Fund for the Arts Grant

Fund for the Arts supports public art projects where professional artists create new, site-specific, contemporary artwork in collaboration with community-based nonprofit organizations within Route 495 in Massachusetts.

More about fund for the arts

Fund for the Arts supports comprehensive planning and development that will lead to successful artist-led community partnerships and implementation projects. Grant supported activities include but are not limited to: artist selection, artist fees, community engagement activities, site-specific planning, and acquisition of permits and approvals. Awards for the planning and development phase of public art projects generally range from $5,000 to $20,000.

Fund for the Arts also awards implementation funding provided that the applicant has completed a planning and development process and reflects the process in the application. Prior to seeking implementation funds, a project should complete the following: artist selection, conceptual design development, community engagement activities, site-specific planning, acquisition of permits and approvals, and a draft maintenance plan agreement. Implementation grants awards are generally up to $30,000.

Fund for the Arts gives preference to permanent public art projects. Temporary public art projects that strongly align with Fund for the Arts criteria and feature high artistic quality, community engagement, and artist compensation will be considered. Grants for temporary public art projects generally range from $2,500 to $5,000.

Launched in 1981, under the leadership of Boston attorney Phil David Fine, Fund for the Arts began with an extensive publicity and fundraising campaign out of WBZ-TV (now CBS4). The campaign drew support from local businesses, arts organizations, and individuals and resulted in the formation of an endowment fund, which today has assets of nearly $3 million. In 1992, Fund for the Arts became a permanent program of the New England Foundation for the Arts.


Fund for the Arts invites proposals from nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations within Route 495 in Massachusetts. Organizations outside this geography should contact program staff before beginning an application. Organizations outside of Massachusetts will not be considered. If the organization has selected an artist for the proposed project, the artist must reside within Route 495.

Artists may partner with nonprofit organizations to develop applications to Fund for the Arts, but the application must be submitted by the nonprofit.  Artists must reside in the geography described above.

Funding Criteria

Preference will be given to proposals that feature new work, actively engage and have a lasting impact on diverse communities, and those that address an environmental, social or civic need.  The following criteria will be used to assess all proposals:

  • Organizations and project artists must reside within Route 495 in Massachusetts.
  • Project site is selected and initial project ideas are in development (note: implementation projects must demonstrate developed project plans)
  • Project will increase public access to art and provides opportunities for strong community collaboration and education
  • Project budget includes competitive artist compensation
  • Project has potential to attract additional funding and media attention
  • Proposal includes planning for maintenance or project removal
  • Organization has accomplished leadership and experience working within the community of the proposed project location
  • Organization has strong management and evidence of fiscal responsibility

Projects that identify an artist must also demonstrate:

  • Artist / artist team has a track record of creating work of the highest quality and work is relevant to the proposed project and site. 

Fund for the Arts will not fund:

  • Fundraisers
  • General operating support
  • Organizations and projects outside of Route 495 in Massachusetts
  • Projects featuring artists outside of Route 495 in Massachusetts

Process & Deadline

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Grant REQUESTs & Instructions

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Requirements & Reports for Grant Recipients

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Newell Flather
Founder, Grants Management Associates, Boston
President, the Theodore Edison Parker Foundation
Chairperson, Fellows Committee, Massachusetts Historical Society

Ann Gund
Trustee, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Trustee Emerita, Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies
Board Chairman, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
Trustee, WGBH
Trustee, American Repertory Theater
Trustee, George Gund Foundation

Geoff Hargadon
Senior Vice President – Investments, UBS Financial Services, Boston
Advisory Committee, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge
Board Director, Friends of Harvard Soccer

Theodore Landsmark
President, Boston Architectural College
Trustee, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Tyra Sidberry
Trustee, Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children

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