Foundation today announced the awardees of its Creative Spark Grant Program. The program is intended to “spark” more connections with and expressions by diverse community voices, as well as support new efforts in amplifying these voices and presence within the creative sector. This program supports both organizations and individuals, making it a unique opportunity for arts and creativity in Worcester.

In its pilot year, this program is just one element of the Foundation's Creative Worcester Initiative, which the Foundation has launched in partnership with the Barr Foundation and its Creative Commonwealth Initiative. Those individuals and organizations receiving funds this year are:

  • Ansaar of Worcester for support of cultural outings for disabled and low-income Arabic-speaking and Somali-speaking refugees to help them better integrate into American life.
  • Crocodile River Music/African Arts in Education for its African Music Series, a concert series that promotes African culture and seeks to engage & celebrate the City's African immigrant/refugee community.
  • Eli Mateo, Musician for his program KidsSTOMP, a summer-long Saturday morning music program in University Park for children to engage in fun, interactive performances and learn about music and community.
  • Future Focus Media Cooperative for support of its Telling Our Stories program, a workshop series for teens from Main South area to learn video production and filmmaking, culminating in screenings at the Central Mass Film Festival.
  • Girls Inc. of Worcester for its indoor mural project inside the Girls, Inc. building, celebrating the organization's mission and designed by girls for the girls and their families who utilize the facility.
  • Mass Leap, Inc. for support of its Youth Spoken Word Leaders Program, aimed to develop teens as both artists and arts organizers through a training program and the presentation of regular youth "Poetry Slam" events.
  • Music Worcester, Inc. for its We Speak The Same Language Program, aimed at building cross-cultural connections, as well as providing financial support for performances and teaching opportunities for Milad Yousufi, an Afghanee refugee and musician who will be a year-long artist-in-residence.
  • SAORI Worcester for Weaving Bridges 2020, a public art display of multiple handwoven banners created by clients at a range of social service agencies to be hung from Elm Park bridges in 2020.
  • Seven Hills Foundation for support of its Creative Movement Dance Program, a creative movement program for adults living with intellectual & developmental disabilities, done in partnership with the Hanover Conservatory.
  • Steven Schwartz, Artist for his Learning Life Skills Thru Magic workshop series, intended for youth participants at several youth-serving agencies to teach respect, creativity and planning through the art of Magic.
  • Worcester Earn A Bike to create a mural that will enhance the courtyard at the Stone Soup Collective, a prominent Main South neighborhood gathering place.