How to Apply for a Grant

The deadline for Cultural Council grant applications was November 1. Applications are now being considered and decisions will be made by the end of the year. We fund all kinds of activities: art projects and installations, musical performances, dance, stories and poetry, historical preservation, talks by experts, motivational speakers, debates, and much more.

Anyone may apply for funding and the range of programs funded in the past has been very broad — a good idea is what counts. The Council requires only that the applicant have a local sponsor and that the program clearly benefits Winchester directly (see also "local priorities" on this page).

Applications are evaluated in terms of several review criteria: artistic or creative merit; project design; qualifications; dedication and track record of individuals and organizations involved; physical accessibility of any facilities being used; and community benefit/involvement. Enrichment projects utilizing outside professionals are allowed. Winchester based applicants are given preference over those from out of town. Applicants are strongly encouraged to have a Winchester sponsor.

Who is eligible? (a) Arts, humanities or interpretive science organizations, (b) individuals including artists, science educators, historians or other humanists, parents, community members, etc.; and (c) community organizations such as schools, neighborhood centers, youth, senior and family associations.

Completed applications must be received by November 1, 2021. All applications must be completed and submitted online. Note that the application system has changed for 2021, and you might need to create a new account—see the FAQ. Click the following link to access the online application.

Decisions will be made by the end of 2021, and applicants are notified by January 2022. Grant funds are available immediately following notification of approval.

Winchester Grant Priorities

The Winchester Cultural Council uses the following guidelines in evaluating grant applications.

  1. Priority is given to applicants from Winchester residents and organizations, and that primarily serve Winchester and its residents. Outside applicants must include a letter of support from a local (Winchester) sponsor as part of  the grant application (or forward such a letter to the Council by email no later than the application deadline).
  2. We particularly encourage applications from local artists, performers, and other cultural creators.
  3. Lower priority is given to projects which have been recently funded by the Winchester Cultural Council.
  4. If the project's budget is greater than $1000, preference is given to applications with outside funding or in-kind donations that are equal to or greater than the amount requested of the WCC, and are documented in the application.
  5. Higher priority is given to projects that benefit a larger number of people relative to the amount of the grant.
  6. Grant projects must take place during the calendar year for which the grant is given (i.e., not prior to the grant decisions).
  7. Following the project, we require that photos, news clippings, testimonials from participants, or other appropriate documentation of the project or event be submitted to the WCC.

Special Grant Programs from the Massachusetts Cultural Council

The following special grant programs are available directly from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

  • Project Grants offer $2,500 to fund projects that actively engage the public or build capacity for an organization
  • Festival Grants offer $1,500 for festivals (such as PorchFest), live, online, or hybrid, that feature arts and cultural events for audiences. There are separate applications for Fall/Winter (September–February) and Spring/Summer (March–August) festivals.
  • Big Yellow School Bus provides $250 transportation grants for K-12 school field trips to non-profit cultural institutions and activities in the arts, sciences, and humanities in Massachusetts
  • Individual Artist Fellowships, grants awarded directly to artists within several disciplines in a competitive process.
  • STARS Residencies offer $500–$5,000 grants to support three-day-plus residencies that bring students and teachers together with practicing artists, scientists, and scholars.