Easthampton Cultural Council

The Easthampton Cultural Council (ECC) is a City Committee and operates in partnership with Easthampton City Arts. Its primary function is overseeing Massachusetts Cultural Council grant allocations and the resulting projects/events. As the grant management is a distinct process regulated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the ECC operates under State guidelines and requires its own chair, secretary, and treasurer. The goals of ECC and ECA are in close alignment - providing tools, resources, and financial support for artists that specifically utilize art as a platform to engage the broader community. By working together through project coordination, marketing efforts, and networking events, we support a diverse range of projects that engage our greater community, and in turn serve to further strengthen the community at large.

Mission & Goals

The mission of the Easthampton Cultural Council is to distribute funds made available through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This funding supports innovative and diverse cultural programs and activities dedicated to enhancing and guaranteeing public access to the arts and humanities within the community.

The goal of the Easthampton Cultural Council is to raise awareness and provide outreach regarding the grant process and to encourage individuals, groups, and organizations to apply for funding of cultural activities that benefit and enrich the citizens of Easthampton.

A Unique History

The Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program was established in 1982 and was overseen by the Massachusetts Arts Lottery Council until 1990. It then merged with the Massachusetts Council on Arts and Humanities to form the Mass Cultural Council. Easthampton was one of the original participating municipalities when the LCC program was founded and it operated independently until 2011. At that time, Easthampton City Arts and the Easthampton Cultural Council recognized their shared visions and goals and after a lengthy and engaged community process, the ECC became a sub-committee of ECA, as approved by City Council. In 2015, the City Ordinance was updated in accordance with MCC requirements that LCC’s consist of “volunteers who are appointed by the community’s chief appointing authority” by becoming its own City Committee that was intrinsically and formally linked to Easthampton City Arts. This unique and effective partnership serves as a model for LCC’s statewide.

An Ecosystem of Support

The Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences annually. Administered by 2,400 municipally appointed volunteers, the LCC network consists of 329 councils serving all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. Each year, local councils award more than $3 million in grants to more than 5,000 cultural programs statewide. These include school field trips, afterschool programs, concerts, festivals, lectures, theater, dance, music, and film. LCC projects take place in schools, community centers, libraries, elder care facilities, town halls, parks, and wherever communities come together.

ECA and MCC share core beliefs and values: To invest in our cultural life is to invest in our shared future.

Funding your next community arts project

One of the MCC’s key initiatives is their funding program. MCC receives an annual appropriation of monies from the state Legislature, funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and other government funding sources. In turn, MCC makes thousands of grants “available directly to non-profit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and individuals artists, through funding programs that use arts, science, and the humanities to build strong, diverse, livable communities.” As part of the LCC network, it is a core function of the Easthampton Cultural Council to publicize a request for applications, and to thoughtfully assess each one to determine the most effective allocation of these grant monies in our community. Projects must be specific, well-defined, and benefit the community.

From the State Council, to the Local Council, to You

The Easthampton Cultural Council is part of the statewide LCC network, which consists of 329 councils serving all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. Each year, local councils award more than $3 million in grants to thousands of cultural programs statewide. It is a core function of the Easthampton Cultural Council to publicize a request for applications, and to thoughtfully assess each one to determine the most effective allocation of these grant monies in our community. Projects must be specific, well-defined, and benefit the community.

Shared Representation, Independent Oversight

The Easthampton Cultural Council strives to assess grant applications judiciously and thoughtfully, forming a curatorial selection committee of local community members and at least one member of the ECA Coordinating Committee. The ECA Coordinator serves as the Treasurer for the Easthampton Cultural Council; however, to preserve impartiality, the Coordinator does not vote in committee decisions. Additionally, ECA is responsible for the broader public programming that many of the grant funded projects participate in or otherwise tap into. By working together, with our shared vision and goals, we become more than the sum of our parts.

How can I participate?

ECA and ECC host an annual Grants Workshop in September, which is an information session for prospective grant applicants, as well as networking opportunities throughout the year. The deadline to apply for project grant funding is in October, with awardees notified in December or January and an orientation session at the end of January. From there, funded projects roll out throughout the calendar year. Those interested in applying for grant funding for their projects should review MCC’s guidelines here: http://www.mass-culture.org/lcc_public.aspx

ECC committee members hold 2-year terms, and may stay for 3 terms (6yrs) total and after a one-year break may re-apply, provided there is an open seat. Members of the public are welcome to attend ECC meetings, and if interested, may submit their written membership candidacy to the Mayor when there are openings to join.

It’s Working in Easthampton

The Massachusetts Local Cultural Council program represents the largest grassroots taxpayer funded cultural network in the nation. Exemplary funded projects are eligible to be nominated for further recognition by the Massachusetts Cultural Council for Gold Star Awards. Easthampton projects which have received the Gold Star Award are Bear Fest (2009), Art in the Orchard (2011), REACH (2013), and Unbuttoned (2015).

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What has ECA sparked in you?