2022-2023 Grant Recipients

Cambridge Arts and the City are distributing grants totaling $266,143 to 53 artists and cultural organizations for fiscal year 2023 through three funding opportunities that Cambridge Arts offered in fall 2022—including Art for Social Justice Grants, Local Cultural Council Grants, and Organizational Investment Grants.

$117,643 In Cambridge Arts Grants Fund 35 Local Cultural Projects

Including Asian Festival, Documentary About Middle East Nightclub, Directory Of Monuments

Thirty-five projects will receive grants totaling $117,643 from Cambridge Arts and the City of Cambridge’s Local Cultural Council Grants. This grassroots grants program, operated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council across the Commonwealth, supports Cambridge projects including dance, films, music, public art, and theater. They represent the wealth of artistic activity across the city.

Grant-funded Cambridge projects include an Asian festival, a vocal concert about historical women in Bengal, a puppet opera about weather, traditional Japanese paper theater show about butterfly migration, a directory of monuments and memorials in Cambridge, free music lessons for low-income students, an animation about the plight of war refugees, a free concert of Ladino (Jewish Sephardic) music, and a documentary film about Cambridge’s Middle East Restaurant & Nightclub and its history as a focal point of Central Square’s music scene. (See full list of grants below.)

Overall Cambridge Arts and the City are distributing grants totaling $266,143 to 53 artists and cultural organizations this year through three funding opportunities that Cambridge Arts offered last fall—including Art for Social Justice Grants, Local Cultural Council Grants, and Organizational Investment Grants. Each year, the City of Cambridge contributes substantial funding to support local artists, cultural workers, and arts organizations through the Cambridge Arts Grant Program. This support is coupled with funding received through the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s statewide Local Cultural Council Program.


Cambridge Community Center for the Arts
Grant Award: $4,250
The pandemic has made it extremely challenging for artists to find venues (physical & virtual) to present (shows/classes/workshops), connect with audiences (onsite/online), fund production costs (artist fees, venue fees, insurance, audio/video production, lighting design, livestreaming, postproduction, marketing, distribution, ticketing, & broadcast expenses), and be able to earn a living in an ever-changing market. This project will continue our non-profit's work to bridge these gaps by completing the post-production (video/audio editing) and release (on Cambridge Community Television's live & archived channel, CCCA's 'Pay to Watch' platform, & social media) and market the projects we produced with artists in 2022, allowing the artists complete freedom of expression and creative control, and entitling them to full ownership of all artistic work/output and to equitable residual income.

Cambridge Families of Asian Descent
Grant Award: $4,250
The Cambridge Families of Asian Descent (CFAD) is an affinity parent group of the Cambridge Public Schools. We are collaborating with the Somerville Asian and Asian American Family Network (SAAFN) to organize the two-day Cambridge-Somerville Asian Festival for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May 2023. Our first festival took place in May 2022 at the CALA complex in Somerville (1st day) and Starlight Square in Cambridge’s Central Square (2nd day). Due to its resounding success, we intend to organize a similar festival across our two cities in 2023. The first day's event will be in Somerville, while the second day’s event will take place at Starlight Square or a similar Cambridge venue. We plan to showcase local Asian performers, artists, students, and vendors as well as provide interactive kid-friendly art workshops.

Maitreyee Chakraborty
Grant Award: $4,293
The 1.5 hours vocal concert will examine the role of women in the 19th and 20th century Bengal through songs, dance, poems, excerpts of plays composed and written in 'Bengali' by the Indian Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. It will push the boundaries of the traditional roles of women and societal expectation on women. Tagore, a progressive and iconic humanist, wrote on Issues of sexism, colorism, caste discrimination and gender fluidity - these topics will be presented and examined in a thought-provoking manner. Songs and excerpts from his musicals on the same topic will be choreographed and presented by a dance group. The program will be open captioned, explained and contextualized in English. Tabla, khol, harmonium will be used. Translations will be projected on the screen. The program will end with a Q&A session from the audience. The number of artists involved will be 10.

Charles River Conservancy
Grant Award: $4,250
The CRC seeks continued support for a public art and community-building process at the Lynch Family Skatepark, known as “the busiest park per square foot in Massachusetts.” The CRC has embarked upon a public art process to support and strengthen the park’s physical and social infrastructure. In the past year, the CRC brought together partners (below) who have an established presence at the skatepark and in the local art community to explore spatial justice at the park and to identify groups, subgroups, social dynamics, and tensions. From Fall 2022 to Spring 2023, the CRC and our partners will build on this foundation to host 4 events, including an onsite kick-off, which happened on October 6, followed by 3 forums that will explore with the community visioning, spatial justice, and art curation criteria development.

Brenda Huggins
Grant Award: $4,250
Live Music! Puppets! Magic Telescopes! “Mr. Twister and the Tale of Tornado Alley," an opera for family audiences, follows a Meteorologist and grandson with a magic telescope that sees everything, including the North and South winds about to create a cyclone! Through the magic of puppetry, the Winds come to life in an immersive theater experience with audience-interactive dialogue, movement and singing. In a hands-on puppet making workshop, youth will create their own puppets, and perform from their seats as part of the show. In partnership with the East End House, the event will take place outdoors in either Donnelly or Tim Toomey Park in East Cambridge, participants will learn important climate topics that directly impact our communities including the need for clean air, and how to advocate for healthy living environments for our families.

Yumi Izuyama
Grant Award: $1,700
In collaboration with a kamishibai (Japanese Paper Theater) artist from Mexico, I will create a kamishibai story about the migration of the monarch butterflies from the US (Northeast) to Mexico and then back to the US. This story will be presented at three different venues in the city of Cambridge. These events are the Monarch Butterfly Release Celebration organized by the City of Cambridge Water Department, the Fly, Buzz, and Hop organized by Green Cambridge, and one of the summer family events at the Magazine Beach Park Nature Center organized by Mass Audubon Society. Each event will begin with an explanation of kamishibai (traditional Japanese form of storytelling) prior to the performance. There will also be hands-on nature themed activities after each performance.

Rebecca MacInnes
Grant Award: $600
Our project is to perform a 40-minute storytelling “crankie”, with live musical accompaniment by Mamaliga Klezmer Band. A “crankie” is a traditional Appalachian-American story telling medium utilizing an illustrated moving scroll. For this performance, Mamaliga is collaborating with visual artist Kiah Raymond and playwright Abigail Weaver to develop a musical story-telling piece rooted in American and Yiddish folklore. The story draws on themes explored in S. Ansky’s ethnographies of Jewish communities in Eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century, focusing on the character Elijah, a trickster who is searching for their voice. All aspects of the performance will be original material, including the artwork, storyline, and musical composition. Through this artistic collaboration, our project will engage an intergenerational audience in the richness of American and Yiddish folklore.

The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
Grant Award: $1,105
Since reopening last November, MCA has sought to rebuild and diversify its audiences, and expanding accessible arts programming is a key component of MCA’s vision. In efforts to build our ASL programs and reach more diverse, multigenerational audiences, MCA is seeking funding for Arts Access with ASL: WCT’s ASL Storytime & Interactive Creativity Workshop. WCT’s ASL Storytime events include an explanation of American Sign Language (ASL) featured in stories read so that audience members can participate with ASL during the storybook presentation [by reader] and interpreted [by ASL Teaching Artist]. ASL Storytime sessions will also include a creative hands-on art project that relates to the story. The project will be presented at public libraries again this year, expanding to local farmers markets when appropriate. Programs will be videotaped and presented virtually to maximize access.

K. Rhett Nichols
Grant Award: $1,360
Monuments and memorials have been spotlighted nationally since 2020. Cambridge has a wide variety of them but there is currently no comprehensive resource on monuments and memorials in Cambridge. A few are highly visible, but many are invisible, unfindable, or mysterious. Local organizations and websites have incomplete information. I compiled an extensive list and detailed information when teaching a public art class. I propose to research additional missing information, take photos, and put all this information on Wikipedia as a resource for Cambridge, both a list and articles on individual monuments with photos. The highly visible Wikipedia platform allows anyone (from school kids to tourists to scholars) near and far, to find, use, expand, and update this accessible resource, and it will activate our currently less visible monuments.


Cambridge Senior Center
Grant Amount: $4,250
The Music Jam Sessions is a program for older adults ages 60+ that takes place at the Cambridge Senior Center. The Music Jam Sessions is a collaboration between the Cambridge Council on Aging, the Cambridge Public Health Department and musician Bobby Tynes and his all-star musical ensemble. The premise behind the Music Jam Sessions is to gather older adults with or without music instrument experience and to create music together. Bobby Tynes and his ensemble includes a pianist, a drummer, and a cellist. Senior participants can bring their instruments, use an instrument provided to them by the senior center, or sing. The Music Jam Sessions started as a summer series and was so successful, it was requested by senior participants to continue. Currently, a fall Music Jam Session is underway and offered for five dates, beginning late September thru November.

Anton Glamb
Grant Award: $4,250
The project would bring music and dancing to the Lynch Family Skatepark with a monthly mix of skateboard, inline skate, bmx, scooter, rollerskate, music, dj and dance culture. The goal is to encourage physical activity, getting outdoors and living a healthy lifestyle. The project has two main cultural exchanges: 1) Getting people from the dance music world to be active and try skateboarding/rollerblading or return to the sport 2) Showing the skate community different type of music than they have been exposed to, ignite a curiosity and interest in electronic music, djing, rapping or dancing.

Jazz Boston, Inc.
Grant Award: $4,250
The series is named Jazz All Ways because varied jazz styles are featured during the 12-week program, including traditional, progressive, fusion, swing, bebop, and jazz poetry, gospel + projections. JAW showcases the deep jazz talent abundant in Greater Cambridge with programs designed by 12 resident master musicians - innovation, entertainment, and a little education in mind. They may use their date as a workshop to develop their programs for larger concerts or for touring the program. Free admission to Jazz Jam Sessions following shows. These sessions let students and emerging musicians play and network with masters– in addition to the opportunity to play for a serious listening audience. Jazz All Ways begins its second season April 2, 2023, and continues every Sunday for three months through June 2023. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Performances at 7 and 8:30 PM. At ZuZu, Central Sq.

Ira Klein
Grant Amount: $3,400
The program will present a free concert by Ira Klein & Convivencia, a contemporary Ladino (JewishSephardic) music ensemble. Convivencia (co-existence in Spanish) brings together musicians from Israel, Iran, Greece, Cyprus, and the U.S. to make music and celebrate a peaceful vision. As someone who grew up in Jerusalem immersed in a violent conflict, this project is especially meaningful to me. The program will include a 50-minute performance, followed by a discussion and Q and A with audience members, focused on the creative process of rearranging traditional music, as well as the challenges and joys of a collaboration across cultures. Bringing together a group of 6 exceptional musicians to rehearse and perform is a costly endeavor. I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity to apply to this grant, which will allow me to fully present our vision to the local community for free.

Juliann Ma
Grant Amount: $4,250
Global Voices LIVE celebrates our diversity through cross-cultural music performances and workshops. Led by local BIPOC/ LGBTQIA+ artist-collaborators borne from the acclaimed Silkroad Global Musician Workshop, this concert series provides a space for our community to share and explore our roots, sparking meaningful conversations through music. Each event’s Lead Artist/ Ensemble guides the community through an exploration of their heritage via an improvisation workshop or interactive concert, incorporating traditional music elements from across Asia, Africa, and Arabic-speaking countries to create original, cross-cultural compositions, leading to an open jam. We hope to grow a vibrant, inclusive Cambridge music scene, empowering diverse voices, encouraging artistic multilingualism in the community. We plan to host the series in Shady Hill Square Park, May-Sept 2023.

Massachusetts Federation of Farmers and Gardeners Markets, Inc.
Grant Award: $2,380
Mass Farmers Markets is looking for the financial resources to develop a music program at the Central Square Farmers Market. The program will be designed so that it provides a platform for new and emerging artists to play in public, engage with their neighbors, and provide insight into the culture that they and their music. Our goal is to create a sense of inclusion and belonging through music.

Phillips Brooks House
Grant Award: $2,550
For the last three decades, HARMONY has provided low-income, K-12 students in the Greater Boston area, and especially Cambridge, the opportunity to develop their musical ability through free, one-on-one instrumental and vocal lessons with Harvard student-mentors. HARMONY volunteers dedicate more than two hours each week to providing the highest quality instruction for their students. Through our highly individualized, lesson-based model, we offer budding musicians’ exposure to many instruments, genres, and artistic possibilities in a nurturing environment. We also provide additional opportunities for musical enrichment through events like ensemble and symphony visits. Keeping with our no-cost-to-students commitment, we hope to use funding to completely cover instruments, lesson materials, and any transportation needs of mentees to local music centers.

Shelter Music Boston
Grant Award: $4,250
Shelter Music Boston delivers classical music concerts to our program partners each month throughout the year. Prompted by the pandemic, SMB pivoted to virtual programming for most of the last two years, with our musicians recording a concert each month and a music producer editing each final video recording that is shared with all our program partners digitally via YouTube. However, as of June 2022, SMB ensembles are back to consistently performing live and in-person at five adult sites and soon to be two sites for children or families. We will continue to follow our approach of a monthly concert at each partner site, as well as the production of a short video for virtual partners each month throughout 2023. It may be worth knowing that we have begun work to secure funding to establish a pilot to investigate the efficacy of more frequent concerts at one partner site with the hope of determining whether this is a direction for SMB to consider.

David M. Stevens
Grant Award: $4,250
By presenting a large-scale concert in Kresge Auditorium, our vision is to explore the complexities of Yiddish art and heritage through contemporary music. It will feature original works by composer Derek David written for a diverse collection of musicians from both the classical concert and Jewish music world. Presented in part by the Boston Festival for New Jewish Music, this concert will promote, disseminate, and celebrate Yiddish artistic culture and its burgeoning renaissance within the context of classical concert music.


Blacksmith House Poetry Series
Grant Award: $4,250
Blacksmith House Poetry Series (BHPS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, and we at CCAE are planning to honor and proclaim this remarkable and historic birthday in a grand way. BHPS is arguably the most iconic and longest-running poetry reading series in the country, where the great 20th century poets (Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Lowell, Anna Akhmatova, Fernando Pessoa, Frank O’Hara, Jorie Graham and Adrienne Rich, among many others) to attest to its half-century legacy of not only giving voice to thriving contemporary poets, but to promoting fresh, new, diverse, and emerging talents in the poetry world as well. We are planning a season that will enable us, with your help, to fly in some of the poets who have helped to establish the series, as well as launch a party this spring to celebrate the founder, Gail Mazur and others who have helped this series succeed.

Boston Dance Alliance
Grant Award: $2,975
Boston Dance Alliance, as the only independent arts service organization serving dancers across our community, has a special responsibility in sharing information and marketing the work of the lively Cambridge dance community. We do this in our weekly Pro/Motion newsletter and social media. Organizations publicized include the Dance Complex, DWC, CCAE @MAC, Global Arts Live, Dance in the Schools (Cambridge), Cambridge Camping Association, and the many independent artists and small arts organizations for which we serve as a fiscal sponsor. We are a source of technical and professional development information, provide a comprehensive local grant calendar and more. We also host the annual Open Call Audition where Cambridge dancers find employment opportunities, Cambridge choreographers cast their works, and Dancer Health Day where they receive expert wellness screenings.

Guerilla Opera, Inc.
Grant Award: $2,550
Guerilla Opera’s (GO’s) proposed project is the world premiere of “The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage”, a comedic one-act opera adapted from the steampunk graphic novel by Sydney Padua, sung in English, for 4 singers and 4 instrumentalists, and with electronic sound design. The new opera transports Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, the true-life inventors of the first computer, in alternative universes where they use the invention to fight crime. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was a countess, mathematician, gambler, and proto programmer, whose writings contained the first ever appearance of general computing theory. She was one of the first to develop a programming language, though she is still relatively unknown. By centering Lovelace and her accomplishments, this opera shines light on a history of great scientists that are women.

MUSIC Dance.edu
Grant Award: $500
Hip Hop Chair Dance for Seniors! The dance class is about an hour. Elders do a complete chair, dance, warm-up, and hip hop class that begins and ends in the chairs. We travel through time on the “Soul Train” and chair dance to clean cut hip hop and R & B songs. We use creative props such as smiley faces and the African maracas to help make our soul train journey come to life. Senior participants will leave feeling more limber. “All Aboard the Hip Hop Soul Train Express.”

Patricia Russo
Grant Award: $1,717
Partners in Rhyme is a six-week intergenerational poetry program where older adults from Cambridge and teens from the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program gather to read, discuss, and write poetry. Teens and adults work in small groups so relationships can develop. We will read contemporary and classic poems on themes such as: gratitude, mindfulness, and resilience. We will also explore some Cambridge Sidewalk poems. During our intergenerational discussions, participants are encouraged to share personal reactions to a poem instead of analyzing the poem's style or intended message. Next, everyone is invited to write and share their own pieces. There will be an open mic gathering at the end of the program where participants (and others from the community) can perform original works created during the series or a favorite poem.

Laura Sánchez
Grant Award: $4,250
Live Flamenco show produced by Laura Sánchez Flamenco inviting flamenco dancers, students, musicians, and guest artists to perform in the heart of Central Square. This is a community-based project created with the hope to bring all the flamenco community together. This work started in 2021 as the first Flamenco Show in Cambridge since COVID19, a community healing opportunity for performers, teachers, and students to be back on stage in person after a year of isolation. This will be the third year of Flamenco at Starlight and I would like to premiere a new piece created by five immigrant women, mothers and flamenco artists creating a dance piece to represent our individual journeys in a collaborative piece created with our kids while integrating the participation of our students, musicians, and special guest artists.

Urbanity Dance
Grant Award: $4,250
Urbanity Dance requests a grant of $5,000 to support Of the Ether, performed by the Professional Company as part of its 2022-2023 Season. Of the Ether is a creative collaboration between Meg Anderson, Urbanity's Company Director and Choreography Fellow, and members of MASARY Studios, a transdisciplinary artist collective reconsidering environments through site-specific installations using sound, light, interactivity, and performance. The creative team and dancers will create both a performance and an immersive experience for the audience. Presented at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge, Of the Ether will offer Cambridge residents a unique opportunity to engage with an immersive new work by dance artists, coders, engineers, architects, designers, percussionists, and animators---furthering Urbanity's ongoing efforts to build community through new approaches to contemporary dance.


Catriona Baker
Grant Award: $4,250
"Ball Lightning" is a 12-minute in process animation; https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/703488309/5a801c3d8d. The film is based on a true story and is a personal narrative about a child's love for a parent and the parent's love for their child, while bringing to light the plight of a refugee. It illustrates the trauma of war and fortitude of human resilience. Amid our present socio-political divide and global conflict – including the ongoing war in Ukraine – it is my hope that this film will address contemporary issues surrounding – not only – immigration, but also the long-term impacts of war, trauma, and violence. Animation is truly a collaborative medium. And, the importance of connection, has been brought to the forefront throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The film is made in memory of all children left behind in wars, as they are never forgotten by those who love them.

Greig Canna
Grant Award: $4,250
We are always interested in broadening people's understanding and knowledge of photography and photographers but have become particularly interested in breaking down people's preconceived notions of who is making these photographs. Women have slowly started making inroads in the traditionally male-dominated world of photography, but unknown to most people is the role they are playing in covering conflict. This show will revolve around 5 female photographers who are risking their lives to cover conflict in their own countries. Too often the photographers who get attention are the super stars who drop into conflict zones, do great work, then leave. We want to bring attention to the home-grown photographers who are working in their own countries, often at great risk to themselves. In many countries just the fact that they are women heightens the risk even more.

Madison Chacon
Grant Award: $4,250
Each Saturday, I, and other artists volunteer to teach a free art class to the residents of the Green Street homeless shelter, focusing on projects requested by the guests. With this grant, we will host five art classes at publicly accessible spaces in addition to expanding our weekly workshops to additional homeless shelters in Cambridge. For the public workshops, we will provide activities which we were not previously able to fund, such as music lessons and painting workshops led by a previously unhoused community member. The artists will then display their art at a public venue, such as at Starlight Square. These events will work to serve not only the unhoused community, but also the greater Cambridge community, as we use art to build connections between the housed and unhoused factions of Cambridge.

Zhonghe (Elena) Li
Grant Award: $4,250
We often go far to see culture and nature that bring excitement and freshness, but not to truly observe what is around us. As an artist living and working in Cambridge, Cambridge is not only vibrant in cultural activities but also rich in biodiversity. The proposed project "Art of Nature Around Us" intend to bring attention to the biodiversity and the impacts of climate change on our local environment. I will be collaborating with Mass Audubon's Nature in the City Program in Cambridge's Magazine Beach and local communities to create participatory programs to enhance our awareness of diverse species around us, and how to express them through artistic expression based on our close observations. The plan includes giving workshops and creating an installation of the artist's and the participants' work at the Magazine Powder Building, and making video recording to share on CCTV channel, with Cambridge community organizations to reach more diversified groups, and to tell stories together.

Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers
Grant Award: $4,250
The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) intends to have a mural painted in Spring 2023 on the Columbia Street side of the nonprofit agency's flagship office at 1046 Cambridge Street, Cambridge. MAPS, which owns the building, has provided linguistically/culturally specific health and human services for Portuguese speakers in Greater Boston and beyond since 1970. One of six MAPS offices, it has operated from its current location for more than 40 years. It houses MAPS' Portugueselanguage Senior Center and many of MAPS' bilingual/bicultural staff including administration, Center staff, and staff of the Immigrant Integration, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Services, and HIV/STI Services teams. The 700-850 sq foot mural will reflect MAPS' values and the diversity of its staff and constituents--immigrants and their families from Portugal, Brazil, Cabo Verde, and other countries.

Simon Morrison
Grant Award: $4,250
Flower Boy is a short, scripted film set in Cambridge. The film centers Robel, a 24-year-old Cambridge native working as a flower delivery driver at Brattle Square Florist. As he delivers flowers to his clients, Robel winds up in intimate conversations about love and grief. These encounters ultimately alter his perspective on his rapidly gentrifying city and the relationships in his life. Like the work of filmmaker Chloe Zhao, Flower Boy will use a fictional structure to engage with the stories of real people. The film will be cast entirely with non-actors, all of them lifelong Cambridge residents from the Port, North Cambridge, and Coast; preserving the stories of vulnerable communities in Cambridge that are rapidly being displaced. The project tells Cambridge-specific stories with universal themes that apply to larger audiences that can be screened both locally and at national film festivals.

Eric Taylor
Grant Award: $4,250
‘On the Corner’ is a film that will document the legacy of The Middle East Restaurant & Nightclub, and its history as a focal point of Central Square’s music scene. The film will also chronicle the redevelopment efforts to transform The Middle East into a six-floor boutique hotel, and the public’s desire to preserve The Middle East, and its mural ‘Crosswinds’ as being culturally significant. The threat of losing this beloved landmark makes the archiving of The Middle East while it stands essential, but equally important is capturing the dialogue and process of this redevelopment process for future transparency. The finished film will be screened in public at The Middle East will a filmmaker Q & A.

Susan Young
Grant Award: $4,250
I will create a short film focused on poets featured on the sidewalks of the streets of Cambridge. Poets will read their works and talk about what it means to them to have their poems stamped into the cement. The final product will be a 4–10-minute film that presents Cambridge’s Sidewalk Poetry program, captures the importance of public art, introduces several poets and their work, and conveys the value of Sidewalk Poetry to the community.


East End House
Grant Award: $2,763
East End House's proposed project falls under the Field Trip Grant for our Middle School Students. With this grant we will be taking our middle school students and families to see Boston Lyric Opera's production of Omar (May 4th, 2023).

Martin Luther King School
Grant Award: $500
Take 40 kindergarten students to the Puppet Showplace Theater. I fill find a performance that is appropriate for their age group this coming spring.

$67,500 In Art For Social Justice Grants Awarded By Cambridge Arts

$67,500 In Art For Social Justice Grants Awarded By Cambridge Arts

A dance performance and town hall asking: How do we make Cambridge “a more inclusive and equitable place to live?” An all-Asian American ballet company centering their unique perspectives. A dance, poetry and video performance about being “othered” due to racism, gender bias, immigration prejudice and LGBTQ issues. Monthly live hip-hop showcases. The annual Cambridge Carnival with its grand costume parade celebrating Afro-Caribbean cultures.

These are among the nine projects that have been awarded Art for Social Justice Grants totaling $67,500 by Cambridge Arts and the City of Cambridge. (Full listing below.) This is the second year of the funding program—grants are $7,500 each—which supports projects that present the themes and ongoing work of social justice to the Cambridge public through the arts.

Overall Cambridge Arts and the City are distributing grants totaling $266,143 to 53 artists and cultural organizations this year through three funding opportunities that Cambridge Arts offered last fall—including Local Cultural Council Grants, Organizational Investment Grants, and Art for Social Justice Grants.

Each year, the City of Cambridge contributes substantial funding to support local artists, cultural workers, and arts organizations through the Cambridge Arts Grant Program. This support is coupled with funding received through the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s statewide Local Cultural Council Program.

The Art for Social Justice Grants were developed to support artistic projects that positively impact and elevate issues related to health, education, food, housing, laws, information and digital access, transportation, political and economic opportunity and agency, environmental health, public safety, civic participation and activation of public spaces. In particular, Art for Social Justice Grants seek to reflect the interests, visions, and participation of those who have historically been underserved and underrepresented, including but not limited to those who identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian American, Pacific Islander, others who identify as people of color, and people with disabilities.


Dolly Arjun
Grant Award: $7,500
Adavi Myah is an art collective made primarily of and led by caste-oppressed and Dalit (pejoratively known as Untouchables) people from South Asia, mostly from India. Our art is inspired by our beliefs, histories, and experiences and influenced by Ambedkar, Periyar, and our Dravidian (Afro-Indigneous) ancestors. Caste-based discrimination is one of the oldest and most brutal forms of hierarchical social organization. Dalits are considered among the lowest in this social structure and make up over 250 million people. If we include those considered “slaves” in the caste system in addition to those considered Untouchables, this oppressive system will include over 1 billion people. In short, upper caste people make up a minority of the South Asian population. Despite the severity and numbers of people caste oppression affects, many in the U.S. are unfamiliar with this. This is due to narratives about the South-Asian/Indian subcontinent created in the U.S. by an upper-caste immigrant population, often excluding the perspectives of caste-oppressed and indigenous peoples. Especially in Cambridge, we see the rising influence of “mainstream” (upper caste) culture from South Asia which ignores the internal hegemonies that get exported from places such as India. These limited narratives come to the US and present themselves as “diversity” when in fact these representations only represent the minority of privileged people.

Asian American Ballet Project
Grant Award: $7,500
The Asian American Ballet Project seeks funding for its debut performance at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center scheduled for July 7, 2023. With this first performance we hope to embody our mission: to put Asian American dancers on stage: together – in an all-Asian American ballet company for the first time; telling – stories from our unique perspective; and transforming – how audiences see Asian American dancers onstage, from unexpected to accepted. Our debut program will consist of 3 acts. In the first act the dancers will perform classical pieces from the ballet canon, in the second act, the dancers will perform a unique story ballet with Asian characters, the Emperor and the Nightingale, and in the third act, the dancers will perform contemporary works by Asian American choreographers.

Cambridge Carnival International, Inc.
Grant Award: $7,500
Cambridge Carnival International is a nonprofit grassroots organization led by a diverse and committed board and Carnival Committee and supported by volunteers. The committee and board, and administrative staff of Cambridge Youth Steel Orchestra are of Caribbean ancestry and other minority groups. Our slogan is "By the People, For the People," and that is how we define community. We work with approximately 100 volunteers in organizing and supporting our mission. Our core program is the annual Cambridge Carnival festival, is a colorful and festive celebration that is rooted in African traditions. Carnival secretly allowed public communication and cultural bonding for the Afro-Caribbean cultures from as far back as the 1600s. This year we celebrated 28 years of bringing a fun, and culturally diverse event to the City of Cambridge. The festival, now a Cambridge institution, attracts thousands of people and is the largest festival in Cambridge. The highlight of the festival is a grand costume parade accompanied by rich rhythmic musicality promoting all types of cultures that can be seen as revelers masquerade through the streets of Cambridge in dazzling handmade costumes, dancing to the beat of Carnival. Cambridge Carnival is the most unique event in the city of Cambridge. The Carnival attracts an audience of close to 100,000 people, due to COVID, the past 2 years we have downsized Cambridge Carnival festival, however, we have been attracting at least 50,000 people. About 70% of our attendees from the festival are from Cambridge, or used to live in Cambridge, or have family in Cambridge.

Cambridge Hip-Hop Collective
Grant Award: $7,500
The Cambridge Hip-Hop Collective is seeking funding for a series of Bridgeside Cyphers, a monthly hip-hop event in Cambridge that has been running since 2017. The Bridgeside Cypher is a live hip-hop experience for local rappers, singers, and musicians to collaborate in a public, improvised format. We define a cypher as a gathering of rappers, singers, beatboxers, and/or musicians taking turns freestyling and performing in a circle. What started as an informal gathering of street performers in Graffiti Alley has since transformed into a concert series with featured performances and live instrumentation.

Cambridge Jazz Foundation
Grant Award: $7,500
Cambridge Jazz Foundation (CJF) is organizing the 8th annual jazz festival to bring the surrounding communities together in an acknowledgment and celebration of the only American art form referred to as "jazz." The three-day event starts with our annual gala (Honoree to be Announced). Followed by two days of local, national, and international jazz musicians performing for more than 10,000 festival attendees. The festival features a scholarship presentation to a graduating high school senior and our very own CAMMY award ceremony which recognizes and honors members of our community who strive to make the world a better place with their acts of kindness. Past recipients have included teachers, police officials, city workers, musicians, non-profit leaders, as well as others. CJF features a children's area filled with activities and a very popular face-painting activity. In addition, our signature jazz museum is designed to educate and entertain by focusing on past and present jazz greats.

Marguerite Hicks-Gyewu
Grant Award: $7,500
The first "Jazz Booth" came about when I was a Community Fellow at Mass College of Art and Design 2018-19. We were charged with making a piece of work for our community. "The Booth" was exhibited at The Cambridge Jazz Festival in summer of 2019. It was a first attempt and a work in progress The booth was motivated by two things; When my father passed, I inherited his vast collection on jazz records. I have a sentimental attachment to my father's record collection and wanted to do something meaningful with it. I also have a love for cover art and liner notes that goes back to my childhood.

Anna Myer/beheard.world
Grant Award: $7,500
Our collaborative of nine dancers, three poets and two filmmakers want to create and perform a piece where “belonging” and “othering” intersect, opening a window into underlying parts of tribalism and bias that keep us divided. The multi-media performance piece will feature five local storytellers who have experienced being “othered.” Focusing on racism, gender bias, immigration prejudice and LGBTQ issues, the storytellers will include an African American man, a trans woman, a gay White man, Black woman, and an Asian immigrant—all who personally have firsthand experience with these challenges. Each person will be filmed for several minutes telling their story about being othered. At the performance, all six will be projected as video “strips” on a large 20’x20’ portable screen. One by one their image will be illuminated more brightly as their story is broadcast. Dancers will choreograph and perform solos or duets to the six stories. Then choreographer Anna Myer will build on the solos and duets with interlacing and partnering the whole troupe, iconizing belonging. There will be two performances. The first two performances will be at the Dance Complex. A week later the third performance will take place on the basketball court at Morgan Park, converted to an open-air theater which we have successfully done many times in Cambridge and other communities to allow for a larger and mixed audience. We intend to precede the outside performance with free refreshments in the spirit of breaking bread together.

New England Film Orchestra
Grant Award: $7,500
We are requesting funds for our Black History Month concert in February at First Church in Cambridge. The program includes works from past and living composers and includes presentation on the lives and works of these composers, and how this music has influenced American orchestral music today.

Nailah Randall – Bellinger
Grant Award: $7,500
Who We Say We Are is a choreographic, multimedia town hall on citizenship that centers the question: “How do we create an authentic community that mirrors our aspiration to be a more inclusive and equitable place to live? And how do artists, and specifically dancers, lead the way. After an impactful performance of the Harvard-commissioned work Initiation– In Love Solidarity followed by discussion at the Multicultural Arts Center in the Spring of 2022, Cambridge Arts Council has invited the company to be artists-in-residence with the City of Cambridge which entails commissioning support of this new work and a platform to be presented in multiple formats around Cambridge in the spring of 2023.This project will also bring attention to and amplify the work that the City is doing through the Cambridge Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative (CAEII), addressing the need to create an environment that reflects the values of anti-racism, equity and inclusion within the City of Cambridge.

Cambridge Arts: Grants: $81,000 In Organizational Investment Grants Awarded To 9 Cambridge Nonprofits

$81,000 In Organizational Investment Grants Awarded To 9 Cambridge Nonprofits

Nine Cambridge cultural organizations have been awarded $81,000 in Organizational Investment Grants by Cambridge Arts and the City of Cambridge. The funding program provides $9,000 grants to each nonprofit to support operational costs, sustainability, and resiliency for local cultural organizations that benefit Cambridge residents.

This year’s recipients are:
• Cambridge Children's Chorus, a division of Boston City Singers
• Cambridge Community Television
• Central Square Theater
• Community Art Center
• The Dance Complex
• Innovators for Purpose
• Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre
• Maud Morgan Arts
• Multicultural Arts Center
(Full organization descriptions see below.)

This is the third year Cambridge Arts has awarded Organizational Investment Grants, which began as part of Cambridge Arts’ covid relief efforts. Rather than funding individual cultural projects, like most Cambridge Arts grants, our Organizational Investment Grants offer our largest financial grants to local organizations to support their ongoing, overall good work. Creating this category just for organizations also helps individual artists by creating more funding opportunities for them in our other grant categories—because of less competition there with substantial organizations.

Overall Cambridge Arts and the City are distributing grants totaling $266,143 to 53 artists and cultural organizations this year through three funding opportunities that Cambridge Arts offered last fall—including Art for Social Justice Grants, Local Cultural Council Grants, and Organizational Investment Grants.

Each year, the City of Cambridge contributes substantial funding to support local artists, cultural workers, and arts organizations through the Cambridge Arts Grant Program. This support is coupled with funding received through the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s statewide Local Cultural Council Program.

Cambridge Arts’ Organizational Investment Grants are awarded on an annual cycle, with the due date to apply usually in mid-October of each year.


Nine Cambridge cultural organizations have been awarded $81,000 in Organizational Investment Grants by Cambridge Arts and the City of Cambridge. The funding program provides $9,000 grants to each nonprofit to support operational costs, sustainability, and resiliency for local cultural organizations that benefit Cambridge residents.

Cambridge Children's Chorus, a division of Boston City Singers
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Our mission is to provide the highest level of musical training and wide-ranging performance opportunities to those aged 4-18, regardless of means, inspiring personal development, celebrating diversity, and fostering goodwill. Our vision is to transform lives, one voice at a time, developing each heart to live with compassion in a world of differences.

Cambridge Community Television
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Cambridge Community Television nurtures a strong, equitable and diverse community by providing tools and training to foster free speech, civic engagement, and creative expression while connecting people to collaboratively produce media that is responsive, relevant, and effective in a fast-changing technological environment. CCTV's studio is in the heart of Central square and we serve the entire city of Cambridge. Most recently we have begun to "pop op" with media trainings and creative placemaking in different parts of Cambridge. We are increasing our organizational collaborations to support this goal of a deeper and broader reach. CCTV will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2023. CCTV’s membership is primarily lower income; members vary in age and ethnicity. Of those who choose to self-identify, approximately 26 percent are African American, 10 percent Asian, 10 percent Latino, and 2 percent of other ethnic backgrounds, with the remainder white. Our members range in age from 12 to more than 90 years of age.

Central Square Theater
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Central Square Theater (CST) is dedicated to the exploration of social justice, science, and sexual politics through theater. Through award-winning productions, the Catalyst Collaborative@ MIT Science Theater Initiative, and youth development programming – CST creates theater where points of view are heard, perspective shifts, and change can happen. Found in 2008, Central Square Theater, the oldest female-led theater organization in Greater Boston, is now one organization upholding the values and theatrical excellence of its origin companies, Underground Railway Theater and The Nora. Under the leadership of Executive Director Catherine Carr Kelly, Artistic Director Lee Mikeska Gardner, Director of Community and Education Initiatives Kortney Adams, and its Board of Directors, CST is an innovator in the nonprofit arts field in collaborative leadership. The model will be expanded, and a national search is currently underway for a Co-Artistic Director to join Gardner in a collaborative quad leadership model. Central Square Theater engages over 35,000 people annually through live performance, rigorous youth education, and community programs with the majority (40%) coming from Cambridge and Central Square neighborhoods. The CST full time and part-time core staff is 40% BIPOC. Annually, CST employs up to 150 artists, educators, and front-of-house staff. The CST board is 42% people of color, and we are aggressively rebalancing by gender and age.

Community Art Center, Inc.
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Founded in 1937, the Community Art Center (CAC) is a neighborhood institution committed to our mission: to cultivate an engaged community of youth whose powerful artistic voices transform their lives, their neighborhoods, and their worlds. We believe in the power of young people. We believe in the power of artistic expression. We believe in taking care of ourselves and each other. We believe in creating positive change in our neighborhood & beyond. Art is the mechanism we use; but we do much more than arts education. We provide social and emotional support, the presence of trusted adults, transportation, and up to three healthy full meals daily. The CAC began in a basement at Newtowne Court, functioning as the community center for Newtowne Court and Washington Elms, two of the oldest public housing developments in the United States. In 1999, the CAC moved into a space across the street from Newtowne Court, and still serves many residents of the Newtowne Court, Washington Elms, and other public housing developments in and around the Port neighborhood. CAC began as a grass-roots organization and remains that way over 80 years later. Our programs are effective because of our constant and consistent communication with our community. These conversations allow us to tailor our programming to support the specific needs of our children and families. One alumnus said "The Arts Center is like the family that never left the neighborhood. It's like coming home."

The Dance Complex
Grant Award: $9,000.00
The Dance Complex enables the creation, study & performance of dance of all kinds, from all cultures. We sustain artists, audiences & the community through programs that connect movement, ideas & personal histories. We encourage the wonder & curiosity of dance for all. Our unique programming engages all who want to dance. We offer classes, performances & professional development opportunities in a safe, inclusive environment especially for those with disabilities, the movement impaired, the LBGTQ communities, elders & inter-generational groupings, the business & arts sectors, immigrant families, & those who have been marginalized due to race or income. The Dance Complex operates with an artist-centric administration & a financial system that supports artists-as-entrepreneurs offers subsidized studio rental rates & ensures low class fees to the public.

Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre
Grant Award: $9,000.00
José Mateo Ballet Theatre (JMBT) is Eastern Massachusetts’s 2nd largest dance organization, serving people throughout Greater Boston. Cuban-born, Artistic Director/choreographer, José Mateo founded the company in 1986 with a vision to increase accessibility to ballet, reach nontraditional participants and engage a diverse population of students, audiences, and artists. JMBT has forged a new model for a ballet organization through innovative programming, artistic excellence, and extensive community outreach. JMBT’s mission is to: Create new ballets of excellence that are stimulating and culturally relevant to diverse audiences Create an innovative approach to ballet training that welcomes diversity and ensures unanimous participation and achievement by all students Create sustainable, inclusive, and engaging outreach programs that make ballet accessible to participants of all racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds Reposition the role of dance in our culture and expand its purpose in the education of youth and enrichment of community locally and beyond.

Innovators for Purpose
Grant Award: $9,000
Innovators for Purpose is a Cambridge-based nonprofit that inspires high-potential diverse young people, 2 Innovators for Purpose, especially those from untapped populations (people of color, girls, children from first-generation immigrants, and low-income families), to discover their passions, develop innovative mindsets and acquire marketable skills. Using a hands-on multidisciplinary approach that integrates art, design, and humanities with STEM, we have reimagined how to engage today’s learners. In collaboration with mentors, students work on real projects learning how to navigate ambiguity, communicate across disciplines and create unique solutions that delight clients and end-users. Through our learning experiences, iFp unlocks young people's potential empowering them to drive their own communities forward. Founded in March 2014, iFp instituted its first program at Fletcher Maynard Academy located in Cambridge’s most economically challenged area. Using iFp’s design process, students examined the question “How Might We be Part of a Changing Neighborhood?” Since then, our programming has empowered students to move beyond asking that question to actively participate in the change. Over the past 8.5 years, we have worked with over 500 hundred students and 50+ collaborators. We invest deeply in building long-term relationships with students and their families to ensure access to opportunities, networks, resources, and support necessary to change student lives.

Maud Morgan Arts
Grant Award: $9,000.00
Maud Morgan Arts sprang from the vision of two forward-looking women, Wendy Prellwitz and Terry DeLancey, in 1992. They recognized the need for an art center in Cambridge for children, families, and professional artists. The 19th century carriage house standing behind the (formerly known as) Agassiz Baldwin Community with its expansive yard and overarching trees became this opportunity. The proposed art center was named in honor of Maud Morgan a neighborhood resident and noted artist. Maud Morgan was an artist of great talent and vitality who gave generously to younger generations and her community. Her spirit continues to guide the art center. In 1999 the city of Cambridge issued a zoning permit to ABC to operate an arts center at 20 Sacramento Street. The capital campaign was launched and eventually raised $1.2M of the $1.4M goal. Contributions came from foundations, institutions, families, community leaders, neighbors, artists, and friends of Maud Morgan. An unanticipated legal challenge delayed construction until the fall of 2010. At that point, the capital campaign reached its goal, the permit to build was issued, and construction began. In 2010 Maud Morgan Arts opened its doors and students of all ages enrolled in classes and workshops. Programs have continued to evolve, and the pandemic challenged us deeply, but also provided us with opportunities to adjust our program structures to better meet the needs of the community.

Multicultural Arts Center
Grant Award: $9,000.00
The Multicultural Art Center is a non-profit corporation founded in 1978 as an arts center focused on helping diverse populations better understand one another. In 1985 we moved into our home at 41 Second Street in East Cambridge. Since our founding, we have worked to bring the arts to the people of Cambridge, to provide opportunities for artists of diverse backgrounds, particularly artists of color, and to be a standard-bearer of the arts in our community. Our mission is to present multicultural visual and performing arts programs to educate the community about diversity, and to make our facility available to artists or groups that might not otherwise have access to a professionally equipped facility or the cultural mainstream.