Live Arts Boston 2020: FAQ


Live Arts Boston gives priority to:

  • Projects with clear artistic intention, creativity, and strength of concept
  • Projects with high potential for artistic and career growth and visibility of Greater Boston area artists
  • Projects led by and uplifting the artistry and voices of people of color, indigenous people, immigrants, and new Americans
  • Projects centered on art forms that have had less representation, visibility, and support in Greater Boston
  • Timely and compelling projects

LAB welcomes applications from artists who have not previously applied for or received a grant to support their work. Over 25% of LAB grantees have been first-time grant applicants. Many artists report that the describing their work in a grant application is useful, even if it is challenging and even if they don’t get the grant the first time they apply.

If you have previously applied with a particular project and not received a LAB grant, you may apply with that same project again provided it is still considered “new work” (see program guidelines).

LAB grants do not support stand-alone media, visual or film projects. Each of these areas may be components of a project, but the majority of the work must align with the following disciplines: dance, theater, music, opera/musical theater, spoken word, performance art, circus arts, traditional and folk performing arts, and any combination of these.

A requirement of the LAB program is that core artistic members of the project must be professional artists over the age of 18. We define a professional artist as someone who has devoted significant time and training to build a career creating, interpreting, presenting, and/or producing works of art. An individual or group comprised of professional artists may perform for younger audiences, and youth can be included in grant-funded performances (for example, in the case of a children’s choir taking part in a larger production). However, projects primarily focused on teaching arts and/or youth work are not eligible for LAB funding.

LAB funds the creation of new, original works of art. Projects or performances that are predominately tributes or covers of another artist’s work are ineligible for funding. Re-mountings of works that have already premiered in the Greater Boston area are also ineligible to receive a grant.

A requirement of the LAB program (and of the Boston Foundation in general) is that grant recipients live in one of the towns and cities listed within our geographic catchment area.

Applicants are welcome to apply for grant support for projects involving artists who live outside our catchment area. The only requirement is that the primary applicant live within this area.

Application Process

For individual artists, this is yourself!

For Groups of Artists, the primary applicant is the person who would receive funding if a grant were awarded, and the person who will be the primary point of contact throughout the application process. In lieu of an individual receiving funds, your group may also choose to work with a fiscal sponsor. (See more on fiscal sponsorship below.)

For Organizations, you will provide your Organization's name. Funding, if received, will be directed toward that entity.

The Boston Foundation welcomes LAB applications from unincorporated groups of artists, like a band or ensemble, or an artistic collaboration that isn’t formally organized as a nonprofit.

Only non-profit performing arts organizations with annual budgets of under $250,000 may apply. Groups of Artists who do not fit that definition are welcome to apply (see above), but should not apply as Organizations. See program guidelines for more information about eligibility.

Yes! Many artists operate as LLCs. However, the primary focus of your company must be on the making and/or presenting/producing of performing arts work in order to receive a grant.

For bands and other groups or artistic collaborations, the core artistic members are the co-owners of your project and provide creative input. Core members are not people hired to provide a service to the project, such as set-designers, camera operators, lighting designers, etc.

In your application, the legal address is the one you use to file your taxes, and the one we will need to have on file. For applicants who receive LAB grants, this legal address will be the one we use to send your grant check to you. It should not be a temporary mailing address, or a post office box number, unless the latter is the one you use on your tax forms.

For a full timeline of the LAB 2020 application cycle, please see our main page. Applicants will be notified whether they are advancing to Round 2 of the application process in mid-March 2020. The application deadline for Round 2 submissions is April 13, 2020, at 5 PM. Round 2 applicants will receive notification as to whether they have received a grant in late May 2020.

Our primary means of being in touch with you will be via email. Please make sure the email address you put on the application is the one at which you would like to be reached throughout the process, and keep an eye out for emails from /i7l9VzwIRvh3TFMiwHBG3R4TrAlB6yA2Ky6j3XIBpsqVN7Ino/kg21PFT6OK8qfTSautGlQQT1CB5//b4KRmUxzC40cdFwECOkq/A2uVClD/hL65s502XBw8Lb+xFov.

Application Content

While the LAB 2020 Round One application does not ask for a budget or project cost, all applicants advancing to Round Two will be asked to provide a project budget and detail anticipated expenses.

All expenses required to make your project are eligible, EXCEPT costs associated with fundraising. Equipment critical to making your art may not make up your entire LAB budget, and is subject to approval.

You do not need to write in academic or scholarly language. Just be as clear as you can be, and provide examples in your statement that help us to understand you and your work. As panelists may not have a deep knowledge of your discipline, write with a general audience in mind.

Work samples are intended to bring your work to life for grant reviewers. The work sample plays a critical role in helping reviewers understand your work and your proposed project. A strong sample will be recent (preferably no more than five years old) and relevant to the proposed project (or to your approach/overall aesthetic). A strong sample will also be clear (for example, reviewers should be able to hear dialogue easily) and well-timed (the cue time should bring us into the action quickly, with no lengthy build-up). Reviewers will be looking at dozens of projects, so make sure every minute of your work sample counts. If you don't have a work sample that documents your proposed project, that’s okay! Please include a sample or samples from previous work that will help panelists become familiar with your artistry. If you are applying on behalf of a Group of Artists, a work sample that depicts your collaborative work is best. If this is not available, consider submitting multiple samples, perhaps one for each of the artists involved.

A good work sample is one where the reviewers can see and hear the work clearly. However, your work samples do not need to be professionally produced. With a little effort, you can create a sample of good quality from your phone.

Video samples are strongly preferred as they best help reviewers understand your work. If they are not available, you may submit audio samples. Please do not submit photographs, press clippings, CVs, or letters of recommendation.

We are looking for samples of live performance or rehearsal. Please do not submit music videos, reels, or marketing or promotional materials. In most cases, one or two longer excerpts of a performance are better than many short snippets or a compilation. In total, you may include no more than three samples, and each one must be no shorter than two minutes. The total time limit for all samples combined is six minutes.

If you are sharing a longer video but want the reviewers to watch a specific part, be sure to choose and clearly indicate the cue times (minutes and seconds) at which reviewers should start and stop watching. Pick times that let the viewer jump right into the action as long lead-ins dilute the impact.

The Boston Foundation does not require that LAB grantees have fiscal sponsorship to receive their awards. However, all grant recipients who are not 501(c)(3) nonprofits, whether as standalone nonprofits or via their fiscal sponsors, may be taxed on the amount awarded. For more information about fiscal sponsorship, please contact the following local and national organizations:

We are happy to address your questions about program guidelines, eligibility, and the application form. However, we are unable to provide specific guidance about the content of individual applications. Due to the volume of requests for information and limited staff capacity, we are only able to respond to email requests for support at XgLnpOCxrUdyK06FQYs3X1HGC39M//AkCoOEERy9FerqyLVYWxyX5O0EEuFs/+JMX/NZmqiXwCbrIA1B3pNK82QWJXiIOaXkosC9D84CLnBWlVHEClop8eJ6Es8VW6ao. Please allow 2-3 business days for a response.