The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) announced that the Medford Arts Council is the recipient of the 2016 Council of the Year Award for its dedication to community arts and culture over the past year.
The Council of the Year Award annually recognizes one outstanding volunteer council out of the 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) across the Commonwealth. These volunteer councils play a crucial role in supporting projects that celebrate diversity, foster collaboration, showcase artistic excellence and provide learning experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds. The award will be presented at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 during the Local Cultural Council Statewide Convening.
In 2015, the Medford Arts Council included eight members: Gary Roberts (chair), Laurel Siegel (treasurer), Anita Tucker (secretary), Bettina Lengsfeld (grant coordinator), Patricia Davis, Jenny Gilbert, Linda Malik, and Allie Fiske Shvonski.
The City of Medford doubled their municipal funding to the Medford Arts Council from $15,000 to $30,000 this past year following tremendous public support. This funding allowed the Medford Arts Council to undertake their first branding effort with the help of a local design firm. They also created their first marketing internship opportunity with Tufts University. They participated in the “Create the Vote” initiative with MASSCreative, and reviewed their funding history and published on their website a comprehensive grantmaking analysis, the “Funding Matters” report.
Last fall, they convened and facilitated the first Arts and Culture Summit in Medford, which brought together more than 70 individuals and community stakeholders, representing more than 40 local organizations, for a collaborative visioning process focused on the arts, humanities, and creative economy.
“The Medford Arts Council has promoted the importance of culture and arts in our community,” said Representative Paul J. Donato. “I am proud to continue to support this important program and participate in this outstanding achievement”.
“Medford has asserted itself as a regional leader in public support for the arts over the past several years,” said Anita Walker, MCC Executive Director. “And the Medford Arts Council has been central to that effort. We are delighted to shine a spotlight on their success in making the arts more broadly accessible to citizens and visitors alike.”
Mayor Stephanie Burke expressed her appreciation at the news. “We are seeing many exciting developments for arts and culture in our city. We’re so proud that the hard work of the Medford Arts Council to help engage the community in thinking about the future is being recognized at this pivotal time.”
LCCs are evaluated and selected by a Massachusetts Cultural Council-appointed panel for the Council of the Year Award. The LCC Program is the largest volunteer-run, grassroots arts funding program in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences annually.
About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The MCC is a state agency supporting the arts, sciences, and humanities, to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. It pursues its mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. MCC’s total budget for this fiscal year is $13.3 million, which includes an $11.8 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. MCC also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.