Cultural Committee seeks Adams Arts Grant

WESTFIELD – It was an eventful gathering for the city of Westfield’s Cultural Committee last night, as ten of the group’s current members were present at South Middle School to congratulate new members and to discuss the future of the organization.
Presiding over the event was Chairman James Homan, who congratulated the group’s three latest inductees, Anthony Ridley, Kathryn Graybill and Peg Considine. Ridley and Graybill were active in the arts community in Odessa, Texas, prior to coming to Westfield, while Considine is an art teacher at South Middle School.
While the meeting’s agenda included a discussion on Homan’s recent trip to the New England Foundation for the Arts Creative Communities Exchange in Portland, Maine, where he represented Westfield’s arts community along with Bob Plasse, president of Westfield on Weekends, and Chris Lindquist of the Westfield Athenaeum, the main topic of discussion was the Council’s recent application for an Adams Arts Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
According to the Mass Cultural Council’s website, Adams Arts Program Grants are issued to community cultural organizations that “support projects that revitalize communities, create jobs, grow creative industries, and increase engagement in cultural activities by Massachusetts residents and visitors.”
Since the program’s 2005 launch, the Adams Arts Program has invested $9.4 million in more than 100 projects statewide which have involved almost 1,000 nonprofit organizations, businesses, and local governments. According to the Mass Cultural Council, Adams-funded projects have subsequently raised more than $27 million in matching funds over the past eight years; meaning over $38 million has been invested in the creative economy of Massachusetts as a direct or indirect result of MCC funding.
“Westfield is on the brink of a proverbial verge,” said Homan, referencing the cultural arts renaissance taking place in the Whip City. “We just don’t know what that will be yet.”
He went on to praise the group’s efforts, specifically those of Graybill for her work on the actual grant writing.
Though the council requested a relatively small amount of $6,000 they hope to get approved by the MCC soon, though the current sequester going on in Washington may have an impact.
Homan believes that the group’s request will lead to bigger and bigger grants down the line, referencing the National Endowment for the Arts’ recent grant of $50,000 which was given to the town of Brattleboro, Vermont’s arts council last year, and was subsequently matched by local donors.
Assuming the Cultural Council is awarded the Adams Grant, the WCC hopes to develop a new tourism website for the city of Westfield, highlighting the city’s rich history, architecture and arts community.
“Tourism is the number one economic driver in the world today, the second largest in the United States and the third largest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Homan said, “Why Westfield isn’t focusing on this is rather curious to us, because of all the natural treasures they (the city of Westfield) have in their chest.”

To Top