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Ashland Cultural Council Announces 2021 Grantees

Ashland’s CultureFest, an ACC 2020 grantee, was virtual. Viewers can find it on YouTube at bit.ly/3l1YRqW. This image is from the performance of Ashland - Happy Together (1:05:44). (Image/Perpetual Motion Media)

By Cynthia Whitty
The Ashland Cultural Council (ACC) announced in March the award of 12 grants, totaling $7,315, for cultural programs in 2021. ACC Chair Isabel Perez said that, though the grantees’ reception, typically held in the spring, “is up in the air at the moment, we are excited to return to some  sense of normalcy in 2021. The arts are a great way for the community to reconnect.”
The 2021 grantees are:
1. Amazing Things Art Center, Framingham, for “Process”
2. Arts! Ashland Alliance, Inc. for the Dragonfly Festival
3. Culture Fest, Town of Ashland
4. Assabet Valley Master Singers Concert Series
5. Discovery Museum, Acton, MA
6. “Chainsaws, Cheeseburgers and Rock N’Roll-Live” Jesse Green
7. Adventures in LifeLong Learning, Framingham State University
8. Combating Hate and Prejudice, Janet Appllefield
9. Musical Visits for Seniors, “MUSE”
10. Hip Hop Dance Chair Exercise for Seniors, Music Dance, edu
11. “All Together Drumming,” Tim Kane
12. “Stephano,-The True Story of Shakespeare’s Shipwreck, ”Hit and Run History
In 2020, “artists pivoted due to the pandemic,” Perez said. “Since in-person events were not possible, artists reached audiences in more dynamic ways, online and by socially distancing. They did the best they could under the circumstances.”
ACC Chair Perez said this year the committee strove to offer a balance with different age groups, focusing on seniors, families, and student populations. To her new role as ACC chair, she brings a deep arts experience. A self-described craft artist, she comes from a family of crafters, painters, and sewers, “every form of art.”
In the past, ACC has sponsored activities around town, including the Dragonfly Festival, the Mystery Book festival, Friends of the Ashland Public library events, the Ashland High School Robotics club, and items for the Art room at the Warren School and Ashland Middle School.
ACC 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 (MCC), 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: Debbie Bresnick, Donna Bresnick, Amy Caruso, Moala Kitayimbwa, Isabel Perez (Chair), Visi Tilak, and Tonya Yaskovich.
The Council will seek grant applications again in the fall. Guidelines and complete information are available at the ACC website, www.ashlandmass.com/236/Ashland-Cultural-Council.
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