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Cultural Grants Up 6% in Fitchburg

January 12, 2019 GMT

FITCHBURG -- A 6 percent funding increase for the Cultural Council will allow it to give $34,000 worth of grants to arts, humanities, and science projects throughout the city, said Chairman Joe Bowen.

Fifty-two projects will receive funding, which is 11 percent higher than the previous grant season, he said. There were 69 applications and more than $100,000 in requested funds.

“There was more of a variety in projects proposed this year,” Bowen said. “We encouraged people to apply and that work paid off.”

Several new events and programs that received funding include a LGBT pride event in July, a caterpillar lab at the library, and a brochure about memorials and monuments on Main Street by the Historical Society, he said.

Among the events that received grants last year are the city’s Civic Days celebrations, the Blacksmith Festival, the summer concert series at Coggshall Park, Bowen said.


Applications for the projects were open in the fall and reviewed between November and December. The council reviewed them in two rounds, he said.

Factors members took into account included how the projects aligned with the council’s goals, how popular previously funded events were, and how a new project could offer something new for the community.

The council is able to fund more projects because the state Legislature allocated additional money to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the agency that distributes money to local councils like Fitchburg’s, Bowen said.

During the previous grant season, the council gave out about $26,000 for 46 projects. They received between $150 and $950 each, according to the Mass Cultural Council.

Among projects that received grants were Fitchburg’s Civic Days, summer Concerts on the Common, and Project SOAR’s creation of a 64-foot long paper airplane that attempted to break a world record.

This is the second year that the council is participating in a Mass Cultural Council pilot program that issues grant money up front rather than through reimbursement.

The process makes it easier for applicants so they don’t have to worry about raising funds to host an event or program and wait for reimbursement, Bowen said.

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