Power of Culture Blog
56% of these funds were earmarked for artists and other creatives, investing directly into a sector devastated by the pandemic.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
LCCs have the agency to create grant reception programs as they assess their own goals for the event. Some elements to consider including:
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.
In addition to the content above, LCCs can do the following to celebrate and bring visibility to their grantees: