LAB 2023 banner image

Live Arts Boston


Banner: Circus 617/Gathering the Threads, November 2022
Photo by Full Bloom Photography

Live Arts Boston returns, with a new approach!

In partnership with The Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation is pleased to announce the return of Live Arts Boston, with more than $1 million in grants and professional support available for performing artists, creators, and cultural practitioners in the Boston area, and a particular commitment to highlight and uplift BIPOC and immigrant artists.

After a pause in 2023, we are excited to relaunch the program – newly adapted to incorporate feedback from participants to date, the impact of the pandemic on the arts community, and deepening commitments by both foundations to center racial equity in their work.

In the past, LAB focused on project-based support, for new proposals only, with the expected outcome of a final presentation. The new LAB model will support artists at any stage of their creative process.

What is LAB?

  • LAB will support a diverse cohort of 30 artists and creators at different points in their careers with individual grants of $30,000 to nurture their creative practice and artistry and, for some grantees, to also present new and/or existing work.
  • Rooted in core principles of artistic risk-taking, creative discomfort, and centering personal and professional development through well-being, trainings and support will be organized into four different themes:
    • Personal Growth, Health and Wellness
    • Mentorship and Planned Accountability
    • The Business of Creativity (Professional Development)
    • and Creative Works and Progress (Constructive Feedback)
  • Over the course of the 18-month grant period, grantees commit to participate in at least 70 percent of the seminars and sessions, shaping peer-to-peer learning to deeply connect, empower, and encourage their fellow artists to advance their work, practice, and relationships.
  • Grantees will be able to expand their networks across disciplines, as well as meet industry leaders to generate opportunities for work, learning and collaboration.
  • Please note: To ensure that reviewers can provide full and thoughtful consideration to each application there will be two rounds of applications. The first round will be to check eligibility and for program goals, with completed applications moving to round two. If an applicant does not align with LAB program goals, the individual will be redirected to other local grant opportunities as well as have the opportunity to hear feedback about their application.

In keeping with the missions of both the Barr Foundation and The Boston Foundation, we emphasize advocating for meaningful change and partnership with community leaders to address historic and systemic inequities. The pursuit of equity demands us to understand and appreciate diverse communities, and to work to allocate resources and momentum as needed to create equal opportunities for all community members.

COVID-19 made a challenging road even more so for Greater Boston artists, creators, cultural practitioners, and presenting organizations, with few able to give their creative work the time and attention it deserves, or to shake off the old trope of “starving artist.” LAB believes the work of artists and creatives is vital for thriving communities. Designed with artists at the center, LAB is an investment in the time and space for them to ideate, learn, connect, collaborate, take risks, and create – so that they too can thrive.

If you have any questions, please contact

In partnership with:

Barr Foundation logo

 Key Information:

Application period opens:
December 11, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Application period closes:
January 12, 2024 at 4:59 p.m. ET

Round 1 Review: March 2024

Round 2 Review: April 2024

Award notifications: Late May 2024

Cohort begins: July 2024 

Check your eligibility:

If you are considering applying for the Live Arts Boston grant, please read the LAB Eligibility Quiz below and verify your eligibility prior to beginning your application in Smart Simple.  The eligibility quiz must be completed in the SmartSimple application platform before you can begin your Round One application.

PLEASE NOTE: You are only able to take the eligibility quiz in Smart Simple once prior to beginning your Round One application.

 Office Hours and Info Sessions:

Virtual Information Session:
This session provides important details and context around the new version of LAB and the application process.

Watch the video
Read the transcript
Access the slides

LAB Office Hours:

Office Hours FAQ and Scheduling

LAB Office Hours are for applicants to meet with members of the Boston Foundation Arts & Creativity team to discuss any questions around your LAB Application.

Questions can be around your narrative, what to include, and anything else that may come to mind. Please note that although we are holding office hours and can answer questions as well as assist you in crafting your application, we cannot provide answers.

LAB by the numbers


projects funded since 2017

$5.4 million

invested directly in local artists


2022 projects led by artists of color

Meet the past LAB artists