An occasional column about town activities by Tara Hughes
July 31, 2023. Did you know that the town of Winchester has a Cultural Council which exists to give out grant money? The council is a group of volunteers appointed by the Select Board which awards grant money provided yearly to Winchester through the Massachusetts Cultural Council to support the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences. It has been in existence for 42 years.
The Council grants money to local individuals and groups who have submitted a grant application and whose work would support the artistic and cultural life of the town. In 2023, the Council awarded $22,500, the largest total giving in its history, for 17 projects by 15 separate individuals and organizations.
Some of the grant-funded projects and events include the Utility Box Program, the Chinese New Year celebration (1/22/23), the Jenks Winter Saturday Concert Series (February and March 2023), Kids Art (Spring/Summer 2023 at the Winchester Public Library), Photoville (June through September) and Concerts on the Common (8/2023).
The Council is currently accepting applications for its new Micro-Grant Program ($50-$300). Applications are accepted year round on a rolling basis and subject to funding availability. Decisions are usually made within 4 weeks and funded projects must still benefit the public.
The Council has also started the Wedgemere Station Kiosk, a low-cost pilot project that may result in others being placed elsewhere in town. The kiosk is a video monitor in the window of the former coffee shop at Wedgemere Station which displays announcements and information about Winchester. Organizations and individuals are welcome to submit an electronic flier, non-commercial in nature, of general interest for posting on the video display. There is no charge for the display and fliers should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in joining the Council, it is in need of new members for the coming year. The Council meets monthly, gives cultural grants annually (and micro-grants more often) and provides opportunities to enrich our town through the arts and culture. To apply, send a letter stating your interest to the Select Board at Town Hall.
To learn more go to www.winchesterculturalcouncil.org.
Tara Hughes is the president of Winchester News Group and a precinct 1 town meeting member.