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Home / Blog / Communities / LCCs Celebrate Grantees Virtually

LCCs Celebrate Grantees Virtually

Timothea Pham, Program Officer

a grid of 17 people at a zoom meeting
Zoom screenshot from the Northborough Cultural Council’s recent grantee reception.

Each year, Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) receive an allocation from Mass Cultural Council to grant to cultural projects benefiting their communities. LCCs seek to host grant receptions to publicize the council’s work, advocate for arts and culture locally, and thank municipal officials, legislators, and the communities who make LCC projects possible. As LCCs across the Commonwealth wrap up their grant cycles for this year, one of the questions that have surfaced is: “How do we continue to celebrate our grant recipients during this period of social distancing?”

While LCCs would normally host in-person receptions, Newton Cultural Council and Northborough Cultural Council both celebrated their FY21 grant recipients virtually.

a black silhouette of a man is overlaid a "wall" of dozens of zoom screens, each one showing a singer
Still taken from the Newton Cultural Council’s 2020 grant reception, featuring grant recipient Zamir Chorale.

In 2020 during the height of the pandemic, the Newton Cultural Council (NCC) was able to host their first virtual grant reception where they invited community members, grantees, and city officials to come together for this special occasion. Mayor Ruthanne was present and announced a municipal match for the NCC’s allocation from Mass Cultural Council. Chris Pitts, Co-Chair of the NCC, was also able to produce a video that celebrates each of the grant recipients from the last grant cycle. The NCC is looking forward to hosting another grant reception in the upcoming months.

Northborough Cultural Council member Bich-Ngan Nguyen presents FY21 grant recipients with certificates.

On April 8, 2021, the Northborough Cultural Council hosted a virtual grant reception. They presented information about the Northborough Culture Fest, their year-in-review, and had grant recipients share about their own funded projects. State Senator Jamie Eldridge, State Representative Danielle Gregoire, Selectman Julianne Hirsch, and Mass Cultural Council Program Manager Luis Cotto shared some heart-warming remarks about the local arts and cultural landscape.

Hosting a Virtual Grant Reception

The following has been adapted from the Mass Cultural Council’s LCC Online Tool Kit: Grant Receptions page and serves as a quick guide on how LCCs can highlight grantees in alternative ways:

Before planning an online celebration, we suggest that LCCs reach out to their municipalities to see if they can offer any guidance, resources, and insight into how to do this. An important aspect to consider when planning is accessibility in the virtual space.

Logistics
Previously, one of the significant aspects of producing and hosting a grantee reception would be securing a physical venue. Because in-person gatherings are limited, LCCs can utilize an online platform like Zoom to host receptions. These virtual events can be recorded to publicize for future use.

Invitations
Eye-catching, bold, physical invitations go a long way, but so can online invitations created on sites such as Evite.com and Paperless Post. These sites usually have some great designs that LCCs can choose from.

Consider inviting the following people to your reception:

  • Grant recipients
  • Mayor/Board of Selectmen and other municipal officials
  • State Representatives and State Senators
  • Members of the business community, especially those that have donated materials or money to the LCC
  • Members of the arts community, past grantees, and prospective grantees
  • School Superintendent/Principals, School Committee and PTA members
  • Former LCC members and potential LCC members
  • The LCC’s Mass Cultural Council staff contact

And brainstorm with LCC members to generate a list of others

Press & Publicity
LCCs can create a press release about the event and distribute it to local papers, radio, blogs/websites, or community television. Additionally, utilizing social media and monthly newsletters (if the LCC has them) would be beneficial.

Program
LCCs have the agency to create grant reception programs as they assess their own goals for the event. Some elements to consider including:

  • Introductions (invite a “Keynote Speaker”)
  • Mingling & Ice Breakers
  • Welcoming Remarks (Mayor, Legislators in Attendance)
  • Presentation by LCC and reel of grantees
  • Performances (live or pre-recorded)
  • Community Input Session
  • Q&A, Discussion (Could be an excellent way to get attendees to sign up for an internal mailing list or to recruit new members to the LCC.)

Timeline
Depending on what you want to do as an LCC, planning a reception may take around eight to ten weeks. LCCs can refer to the timeline outline in the Online Toolkit or create their own.

Other Considerations
In addition to the content above, LCCs can do the following to celebrate and bring visibility to their grantees:

  • Social Media: Connect with the grantees to learn more about their work and their specific, funded projects. Those connections can provide LCC members with information to shout out on their social media. Quotes, photos, and videos always get great engagement.
  • Monthly Newsletters: If you have an existing way of communicating monthly to the public, include some grant recipients features or interviews.
  • Local Media Outlets: LCCs can also send press releases to their local media outlets that announce their grantees, award amounts, and project descriptions.
  • Send Your Stories to Us and Others: If you do not have social media and want to spread the word, send over your photos, ideas, and quotes to the Mass Cultural Council’s Community Initiative Team. We may be able to include those in our monthly newsletter and/or Facebook Page.

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