2017 Annual Report


Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council

2017 Annual Report

Submitted January 5, 2018 by:

Sunanda Sahay, Chair

Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council

P.O. Box 2291

Acton, MA 01720

Phone: 978-263-9495

Email: abccinformation@gmail.com

A. About the Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council

The Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council (ABCC), established in 1982, has as its mission to award and administer Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) Grant funds, to promote the arts, and to help develop cultural programs in the Acton and Boxborough communities. Volunteers are appointed to the Council by the selectmen of each community, but it functions as a single entity undertaking these activities:

    • Review of grant applications from individuals, libraries, schools, and arts and community organizations; and awarding MCC grant funds to projects that provide a local public benefit. The ABCC is one of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) that are funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council through an annual appropriation by the state legislature;

    • Sponsorship of cultural programs for the Acton and Boxborough communities using funds generously designated by Town Meeting of each community. These funds have been used by the ABCC to present jazz, classical, and world music concerts, vocal performances, films, opera, public art installations, encourage diverse culture and more;

    • Advocacy for the arts through community outreach and publicity.

The ABCC’s activities take place from September-June; calendar year 2017 encompasses the second half of FY17 (September-December) and the first half of FY18 (January-June). This Annual Report gives preliminary results of our FY17 Grant Cycle in which we plan to support 40 individuals, schools, libraries and arts organizations using state funds allocated to us by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This report will also highlight the local events, programs and collaborations the ABCC was able to undertake in 2017 thanks to the continued financial support from our Towns.

B. ABCC Members

Voting Members:

Acton: Sunanda Sahay, Linda Mayer, Dawn Wang, Palma Cicchetti, Suman Adisesh, Diana Nestorova, Karen Myers (Appointed Sep 2017).

Boxborough: Nancy Evans, Ramika Shah, Sheila Hanrahan, Sharon Garde

Non-Voting High School youth members--Natalie Dawn, Tal Dassau(joined April 2017)

Sunanda Sahay has been the co-chair since fall 2013 and chair since June 2016. Sheila Hanrahan serves as Secretary. Sunanda has been the Grants Coordinator for FY2017-18. Ramika Shah and Linda Mayer are serving in the roles of Treasurer and Publicity Coordinator respectively, while Beth Davis and Nancy Evans have been the foreign film series coordinators.

Recruitment: We work closely with the Acton and Boxborough Boards of Selectman, Town staff and other Town volunteers on our continued membership efforts. Our Acton membership is currently at the full capacity. We are proud to have high school youth members in our council who are actively and energetically participating in our activities.

C. Mass Cultural Council (State) Funding for FY18:

The ABCC is one of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) through an annual appropriation by the state legislature. Each fall, we are required to distribute this annual allocation through a grant process. We review each application and award monies considering the quality, originality, and creativity; planning, budget, and most importantly, community benefit of each proposed project.

At the beginning of fiscal year 2017-18 the ABCC was allotted $9,300 from the MCC.

It was another competitive grant season. We publicized the availability of grants through emails, posted fliers and press releases in The Beacon and Action Unlimited. Also we provided telephone and email consultation to several applicants. We received 46 applications requesting a total of $30.080 in funding. The number of applicants has been pleasantly consistent since last year and surpassed the last few years. After very difficult and lengthy deliberations the ABCC chose to fund 40 projects that give the greatest benefit to our communities including projects at the public libraries, Recreation Department, High school magazines, the Hip Swayers band at Farmers Market and Nashoba Valley Concert Band Harvest Festival, High School Plays supporting history, cultural festivals and many other activities.

D. Local Funding and Council-Initiated Events

The ABCC was once again generously supported by both Acton and Boxborough town funds via warrant articles and line items. The dedication of the voters, Boards and public officials in both towns is truly remarkable. Acton provided the ABCC, through a Warrant Article, with $2000 while Boxborough provided $1,400 for exclusive use in Boxborough. Few local cultural councils enjoy this level of local support. We are extremely grateful and seek every opportunity to acknowledge the support of our two towns. We are grateful also for the physical support that the two towns provide: meeting spaces, access to the town equipments(screen, Projector etc), etc. We are also thankful for the continued support and active involvement of our liaisons, Boxborough Selectman Susan Bak and Acton Selectman Janet Adachi.

The ABCC sponsored and collaborated on several exciting events in 2017. Details are below.

1. Art In Nature, all 6 elementary Schools from Acton-Boxborough, Sep 24, 2017

ABCC funded the Community art project proposed and initiated by A-B school art teachers at Old Frog Pond Sculpture Park, Harvard, involving all A-B elementary schools where art teachers, parents and kids worked side-by-side with the artist Linda Hoffman to create sculptures from the recycled materials. Over 125 people attended this event and enjoyed working outdoors. Three guided tours were conducted along with three collaborative art stations: mobile making, weaving and print making—everything was made with natural materials collected on site. It was a good fusion of collaborative science and arts.

2. Chinese brush Art, July 19, 2017

ABCC funded a Chinese Artist Ms. Hong Bing Tang to conduct a Chinese brush art workshop at the Acton Memorial Library, which was well received and had a wait list.

3. Ninth annualOur World in Film” International Film Series took place during May 2017

Following 2009’s year-long “Our World” festival of cultures, we have offered an annual international series of acclaimed films for adult audiences. ABCC past members Greg Hutchins and Beth Davis(both from Acton), Todd Davis(Boxborough) coordinated the series with current Boxborough member Nancy Evans, which included Short Documentary films by Mass Filmmakers on April 28th. The films “Pan’s Labyrinth” (Budapest), “Broken Circle Breakdown” (Denmark) and “Incendies” (India). Introductions to each film were provided by various committee members, talk by visiting directors and discussions were led by local residents familiar with the culture shown in the film. The films shown have been donated to both Towns’ libraries for their collections.

4. FY17 Grantee Reception at Sargent Memorial Library, April 7, 2017

The ABCC held its annual Grantee Reception at Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough. This event provides a valuable opportunity for grantees to meet, to publicize their projects and to network with other arts-minded individuals and groups. In addition to our FY17 grantees, our state and local legislators and officials were also invited to attend. Each grantee had a chance to speak briefly to acknowledge supporters and collaborating artists and organizations and to highlight upcoming events. Senator Jamie Eldridge, Rep Jennifer Benson, Acton Selectman Janet Adachi, and Boxborough Selectmen Les Fox and Susan Bak and MCC representative Charlotte Cutter attended.

Performances by 2017 grantees included a group called The Hip Swayers that performs regularly at the Acton Farmers Market, students of ABRHS Proscenium Circus and Acton Community Chorus Chamber Singers. The performances were highly appreciated by all present. All the grantees were invited to speak for two minutes about their projects. This year they were presented with citations from House of Rep courtesy Sen Eldridge and Rep Benson. Todd Davis and Greg Hutchins were presented with special citations for the senate

5. High school Magazine—Window Seat—and Newsletter—Spectrum

To support and encourage writing and journalism among high school students, ABCC has fully funded the High School Literary Magazine “Window Seat” and newsletter “The Spectrum”. ABCC is also proud to support The Robert Creeley Poetry Recital.

6. Hip Swayers at the Farmers Market

We are very pleased to support and sponsor the The Hip Swayers Trio at the Farmers Market, Acton. ABCC hosts at a booth at the Market every year to advertise the grant season and recruit from Acton residents.

7. Fifers Day, Harvest Festival and Farmers’ Market

This year ABCC partially funded and participated for the first time at Fifers day and Boxborough Harvest Festival, making its presence felt and recruiting some new members. As every year ABCC had a booth at Acton Farmers’ Market, meeting and greeting people and getting their feedbacks.

8. Promoting diversity

One of our grantee cultural festivals, the "Essence Of India," which has received prestigious annual Gold Star Award from MCC in the past because of its diversity, outreach, inclusiveness and success in integrating the arts into the community. Gold Star winning projects like these tell the story of how culture contributes to the quality of life in cities and towns across Massachusetts. Our council is also proud to fund the Conant/Douglas Festivals of Cultures which is growing each year with the diverse population in Acton- Boxborough and the booths and performances presented include more and more countries each year.

9. Looking at the Future

While we are exploring various avenues including supporting Open Art Studio throughout both the towns, we have approved partial funding to create China Garden at the Acton Arboretum with the help of our local Chinese community, and CPA.