Cultural Sector ARPA Grant Programs

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

The City of Lowell is pleased to announce three new American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) programs designed to support the City’s Cultural Sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The programs, underpinned by nearly $1 million, will focus on three key areas: Cultural Organizations, Public Art, and Non-Profit Festivals and Events. 

Cultural Organization Recovery Program ($300,000 allocated)

Open to 501(c)3 organizations or organizations with a designated fiscal agent. This program is designed to help Lowell’s cultural organizations with audience retention and building, partnership building, and community engagement. Organizations must have been in operation on or before January 1, 2022. 

Applications will open June 1, 2023 and close on September 1, 2023 at 5pm. Applicants can expect a decision in late September 2023. To be eligible for funding, organizations must be either based in Lowell, MA or applying for funds for programming in Lowell. 

 City of Lowell Public Art Program ($300,000 allocated)

Open to non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, and individuals. This program aims to stimulate a sense of community pride and improve the quality of life for Lowell residents. Projects must meet all City of Lowell Public Art Guidelines, and a formal public art application must be submitted. 

Applications will open on March 29, 2023 and close on August 25, 2023 at 5pm. Applicants can expect a decision in mid-September 2023. All projects must be completed by December 2024. To be eligible for funding, the project must be installed or take place in Lowell, MA.

Cultural Festivals and Events Program ($200,000 allocated)

Open to 501(c)3 organizations, non-profit organizations, and volunteer-led groups. This program is intended to provide a first or next step in recovery, and continue and enhance the successful return of cultural festivals and events in 2023. Priority will be given to festivals and events that can demonstrate a plan for sustainability beyond the end of the program. 

Applications will open March 29, 2023 and close on June 1, 2023 at 5pm. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and in order of festival/event dates. For example, events occurring in April/May will be reviewed prior to events occurring in June/July. To be eligible for funding, the festival or event must be occurring in Lowell, MA.  


All applicants will be required to upload a detailed budget. Applicants can opt to use the provided template, or their own.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I apply, am I guaranteed to receive a grant? 

Applicants are not guaranteed to receive funding. 

If I am approved, will I receive the full amount of my request?   

Approved applicants are not guaranteed to receive the full amount of their request. 

When will you send out approval/denial notifications? 

Approval and denial notifications will be sent out via email to the address provided in the application. 

How many grants will be approved per project? 

Each program is different in both allocation and intention. These estimates are subject to change based on community interest, content of proposals, and funding requests.

Cultural Organization Recovery Program we anticipate funding 10 applicants. 

City of Lowell Public Art Program we anticipate funding 15 applicants. 

Cultural Festivals and Events Program we anticipate funding 15 applicants.

These approximations are subject to change.

How will applications be scored? 

Applications will be evaluated by a review panel of representatives from both the City of Lowell and community organizations. The review panel will be using rubrics to score each grant. Click to download. 

Cultural Organization Recovery Program Rubric

City of Lowell Public Art Program Rubric

Cultural Festivals and Events Program Rubric

If I am approved, will I receive the full amount I request? 

Not necessarily. Applications will be given a ranking and split into 4 sections- 100% funded, 75% funded, 50% funded, and 25% funded. The ranking is based on the scoring rubric.

How are granted funds received?

The City of Lowell and the applicant will enter into a Grant Agreement. The applicant will receive payments based when they invoice the City, and include a packet of deliverables. These deliverables will be specific to each grant program. 

Grantees will receive their grant payments via check in the mail.

Are Religious Organizations eligible for Cultural ARPA Grants? 

Religious organizations or groups with a religious affiliation are eligible to apply for funding for cultural programming that is available to the general public. We can only approve applications that are primarily cultural in their intent and do not have the effect of advancing religion.


On April 4, 2023, a webinar was hosted to give a brief overview of available Cultural Sector ARPA Grants. You can download the recording here. 

You can also view the slide deck here.

Contact Us

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the Office of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (CASE) with questions and/or need for assistance: (978) 674-4260 or 

Office hours are available by appointment for those who have further questions about the application and grant process. Prior to office hours, please be sure to review the application for the program you are interested in.  You can sign up for office hours here.

 As an alternative to applying online, paper applications are available at CASE’s office at City Hall, 375 Merrimack Street, room 7. 

More ARPA Grant Programs

For more information regarding other ARPA Grant Programs available, visit the City of Lowell’s ARPA Grant Opportunities page.