Lowell Cultural Council
The Lowell Cultural Council’s (LCC) mission is to promote excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences in order to improve the quality of life for all Lowell residents and to contribute to the economic vitality of this community through the re-granting of public monies awarded to the LCC by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). The Lowell Cultural Council is an agent of the Massachusetts Cultural Council which receives funding from the Massachusetts Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. Distributions are based on a local aid formula devised by the state and are not determined by the individual municipality.
Christian Hernandez, administrator
375 Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852-5983
FY22 Local Priorities
Lowell Cultural Council Priorities for 2021 grants
Lowell Cultural Council grants are reimbursement grants and are open to individual artists, arts organizations, community organizations and municipal agencies. All projects funded by the Lowell Cultural Council must be based in Lowell and must benefit the citizens of Lowell through exhibits, performances, readings, demonstrations, or by other means. The Lowell Cultural Council funds local applicants who live or work in the city. As a rule, the Lowell Cultural Council does not provide funding for general operating support.
The Lowell Cultural Council endeavors to fund artistic and cultural initiatives of individuals and organizations which reflect the rich diversity of Lowell. Part of the LCC?s goal is to support a fertile ground for a vibrant and sustainable arts and culture community, nurturing a city where all cultural traditions and expressions are respected, promoted, and resourced. We look for ways to integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life.
In response to recent community input, the Council’s FY 2022 priorities are:
1. Permanent and temporary public art including murals, city benches, etc.
2. Educational programs for all ages with special emphasis on youth and programs which can be held in/for the Lowell Schools;
3. Performance and visual arts; and
4. Cultural and artistic projects including (but not limited to) the culinary, literary, and experiential arts.
Grants which have these as a focus will be given priority consideration, but we encourage all interested applicants to apply regardless of the project’s focus so long as the request fits the Council’s guidelines. Applications in the culinary arts may not request funding for food, but other needs (equipment, marketing, etc.) can receive support.
FY22 Local Guidelines
Lowell Cultural Council Guidelines for 2021
Because the application process is competitive, it is imperative that applicants familiarize themselves with Council guidelines. Applicants must ensure that they follow the guidelines in the application process and then, if the application is successful, follow the guidelines for publicity and reimbursement.
Applications will be accepted for projects taking place between January 1 and December 31, 2022.
Deadline for receipt of online applications is 11:59pm, Friday, October 15th. Early submission is strongly recommended.
Lowell Cultural Council restrictions:
The Lowell Cultural Council will accept no more than two applications per lead individual or lead organization. For further clarification, please attend one of the online grant workshops. We do not fund semester long residencies in the Lowell Public Schools. (Please apply to the Mass Cultural Council Stars Residencies which are grants to schools to fund this type of project)
� Available funding and high demand for support may result in an award smaller than funds requested. Indicate on the application how this may affect your project. Typically grants are no more than $4,000 while most are less.
� Repeat Funding: In order to encourage new applicants and to ensure the widest distribution of funds, projects may not receive funding for more than three consecutive years. Applicants who received funding for three consecutive years must wait one year for applying again for the same project. However, applicants may receive funding for more than three consecutive years for projects which are conceptually different.
� Incomplete Requirements: Grant recipients who fail to complete grant requirements are ineligible to apply for a new grant for two years.
Electronic applications will be available online at https://massculturalcouncil.org/ on September 1, 2021.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is offering 2022 applicants an online grant writing workshop on Sept 9th on using the new grant system. Applicants can sign up for and access the seminar at https://massculturalcouncil.org/event/lcc-grant-application-walk-through/
For more information on the grant application process, visit https://massculturalcouncil.org/communities/local-cultural-council-program/application-process
The Lowell Cultural Council requires that the following documentation MUST accompany the application:
1. Resumes of all individuals engaged in leadership roles in the project.
2. Written letters of support from partner organizations/individuals.
3. Written letter from venues confirming participation in/acceptance of the project if necessary. Per MCC instructions, this requirement has been withdrawn for 2021 projects.
4. Public art projects must have written permission from owners of property. If Public Art projects are to take place in Historic Districts and/or Lowell National Historical Park, letters of support from the Historic Board and/or Lowell National Historical Park must accompany the application. If the Public Art project is a permanent installation, a maintenance plan must accompany the application. If the Public Art project is a temporary installation, an installation and removal plan must accompany the application.
5. All applications that anticipate gatherings of over 50 people must provide an alternative plan should future pandemic restrictions require modification of the original project.
6. As needed or applicable, projects are required to provide assistive support for the deaf, hard of hearing or blind in addition to meeting ADA requirements for those with physical disabilities. Budgets must include a line item for assistive support. Please note that the Lowell Cultural Council maintains a separate fund for assistive support and will pay providers directly.
Please note that the online application allows a maximum of three pages of PDF attachments for supplemental materials. Additional pages of supplemental materials should be sent to the Council via link to a Dropbox file. This link should be embedded in the supplemental materials (for instructions go to https://www.dropbox.com/help/167 and follow the instructions for creating a shared link)
There are five major areas considered by council members in evaluating each grant application: 1) quality of project, 2) community benefit, 3) budget and funding, 4) planning, and 5) leadership. Each area has a rating scale of one to five for a total of 25 points.
The criteria used to evaluate these areas include:
1. Quality of Project – Is it creative, unique? Does it have a specific focus and is that focus well defined? Is it engaging? Is it collaborative? Will the project enhance the cultural life of the city? Where will the project take place? Are dates and times included?
2. Community Benefit – How well does the project serve the residents of Lowell? What is the audience to be served? Does the project reflect priorities developed from the community input meeting? Is the target audience an underserved population? Is the applicant a Lowell resident, work in Lowell or participating in a work/study project in the city?
3. Budget and Funding Support – Does the budget balance? Does the budget follow guidelines? Is the budget appropriate and clear? Are there other sources of funding or is LCC the sole source of funding? Is the project budget specific? Has this project been funded previously by LCC? Should this project be part of the city budget? If the project is only partially funded, can it be modified and completed successfully? Does the budget include a line item for assistive support for the deaf, hard of hearing, blind or physically disabled?
4. Planning – Are there well-defined goals / targets? Is this a single event or an on-going project? When and where will the project take place? If an on-going project is there a culminating event, activity or product that can act as a benchmark for evaluation? Is it clear that project planning has already taken place? Is the public program portion of this project accessible to individuals with disabilities? Is there a letter of support from the venue if the venue requires it? What are plans for promotion and outreach? Funding is based on a project taking place. Are there contingency plans for weather or pandemic related delays?
5. Leadership – Does the leadership / staff have experience? Do personnel qualifications match the project?s needs? Who is involved in the planning process for the project? (Are specific individuals/organizations and their contributions listed?) Is there evidence of past success in executing a similar project? Is there an alternative plan to respond to future pandemic restrictions?
Timeline for Lowell Cultural Council Grant Cycle
MCC online application goes live September 1st.
Online application due no later than 11:59pm on Friday, October 15th.
Applicant Interview Procedure
The applicant interview has always been an important opportunity for Council members to ask any clarifying questions that they might have regarding your Grant Application. It has traditionally been a live interview and although not mandatory, it has always been strongly recommended that applicants participate. In response to pandemic restrictions, the Lowell Cultural Council has modified the interview process.
Council members will review each grant application. Members will then submit questions they might have regarding your grant to the Chairs. Interviews will be held via phone on Wednesday, October 27th. Applicants will receive a call that evening between the hours of 6:30 PM-8:30 PM. If you are not available, you may respond to questions via email by 11:59 PM on Friday, October 29th. If none of the Council members have questions regarding your grant application you will receive an email letting you know we did not have any questions for you.
Council members are not experts in every field and the questions allow members to fill in their knowledge gaps. While there is no standard set of questions, all questions are based on the application. Questions tend to fall into one of the following categories:
– Asking for information that was missing in the application.
– Clarification about the project description
– Details about the planning process
– Explanation of community benefit
– Strategies for marketing and promotion
– Qualifications of project leaders
– Clarification of budget details
Council members will attempt to keep their questions direct and succinct. We ask you to do the same in your responses. Responding to these questions is strictly voluntary but is strongly recommended.
The Voting Meetings
Once the Council members have had an opportunity to review all applications and responses to questions (if any), they will tentatively score each application. The dates for deliberations and funding will be posted on our Facebook page after the deadline.
Denials and Approvals
– Applicants who are not approved for funding will have 15 days from the date of notification to request reconsideration. Please note, reconsideration can be requested if, and only if, it is believed that the Council did not follow published state and local guidelines in the grant making process.
– Once the reconsideration period has passed and the Lowell Cultural Council has received the allocation for 2022, the Council will send out approval letters to successful applicants.
How Grant Recipients Are Paid
Review Complete LCC Program Guidelines