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Local Cultural Councils Award 7,600 Grants for Community-Based Projects

Lisa Simmons, Program Manager

$7.5M in grants for cultural programming will be made in cities and towns across the state

performance still of 4 dancers on a stage wearing traditional Chinese head pieces and colorful jumpsuits. The dancer on the right is doing a curved-back handstand
2024 Chinese New Year Culture Festival in Northampton, an FY24 LCC grant recipient.

Residents and visitors to Massachusetts benefit greatly from the dedicated work facilitated by volunteer municipal appointees who steward Mass Cultural Council’s Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program, the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation. Through their efforts, all Massachusetts communities participate in, and enjoy, thousands of arts and cultural programs ranging from murals to lectures, festivals, and performances across the Commonwealth.

In FY24 the Agency allocated $5.5 million to the state’s 329 LCCs to regrant in every city and town in Massachusetts. So far this year, LCCs have approved more than 7,600 applications, awarding $7.5 million in grants to support local arts and cultural programming. (The total amount granted includes the Agency’s LCC allocations as well as unspent funds from prior LCC cycles, municipal matches, and local LCC fundraising efforts.)

We are grateful to our 2,500 LCC members, who are hardworking advocates for local arts and cultural programs and are committed to the needs of their cultural communities.

Through these LCC grants, new and vibrant cultural programming will be available across the state. Some of these programs include:

  • Alford-Egremont Cultural Council is funding “Legacies,” an exhibition developed by Katunemo and hosted by the Center for Peace through Culture. It will feature images, videos, and narratives of 60 Latina Berkshire residents of differing ages and heritages. The work’s intention is to oppose the systemic underrepresentation in the community and media, which enables respective Latino histories and their investments in the community often invisible to the public.
  • Deerfield Cultural Council is supporting the “Pocumtuck Homelands Festival: A Celebration of Native American Art, Music and Cultures.” Presented by The Nolumbeka Project, the festival will celebrate the history and abundance of Native communities through their cultural expressions, creative arts, storytelling, dance, music, and traditional knowledge sharing.
  • Falmouth Cultural Council is sponsoring “A Wampanoag Cultural Experience: Kids Teaching Kids.” This includes traditional dancing, drumming, corn husk doll-making, storytelling, children’s games, canoe burning, traditional food, and importantly explanations by Wampanoag teachers of the cultural significance of each activity. The children are among the teachers sharing their culture with non-Native kids who live locally or are summer visitors to the Cape.
  • Haverhill Cultural Council is supporting the “Edible Avenue on the Bradford Rail Trail Extension,” a community project sponsored by the Haverhill Garden Club, in partnership with Team Haverhill, and Haverhill’s Brightside with a goal to beautify the newest segment of the Rail Trail with a series of mostly native trees, shrubs, and plants. Educational signage is integral to the project, along with brochures to help visitors, particularly school children, understand the wide variety of edible plants.
  • Holyoke Cultural Council is sponsoring “Fiesta Patronales,” a festival produced by the Holyoke community, the City, and Nueva Esperanza, showcasing Puerto Rican culture through music, food, and dance, reflecting on its integral role in shaping the identity of Holyoke today.
  • Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council is funding “Tales of Now & Zen: An Evening of Stories for Adults,” a live virtual concert by Japanese storyteller, Motoko Dworkin. In partnership with the Vineyard Haven Public Library, Dworkin will combine ancient Asian lore, traditional songs, and personal memoirs to share her journey as an immigrant artist and mother.
  • Nantucket Cultural Council is supporting the Maria Mitchell Association’s Artists in Residence and Visiting Scientist program, which will foster exploration and communication of important ideas through visual art, up-cycling, education, and conservation. Dr. Rich Blundell’s workshops on Nantucket Island serve as a unique natural laboratory, integrating science, environment, and artistic endeavors.
  • Northampton Arts Council is sponsoring a new STEAM-mobile and pop-up STEAM Reading Room to bring STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) to our community. This will include a range of books that highlight women and scientists of color so children can see themselves in text. Accompanied by a STEAM-mobile, offering free activities that integrate math and art and science.
  • Waltham Cultural Council is supporting Africano Waltham’s year-long dance and performance series where youth will be trained in drumming, xylophone playing, and dancing. This will result in a showcase featuring their performances within the community and on stage.
  • Worcester Cultural Council is funding the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester’s “Mural: Food is Common Ground,” a project in collaboration with the organization Main IDEA. The mural will be housed in the club’s Harrington Clubhouse cafeteria and designed by club members, ages 11-18. Alongside a professional artist, the club members will give their youth input and start painting after-school this Spring, accompanied by a debut documentary for the grand opening event.

What Projects Did My LCC Fund?

See what each Local Cultural Council funded this year by visiting their council profile on Mass Cultural Council’s web site.

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