Editor’s Note: The Cultural Council’s new grant period began on September 1, and closes on Sunday, October 15
The members of the Bedford Cultural Council (BCC) would like to thank each of the 145 respondents to our 2019 Community Input Survey. One main takeaway: We learned from the survey results was that there are some people who do not know about the BCC.
The Bedford Cultural Council is one of 329 Local Cultural Councils in Massachusetts funded by the Mass Cultural Council, a central state agency. Local Cultural Councils form the most extensive system of public support for community cultural programs in the country and collectively fund thousands of cultural activities in all 351 cities and towns in the state.
The mission of the Mass Cultural Council is to promote excellence, education, diversity, and inclusion in the arts, humanities, and sciences to foster a rich cultural life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the vitality of our communities and economy. The Mass Cultural Council distributes funds to local and regional cultural councils, who then re-grant funds to arts, humanities, and interpretive science projects in their own communities.
Applicants may apply to the LCC Program for projects, operating support, ticket subsidy programs, artist residencies, fellowships or other activities, based on local priorities and needs.
BCC members are volunteers from Bedford appointed by the Selectmen. They are responsible for reviewing and recommending action on local grant applications. Grant funding comes from the Mass Cultural Council, a generous amount from the Town of Bedford, and BCC donations and fundraising activities.
Some of the responses to our survey showed us that our community has a wealth of great ideas for programming, events, exhibit spaces, and other initiatives. Although the BCC can fund its own cultural project, it has not pursued this option frequently. The Minuteman Statue at Veteran’s Memorial Park was funded by the BCC in 1999.
One respondent noted they would love to see “multi-generational beautification of the town (and not ONLY town center)…” Did you know the BCC granted money to the Arts and Culture Working group to help fund the Utility Box Art Project located at the corner of South Road and Railroad Avenue?
Another mentioned showing support for local journalism like The Bedford Citizen. They have applied for and were awarded multiple grants in the past, including for BeTC (the Bedford Town Calendar).
A third suggested collaborating with the Library on programming. If you attended the excellent Magic by Scott Jameson event at the Bedford Free Public Library, you were watching a show that received funding from the BCC.
We saw suggestions for community band shells, pop up art spaces, food festivals, increases in programs for children and those with special needs. All of these are excellent, worthy endeavors. The Arts and Culture Working Group has a calendar identifying upcoming cultural events in town. Check it out at www.bedfordma.gov/planning/pages/bedford-cultural-events.
So how can you see some of your ideas come to fruition?
First, as a group, the BCC will be parsing some of the data as a result of the survey and making that information available to the various groups in town who may benefit from that knowledge. We encourage them to consider submitting grant applications to us during the grant cycle that runs from September 1st – October 15th, 2019.
What else can you do?
Do you feel like you belong to an organization or group in town that could use some funding for a program? Apply for a grant through us. Do you know of an individual who is unfamiliar with the BCC but has a wonderful idea? Urge them to apply for a grant. Are you an individual who would love to have your own idea funded in some way? Apply for a grant with us.
Where do I go to apply if I am ready now?
Head over to https://www.mass-culture.org/Bedford to review the guidelines for grant applications, council priorities, and contact information. While the grant application window opened on September 1, there is no reason you can’t start thinking about it now. Have more questions? Contact us at [email protected].
“…Culture is a dynamic force for enriching communities, growing the economy, increasing accessibility, and fostering individual creativity.”
— Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director
For reminders about the grant cycle, stay tuned to this space and check in with our social media outlets on Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks again to everyone who responded and took the time to read this!