Northern Berkshire arts, cultural groups get $72,000 in grants

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NEW ASHFORD — This year, 83 cultural and arts groups in Northern Berkshire are the recipients of grants totaling more than $72,000 to support cultural programming.

State Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, and Tammara Leminen, chair of the Northern Berkshire Cultural Council, announced the completion of the grant process and the recipients of the money.

Some of the recipients of the largest grants include the Berkshire Summer Jazz Camp ($2,000); North County Chorale ($2,000); Common Folk Artist Collective ($2,000); Nashville in the Berkshires Music Festival ($2,500); ROOTS Teen Center ($3,000); and Arts in Recovery for Youth ($4,000).

A complete list of award recipients, project titles and grant amounts is available at mass-culture.org/CCNB.

The Northern Berkshire Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCC) serving all 351 cities and towns in the commonwealth. Massachusetts' 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 Legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates money to each community.

Hinds served as chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development in 2017-2018, and championed MCC funding in the fiscal year 2019 Senate budget debate. Under his leadership, the MCC appropriation grew to $16 million, which is being invested in local arts and cultural programming statewide.

"It's the local volunteers who really make this system work," Hinds said. "They stretch these resources and invest them in as many projects as possible, and they make the tough decisions about which projects should be supported. Thanks to them, the arts, sciences and humanities are part of our everyday lives in Western Mass."

Statewide, more than $3.3 million will be distributed by Local Cultural Councils in 2019. Grants will support an enormous range of grassroots activities, including concerts, exhibitions, radio and video productions, field trips for schoolchildren and after-school youth programs. Nearly half of LCC money supports educational activities for young people.

The Northern Berkshire Cultural Council will seek applications again this fall. For guidelines and complete information on the Northern Berkshire Cultural Council, contact Leminen at 413-841-9088 or tammaraleminen@yahoo.com. Applications and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available at mass-culture.org. Applications are due Oct. 15.

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