Matt Holloway and Julianne Applegate, co-chairs of the Amherst Cultural Council (ACC), are pleased to announce 73 grants totaling $61,983, for cultural programs in Amherst and the region. Proposals for music and theater events, visual artists, and programs featuring the natural environment were supported.
Grant recipients represent a broad range of organizations and institutions, from Amherst Cinema, Gallery A3, and the Amherst Historical Society to Suzannah Muspratt’s self-guided walking tour of stained glass in Town Center, Salsa con Tacos Latin Dance lessons, and John Root’s Edible Perennial Gardening and Landscaping. The largest single grant went to the Odenong Powwow on Amherst Town Common ($7,000), while events occurring in conjunction with Amherst Regional High School were awarded $6,320. A full listing of all grants can be seen at the Amherst Cultural Council’s home page: https://www.amherstma.gov/1221/Cultural-Council.
State Representative Mindy Domb commented, "I am so proud and delighted by this year's allocations by the Amherst Cultural Council and the diverse and extensive list of recipients who have received funding as a result of their hard work. Once again, these community volunteers, after dedicating many hours, continue to demonstrate the immense value of local cultural council involvement in the review and funding process. I am grateful to the members of the council for their important work. Their decisions benefit individual artists and organizations in our district, and even more importantly, the programs supported by their decisions are especially valuable to residents and our community overall.”
The Amherst Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.
The ACC is also pleased to announce, in conjunction with the Amherst Business Improvement District (BID), a Spring Block Party for Amherst dedicated to arts and culture, tentatively scheduled for May 21, 2023. In addition to awarding grants, each cultural council may also dedicate a percentage of its funding to local cultural activities that respond to cultural needs that are not otherwise being addressed in the community or that support the council’s local priorities. As restrictions due to the COVID pandemic have begun to ease, public gatherings for arts and culture have become more possible. To promote this, ACC has set aside $7,500 to help fund the Spring Block Party and has also sought an additional $2,500 grant through the MCC Festivals and Projects program.
Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. The members of the Cultural Council are Matt Holloway and Julianne Applegate, co-chairs, Leah Neuberger, secretary, Robin Thompson, treasurer, Rachel Wang, Eleanor Walsh, Cody Roony and Christy Gallagher. Angela Mills, Assistant to the Town Manager, is the Council’s liaison to the Town.
Statewide, more than $3.3 million will be distributed by local cultural councils in 2023. Grants will support an enormous range of grass-roots activities: concerts, exhibitions, radio and video productions, field trips for schoolchildren, after-school youth programs, writing workshops, historical preservation efforts, lectures, First Night celebrations, nature and science education programs for families and town festivals. Nearly half of LCC funds support educational activities for young people.
For more information on the program, visit https://massculturalcouncil.org/ A new grant cycle will begin in early September with a deadline for applications in mid-October.