cultural works. Questions about whether your project is eligible for this grant? Contact us.

What are some examples of eligible festivals?
Some examples include multicultural festivals (Lunar New Year, music festivals, harvest fairs, holiday strolls, foodie crawls or food festivals that celebrate a neighborhood or type of food with cultural, historical, or regional significance, Open Studios, craft fairs, film festivals, book and literary festivals, town anniversary celebrations, and science festivals. Questions about whether your festival is eligible for this grant? Contact us.

Why are the former “Festivals” and “Projects” grant programs combining into this new program?
Due to the capacity of our agency this year, the two grant programs are combining this year to strengthen our efforts to support publicly-available activities and public programming efforts across the Commonwealth.

When does the application open?
October 25, 2022

When is the application deadline?
December 15, 2022 at 11:59pm (ET)

Does my project or festival have to offer in-person programming?
No, your project or festival does not have to offer in-person programming to be eligible. Virtual programming is eligible as well.

Does my festival or project have to be available for free?
No, but projects and festivals that are free to the public will be prioritized.

Are schools or higher education institutions allowed to apply?
Yes, as long as cultural programming is available to the general public and primarily cultural in intent.

When does my project or festival need to take place?
Eligible programs will include projects, festivals, and/or activities that are publicly available between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023.

What if my festival or project takes place before the grant opens? Can I still apply?
You can still apply! Grants would go towards funding your project or festival retroactively.

Does my organization need to be “fully cultural”?
Although the project or festival itself must be primarily cultural, the entity applying does not need to be.

What is the festival or project minimum expenses required?
Projects and festivals must have a minimum of $2,500 in expenses, including the full cost of the project – there are no limits on overhead or indirect costs.

What does ‘accessible to people with disabilities’ mean?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights legislative requirement that equitable provisions must be designed in your programs, services, and products. These considerations can and should be ongoing and improved over time. Access should be assessed within physical and virtual sites to achieve integrated settings, effective communication, and reasonable accommodations. For more info on Access and Inclusion resolutions contact the Mass Cultural Council’s ADA Coordinator for external requests Charles G. Baldwin.

Applying for a Festivals & Projects grant

How do I access the online application?
Register as an Organization if you are applying for a grant on behalf of an organization, school, town, or another group. In this case, the organization is the applicant and grant recipient, and you are the primary contact for the application.

Start typing your organization’s name, select your organization from the list, and then complete your contact information. If your organization is not listed, follow the directions to add your organization information and your contact information to register your organization manually.

To see if you already have a record, go to the grants management system and click “Forgot password?” Enter your email address. If the email you entered matches the one in our system, you will be sent an email from “” with instructions for resetting your password.

Why cant I see the “Festivals & Projects” under “current opportunities”?
To apply for a Festivals & Projects grant a user account with an organization profile is required.

If your profile is set up as an individual applicant to apply for grants for individuals you can not see the grant opportunities for organizations.

To apply as an unincorporated group, you will need to register and create a profile for an organization using a different email address than previously used to register with our grants management system.

After you register as an organization and set up your password then the Festivals & Projects grant will be available under ”current opportunities”.

How do I know if I have an individual account or an organization account?
On the portal page if you have an individual user account your portal displays “My Profile”

If you have an organization account, your portal page shows “My Profile” and “My Organization Profile”.

Can I apply for more than one grant for my organization?
Only one grant application will be accepted per organization. Multiple entities will not be funded for the same activity/event.

Am I eligible to apply if my organization has received funding from the Cultural Investment Portfolio or YouthReach?
Organizations receiving funding from Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Investment Portfolio (including Gateway) or YouthReach programs in FY23 are not eligible to apply.

If I am an artist or a performer, can I apply for funding to participate in a festival or project?
No, the festival or project entity needs to apply for the grant.

Can my organization or venue apply for a grant to sponsor an event?
Your organization must create and/or present your OWN public cultural activity. Sponsoring events or serving solely as a venue or promotional partner are not eligible events.

Can religious organizations apply for funding?
Religious organizations or groups with religious affiliations are eligible to apply for funding for cultural programming that is available to the general public. Applications that are primarily cultural in their intent and do not have the effect of advancing religion are accepted.

Are projects related to political campaigns eligible to apply?
Your project or festival is not eligible if it is an event for a political candidate running for office.

How do I know if my application has been successfully submitted?
You should be able to see a “Congratulations” header at the top of your submitted application on the grants management system and receive a confirmation email.

How do we check the status of a grant?
Contact us.

Additional Questions?

Technical questions about the online application or grants management system? Contact our grants team.

Programmatic questions about application requirements? Email our program staff or call 617-858-2821.

Back to Top