This week, the Marblehead Cultural Council has 21 applications to look at from individuals, organizations, and groups that represent the best projects that cover the arts, culture, history, and science in Marblehead and surrounding towns. The record high number of applications is due to the aftermath of COVID-19.
“Artists are hurting!” said Anthony Silva, chairperson for the Marblehead Cultural Council.
“Artists have lost their audiences; they’ve lost their exhibit time. There exhibits, because museums closed, and they are still recovering. Long, long recovering. This kind of funding is very important,” he added.
This year, the cultural council has around $27,000 in funding request projects and only $7,800 to meet the growing demand.
“In the future, we are looking to add a possibility of our own fundraiser, the state urges us to meet this increased challenge, increase request. Not immediately but in the future,” said Silva.
The Marblehead Cultural Council offers fundamental grass root incubator funding for community members with great ideas, being the largest all-volunteer grassroots, cultural funding project in the country. “Most grants are in hundreds not thousands, so it’s real grassroots,” said Silva.
According to Silva, “Businesses are still recovering and the creative economy of Massachusetts, which is so important because it brings people to community, brings people to small towns.”
“To take that one step further, the state is encouraging local councils, to work hard, harder than they have to find the underserved populations in the community that they council, help in the cultural council,” said Silva.
The all-volunteer council emphasizes new emergent established artists, local venues, and culturally and racially diverse programming with a preference for art, historical, and environmental education, community events, and public performances in Marblehead.
Those who receive the funding are not to be dependent on annual funding, “we are not a funding facility for an event every year,” said Silva.
“We’ll fund the first year, maybe the second, maybe the third but over a number of years that funding cannot be dependent on. We want those funds to fund new ideas,” added Silva.
over the years, the cultural council has funded $3,000 for the “Great Thinkers” exhibit by artist Jonathan Sherman, $1,500 for the Marblehead Charter School’s new mural, “You Are Loved”, $1,000 grant for “Growing up in the Shipyard”, a current exhibit at the Marblehead Museum.
The cultural council is also funding sources for the indigenous peoples day event.
One of the challenges the Marblehead Cultural Council has is telling its own story, what they do and what they represent. “People will say, I had no idea you existed.”
Along with the challenge of being acknowledged by the community, the Marblehead Cultural Council also has the challenge that all projects must be accessible for the disabled by state law. “That a real challenge for us,” asserted Silva.