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Live Arts Boston 2020 Guidelines

Below are detailed guidelines for prospective applicants in the 2020 cycle of LAB. Please read this information carefully before beginning your application. 

  • All proposals must be for a single, distinct artistic event or a clearly connected series of events.
  • All projects must center upon the creation, presentation or production of new work (i.e., original or interpretive work that has not previously been presented to a general audience).
  • Applicants must make their projects available to Greater Boston audiences through some form of public performance or presentation between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. The work need not be finished in its final form: public performances can include staged readings, open rehearsals, works-in-progress showings, etc.
  • All artists contributing to the project must be paid, including the applicant where applicable.
  • Each person or Organization may only serve as the primary applicant on one 2020 LAB application. However, you or your organization may collaborate or participate on other 2020 LAB applicants' projects.
  • Grant funds may be used to support any aspect of the project except fundraising. Please see the FAQ for further details about project expenses.
  • Applicants may apply for support to tour their new work. However, the project must also be shared with Greater Boston audiences during the grant year.
  • TBF will provide grantees with videography for one presentation of grant-funded work. Applicants who advance to Round Two may choose to include budget for additional documentation in their applications.

Live Arts Boston does not support:

  • Work primarily focused on teaching artistry.
  • Work that is primarily focused on community creation. Projects where community engagement is part of the artist’s/artists’ practice for developing new work ARE eligible.
  • Re-mountings of works that have already premiered in the Greater Boston area.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Prior LAB grantees are eligible to re-apply in 2020, with the exception of those who have received funding for three consecutive years. Beginning in 2021, grantees who receive LAB funding two years in a row will be required to take a year off before re-applying. For example, a grantee who received funding in 2019 and 2020 would not be eligible to apply in 2021.

For Individuals:

To be eligible to apply for LAB, you:

  • Must be an artist or arts professional, i.e., someone who has devoted significant time and training to build a career creating, interpreting, presenting or producing works of art.
  • Must reside full-time and make work within the Boston Foundation’s catchment area, defined here.
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Can be early, mid-career, or established, but must have had at least a one-year history of creating and/or presenting professional-level work outside of an academic context.
  • Must not currently be enrolled full-time in college or university as an undergraduate or graduate student.

For Groups of Artists:

The Boston Foundation welcomes LAB applications from Groups of Artists and collaborators. A “collaborator” is a co-owner of a project and provides creative input.

Groups and collaborators should apply jointly and submit a single application. It is NOT required that all collaborators or group members meet the eligibility requirements listed above for artists; however, the primary applicant must meet ALL eligibility requirements for Individuals.

Note: Unless funds are directed to a fiscal sponsor, one collaborator or group member will ultimately need to serve as the “primary applicant” and, if the project is funded, will be the person who directly receives payment and is responsible for any applicable taxes.

For Organizations:

To be eligible to apply for LAB, organizational applicants must:

  • Have a primary mission focused on arts and culture.
  • Be a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in the State of Massachusetts.
  • Have a business address within the Boston Foundation’s catchment area, defined here.
  • Have had an annual operating budget of $250,000 or less during the organization’s most recently completed fiscal year.
  • NOT have received funding through another TBF grant program within the last calendar year.

Groups or collaborations that do not meet one or more of these criteria are welcome to apply but should apply as Groups of Artists (per above), and not as Organizations.

Application and Review Process

Number of Grants:

We anticipate funding at least 60 projects in 2020. As in prior years, we expect a highly competitive pool of applicants. In 2018 we received 361 applications and awarded 65 grants; in 2019, we received 269 requests and funded 61.

Review Process:

All applications are reviewed by national and regional artist and arts administrators with expertise in the philanthropic or performing arts fields. After the first review, all applicants are notified of their status and those invited to continue to the second round prepare their expanded materials, including a project budget, and submit for consideration to a second group of reviewers. This second group is comprised primarily of representatives of the local performing arts community, including prior LAB grantees and other artists. TBF staff work to ensure that both groups of reviewers reflect the diversity of Greater Boston and include people with familiarity in a wide range of performing arts disciplines.


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 Sd6apks11AL5Qh2mUQ2anGlLGTC2iCS1Dazrt0aaZxg7lG973uNA5H9LcB5WSPoiCJ05MDS5YpLPtLAv3/rhYvpYD6NTHU7ufXptpAcqdfdbQc9CFm2D+V51NtSHUxi3. Please allow 2-3 business days for a response.