Receive the latest news, grant offerings, and community events.
Creative City Boston Artist Grant provides project-specific funding to artists to create work that sparks public imagination, inspires community members to share in civic experience, and seizes opportunities to creatively engage important conversations taking place in Boston’s communities. By funding artists directly, we are investing in artists’ creative agency as civic leaders in shifting public culture in Boston to be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.
Creative City Boston is one of NEFA’s grant programs supporting artists in the field of public art.
The program design for Creative City Boston has been informed by the learnings gathered by Animating Democracy during an assessment of the three-year pilot phase of Creative City (2015-2018).
For more information about other elements of NEFA’s Public Art programs, visit the Public Art program page.
NEFA’s organizational values, articulated in the 2018-2021 strategic plan, guide each of the program areas of Creative City Boston. More specifically, our value statement regarding Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (EDIA) informs our program design, funding criteria and grantmaking processes:
“NEFA values an equitable, diverse, and inclusive world, which we interpret as all people having fair access to the tools and resources they need to realize creative and community endeavors. We acknowledge structural inequities that have excluded individuals and communities from opportunity based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, language, culture, and geography, and strive to counter those inequities in our work.”
Creative City Boston supports the evolving field of public art by funding socially-engaged public art that also aligns with the following program values.
NEFA hopes to contribute to more equitable and inclusive public culture in Boston by striving to hold ourselves accountable to these values in Creative City Boston’s program design and grantmaking.
Why? Because access to funding and opportunities to create public art have historically been inequitable. Because community engagement processes that reduce people, places and stories to tools for art-making are harmful. Because we know we can’t do this work of shifting public culture alone.
By upholding these program values Creative City Boston aims to:
Projects with a lead applicant who is a current Creative City grantee. Creative City Boston grantees are not eligible to apply until 12-months after the completion of their final grantee report.
For example: Lead artists in the Creative City Boston 2020 cohort are expected to complete their final grant report in January/February 2021, after the completion of their grant year (Jan-Dec 2020). These artists are not eligible to apply until Spring 2022, for the 2023 cohort grant year.
Artists may participate in multiple applications as collaborators or participants.
Creative City Boston funds a range of artist-led socially engaged public art projects that meet each of the following funding criteria and demonstrate alignment with our program values outlined above. These criteria aim to help us understand and evaluate a project’s alignment with our values.
Artist Vision and Values: Clearly articulates the lead artist(s)’ artistic vision for success and values for this project. Creative City Boston intends to fund projects that demonstrate alignment with program values.
Artistic Process: Clearly articulates the lead artist(s)’ artistic process for this project. Creative City Boston intends to fund projects that authentically honor the integrity of the people, places, stories, and ideas -past, present, and future - that are engaged in all phases of the artistic process – e.g. research, art-making, installation, performance, and/or presentation phases.
Intentions for Public Impact: Clearly articulates the intended impact of the project on the places and communities where a project is sited, and the general public who may experience the project. Creative City Boston intends to support a range of projects that may spark public imagination, inspire community members to share in civic experience, seize opportunities to creatively engage important conversations, increase access to the arts, advance cultural equity and foster more vibrant public spaces and public life throughout Boston.
Community Partnership(s): Demonstrates meaningful community partnership(s) and clearly articulates the community partner(s)’ relationship to and role in realizing the proposed project. Some areas to consider are shared values and goals, skills, expertise, and social capital that the artists and community organization(s) are each bringing to the partnership.
Feasibility: Exemplifies the lead artist(s) readiness to implement this project during the upcoming grant year. Provides a thoughtful workplan/timeline and project budget, examples of support, resources, permits, etc. that may be necessary to make this project a success.
Community of Practice: Demonstrates interest from the lead artist(s) in fully engaging in the grantee learning cohort to develop their socially engaged public art practice and contribute to strengthening a community of practice.
The Creative City Boston grant selection process is divided into two phases:
Eligible artists are welcome to submit a concept proposal in the spring. Concept proposals will be reviewed by a panel of advisors who will offer guidance on selecting finalists. Finalists will be notified and invited to participate in Phase 2 of the application process. Each finalist will receive a $1500 stipend (per project) for participating in Phase 2.
Finalists will have time to work on their project budget and workplan with the support of program advisors, confirm community partnerships, and nominate community partners to apply for the supplemental CCB Community Partner Grant. Finalists will be invited to submit Full Project Proposals that include a project budget, workplan and confirmed community partnerships.
Artist Grants range from $10,000-$20,000 per project.
Community Partner Grants may be up to $5,000 per project.
During Phase 2, finalists will have time to:
Additional professional development related to project development may also be available during this time. NEFA staff is also available and ready to work with you on your proposal development and answer any questions about the form or process.
Creative City Boston artist grantees are required to:
Grant disbursement is made in two installments:
Major changes to your workplan, budget, or project concept may impact your final payment. Please notify NEFA staff as soon as possible regarding these changes. Major changes may require the completion of an interim report and approval by NEFA staff, prior to completion of the project and final grantee report for NEFA to issue the final installment of the award (25% of the total award). These procedures will be detailed in the grantee contract at the time of the award.
Creative City Boston program advisors represent artists, arts administrators, independent consultants, and community partners with knowledge and expertise in public art practices and the arts in Boston. Selection of advisors takes into account knowledge, experience and expertise with public art and public art processes in Boston, gender, cultural and racial equity, and includes new and established leaders in the field.
Program advisors may offer guidance on selection of concept proposal finalists, provide mentorship to finalists as they refine their full project proposal, offer guidance on selection of projects to be funded, and may be available as a resource to artist during their grant year. The advisors who serve as mentors to finalists, and resources to grant recipients, may not always be the same advisors that serve on our selection panels. Learn more about how to become a program advisor.
Receive the latest news, grant offerings, and community events.