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April 1, 2024

Worcester artists, cultural organization granted $247K to grow programming

A participant in the Love Your Labels Queer AF fashion show walks down the runway. Photo | KevCool Photography, use courtesy of Love Your Labels Philippe Berry struts down the runway during Love Your Labels' 2019 Queer AF Art & Fashion Show.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council has awarded 53 grants, totalling in $246,844, to help fund Worcester-based arts and cultural programs through the City’s Worcester Arts Council. 

WAC, a public-private partnership between the City of Worcester and 12 cultural organizations, is part of the MCC’s Local Cultural Council Program network, the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the country, said a press release from the City of Worcester on Tuesday. 

Out of the 118 applicants WAC received for its 2024 grants, five artist fellowships and 48 projects were selected to receive awards ranging from $2,420 to $5,000. 

The Worcester-based artists who received funding were: Travis Duda, Jerry Kazarian, Ferlay Jean-Baptiste, Tina Gaffney, and Lynn Aurelie Thibault, all of whom received $5,000 each.

Grant winners came from a diverse composite of musical, advocacy, cultural awareness and nonprofit organizations.  

Amongst those receiving $5,000 grants were:

     - Crocodile River Music, a music program aiming to expand access to African arts through performance and education, to help fund its Worcester’s Got African Talent 3.0 project. 

     - LGBTQ+ advocacy nonprofit Love Your Labels for its Threads Fashion Design Program and Threads Pop Ups initiatives.  

     - The Chinese Family Network working to support and empower Chinese families and children received the funding to support its 2024 Spring Festival. 

Applications were evaluated based on their public benefit, creative/artistic merit, capacity, budget, impact, and innovation along with how well the applications reflected WAC’s funding priorities which were established based on community input.

“I am thrilled to witness the Worcester Arts Council’s unwavering dedication to facilitating opportunities for local artists and creative projects,” Worcester Cultural Development Officer Fabian Barracks said in the release. “Their commitment not only fulfills our city’s cultural plan but also ignites our office’s strategic functions.”

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