Saturday, September 10, 2011

Beverly Cultural Council calls for Creative Grant Applications


Gail Eaton, Chair of the BCC,
hopes for many proposals.
By Rachel Bell
Gordon College News Service
September 7, 2011
(This story appeared September 12, 2011, in The Boston Globe, Beverly.)

Beverly, MA—When Lucas Spivey, 27, left Seattle eleven months ago, it was to become the new exhibitions manager at Montserrat College of Art. Arriving in Beverly, however, he found a thriving arts community, jumped in and as a result, recently began a three-year term on the Beverly Cultural Council (BCC).

“I joined (the BCC) as an independent gallery owner,” he said, “to add youth and a different line of experience to the committee.”

This month Spivey will join nine other committee members in sorting through grant applications from local artistic and cultural groups. Last year, one of the grant allocations went to the galleries that Spivey now manages. In 2010, Montserrat received BCC funding for its Frame 301 gallery as well as a $600 grant for an exhibition entitled, “What Happens When Artists Look at War.” This month the gallery’s current exhibition follows a similar theme and is called “For the Record; Searching for Objectivity in Global Conflict.” This and other Montserrat exhibits, galleries and workshops are also receiving support from the state-run Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), the same agency that funds the BCC.

MCC “is committed to building a central place for the arts, sciences and humanities in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth,” according to its website. Ayers-Ryal Side and Beverly High are among schools that have benefited from educational fieldtrip grants through the MCC’s Yellow School Bus program. But according to Gail Eaton, 65, the BCC’s current chair, “the MCC sees local cultural councils as their primary means of community support.”

Originally from upstate New York, Eaton is starting her third year in Beverly and her second year on the Council, which has received $8,930 for distribution to Beverly’s artists, cultural events and organizations during 2012. Applications can be found at www.mass-culture.org/Beverly and must be submitted to the committee by October 15th, 2011.

“I would like 500 applications this year,” Eaton said and hopes that an improved application form and a summer survey will help increase local interest. The survey, in which hundreds of Beverly locals ranked their main priorities for the community, put elementary school students on top of the list.

“We are following the dictate of the community,” Eaton said, “because it’s their money.” As an experienced grant writer and researcher, Eaton feels that supporting the arts is essential. “Even in the worst economic times, art is a source of comfort, culture and quality of life. It’s a basic human need.”

Spivey agrees, and says that choosing which projects to fund is about more than the just money.

“All five things on the survey are important,” he said. “There are criteria other than just who we think needs money the most, because everyone needs it.” 

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