Georgia Barnhill, chair of the Amherst Cultural Council, is pleased to announce the awarding of 40 grants totaling $45,755, for cultural programs in Amherst and nearby towns. Proposals for music and theater events, visual artists, and programs featuring the natural environment were supported.
The Amherst Cultural Council (ACC) received fifty-three proposals requesting $71,680, fewer than in the recent past, but reflecting the current difficulty that individuals and organizations have in planning future events. Applicants often have had to plan for both virtual and in person activities. Moreover, many of the projects planned for the past year have been postponed to this year.
Grant recipients include; Amherst Ballet for a virtual performance featuring young performing artists, Amherst Cinema to support their virtual cinema programming, Public Art Commission for the restoration of Poetic Dialogue, Gallery A3 for their annual juried exhibition, University of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art for “We Are For Freedoms,” Arcadia Players for their concerts, Isabella Dellolio for a photographic mural at the Senior Center, Clear Creek Collective for a performance at the Ko Festival, and Shoshona King for the celebration of Juneteenth which becomes a state holiday in 2021. Programs for school children include a series of presentations by Youssooupha Sidibe of Leverett on African music. Town residents will be able to enjoy a swing band concert by Jeff Gavioli and his Bad News Jazz and Blues Orchestra and drumming on the Town Common led by Timothy Kane. A complete list of recipients and grant amounts will be posted on the Amherst Cultural Council website.
State Representative Mindy Domb commented, "I'm grateful to the local cultural council members who diligently review proposals and have to make hard decisions on where these resources go. Bravo for their wonderful selections for the coming year which include celebrating the inaugural state holiday of Juneteenth and creating a photo mural for the Amherst Senior Center, as well as funding grantees to ensure their programs are accessible to individuals with disabilities. The arts enrich our community and sustain us through these challenging times, through their efforts and commitment, the volunteer members of the Amherst Cultural Council play an important role in our community's resilience."
In addition to awarding the 40 grants, the ACC is also providing funds to grantees to improve the accessibility of various projects through services such as Sign Interpreting (ASL), Musical Interpreting, Website Accessibility Review, Recorded Verbal Description of Visual Art, and CART (real time closed-captioning).
The ACC is seeking to raise money to fully fund more projects as well as to provide more accessibility support in future years and have created a GoFundMe account to this end. https://www.gofundme.com/f/amherst-cultural-council-arts-and-humanities-fund
The Amherst Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCC) 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.
Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. The members of the Amherst Cultural Council are Gigi Barnhill, chair, Jenny Lind, secretary, Robin Thompson, treasurer, Julianne Applegate, Cole Graber-Mitchell, Matt Holloway, Arthur Pero, Sondra Radosh, and Rachel Wang. Three student members are Nandi Chivende, Sydney Mager, and Leah Neuberger. They are non-voting members of the Council. Cyndi Harbeson, curator of special collections at the Jones Library, is the Council’s liaison to the Town.
Statewide, more than $3.3 million will be distributed by local cultural councils in 2021. 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 Mass-culture.org A new grant cycle will begin in early September with a deadline for applications in mid-October.