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Cultural Space Fund

The Cultural Space Fund provides funding to seed, stabilize and expand cultural spaces in the City.

The arts are essential to so many different aspects of our city. They are important to our quality of life, community resiliency, and Boston’s economy. Artists and cultural organizations need to be in Boston to:

  • develop their talents,

  • serve their communities, and

  • share their work.

Cultural spaces provide the infrastructure that artists, creative workers, and cultural organizations use to produce, practice, present, and preserve their work. Equitable access to cultural space is a key priority of our office.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture created the Cultural Space Fund as its first funding program for space-related needs. This is due to many pressures on cultural spaces in our city.

The application for the Cultural Space Fund is currently closed.

About the Cultural Space Fund

Goals and priorities

The goals of the Fund are to:

  • Secure the long-term future of existing cultural spaces and operators in Boston

  • Expand equitable access to cultural space in the City of Boston

The Fund seeks to support projects which:

  • Increase the amount of physical space in Boston secured for cultural uses long-term

  • Increase the power for artists, creative workers and cultural organizations as it relates to their spaces

  • Increase access to existing cultural spaces (including physical access, affordability, operating hours)

We will prioritize projects that support spaces for underrepresented communities, spaces for cultural production (where work is made), and projects that address market gaps.

The First Year of the Program

In this first year, a total of $1.5 million was available through the Cultural Space Fund.

The 2022-2023 fiscal year is the first round of the Cultural Space Fund. We expect that we will adjust various aspects of the program based on learnings from this year. External advisors will assist us in supporting future program design.

For 2022-23, the Boston Cultural Space Fund includes funds from the following sources:

  • the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture 2022-23 annual budget, and

  • contributions from development projects in the City of Boston. We will prioritize funds first to projects in the South End Economic Development Areas (Art. 64-14), then to other locations in the South End, Chinatown, Roxbury, and South Boston neighborhood zoning districts, and finally to the other neighborhoods of Boston.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Cultural space operators (entities that manage cultural space and make it available to other organizations, artists, or creative workers to use)
  • Groups of individual artists looking to work together on a cultural space project (a fiscal sponsor will be required in this instance)
  • Developers of affordable commercial and cultural space
  • Creative sector businesses who are facing barriers to securing space in Boston
  • Teams formed to respond to this opportunity, which should include representatives from the communities impacted by the proposed project and representatives connected to the space or building of focus

Please note: A fiscal sponsor may be required to receive funds if you are not already established as a non-profit. We can advise on this process if you are awarded funding. Applications also need to be directly associated with cultural spaces that are within City of Boston boundaries. Individual applicants do not need to be Boston residents.

  • Pre-development costs and capacity building related to cultural space, including feasibility studies, capital needs assessments and design work
  • Organizing efforts related cultural space and facility projects, including business planning, community organizing work, advocacy work
  • Contribution to acquisition, design, construction, repair, renovation, rehabilitation or other capital improvement of cultural space
  • Immediate emergency rental or relocation costs to respond to displacement threats (not ongoing rental costs)
  • Efforts to deliver affordable commercial space for cultural uses (at least 20% below market rate)

No, the funds cannot be used for general operating expenses, including staff salaries or ongoing rental costs. The Fund can only cover emergency rental and relocation costs if you are facing displacement in the immediate future.

If you are looking for resources to contribute to rental costs at a new location, please consider applying to the S.P.A.C.E Grant Program.

Studio at 119 Braintree Street, photo courtesy of Sassa Studios.

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