Cultural Council awards grants

SOUTHWICK – The town received its annual state funds for cultural programs this week.
Representative Nicholas A. Boldyga, Senator Michael Knapik, and Susan Kochanski, Chairperson of the Southwick Cultural Council (SCC), have announced the award of 10 grants totaling $4,856 for cultural programs in Southwick.
The SCC is part of a network of 329 local cultural councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under the umbrella of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).  The MCC is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year.  The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to community-based cultural councils.
“I’m pleased to announce that Southwick has received a number of grants for arts and humanities programs,” Representative Boldyga said.  “MCC grants help to ensure that cultural resources in Southwick and across the Commonwealth are accessible to residents.”
Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of town-appointed volunteers.  The members of the Southwick Cultural Council are Susan Kochanski, Pat McMahon, Karen Deyo, Laura Zides-Lucier, Barb Gunn, Jennifer Bruno, Joyce Bannish, Marcia Capuano, Joan Perkins-Smith, Lisa Pentz and Ellen Miles.
“It’s the local volunteers who really make this system work,” said Knapik.  “They make limited resources go as far as possible, and they make the tough decisions about which projects should be supported.  Thanks to them, the arts, sciences and humanities are part of people’s everyday lives in every community across the Commonwealth.”
“The Southwick Cultural Council is pleased to be able to support requests from local organizations,” said Chair Susan Kochanski.  “We try to award grants in a manner that supports all segments of the population from senior citizens to students and young children.  These are very tough decisions and each year we hope the funding will increase a little so we can fund additional grant requests.”
Cultural Council member Pat McMahon said without the state grants, there would be no program in Southwick.
“We get $1,500 in the budget from the town so to support that we have the state grant money,” said McMahon. “We are able to provide programs for adults and children of all ages – without that grant we couldn’t do that.”
McMahon said the amount of the grant has “been holding its own” over the years. To help provide more programs, the SCC implemented a sponsorship program for local businesses.
“For $25 a year they get their business card in all of our programs and posters,” McMahon said. “It’s a good way to get their business out there and a lot of people do try to patronize them and it’s nice to get that support from local business.”
Statewide, more than $2.34 million will be distributed by local cultural councils in 2013.  Grants will support an enormous range of grassroots activities:  concerts, exhibitions, radio and video productions, field trips for schoolchildren, after-school youth programs, writing workshops, historical preservation efforts, lectures, First Night celebrations, nature and science education programs for families and town festivals.
The Southwick Cultural Council will seek applications again in the fall.  Information and forms are available online at www.massculturalcouncil.org. Applications are available in October of each year.
The 2013 grants for Southwick include:

In the Wee Small Hours Cabaret Concert
– Mary Jo Maichack, national award-winning singer/storyteller will present a new program to Southwick and sing from the Great American songbook accompanied by a pianist.  The repertoire, which was sung by Sinatra, Garland, and Bennett, was composed by some of the greatest American lyricists and composers.  Adults, seniors and teenagers are encouraged to attend.  The concert will take place on Tuesday, March 19 at the Southwick Public Library at 7 pm.

The Day the School Went Wild
– Songwriter/guitarist Jay Mankita will present an educational, musical, multi-media highly participatory musical assembly concert with a focus on wildlife and nature.  The concert will take place at the Woodland Elementary School on February 28, 2013.

To Life!  Celebrations in story, song and music –
Storyteller/Musician John Porcino will either perform and/or host a workshop to share stories and songs that tickle life’s funny bone and touch the heart.  The production will be scheduled sometime during the calendar year of 2013.

Grill’n Daze, BBQ and Chili Cook-off Challenge
– The Southwick Rotary Club will host a competition for the best barbecue and chili.  This community-based event is family oriented.  The grant will be used to provide music at the July 21 competition.

Carnival Music Program
– The Southwick Firemen’s Association, Inc. hosts an annual Firemen’s Carnival. The grant will be used to provide music during the July event.

Teen Watercolor Painting
– This project will allow teens to interact with and learn from Denise Griffin, a local experienced artist.  Art provides a creative outlet and is a way for teens to express their feelings, ideas and dreams in a healthy and productive way.  The program will be held at the Southwick Public Library in the summer of 2013.

Painting With Wool
– A traditional felt-making workshop presented by Sue McFarland, fiber artist, is geared to children entering grades 4-6 and other students entering grades 7-12.  The workshops will take place during the Suntime Reading program at the Southwick Public Library.

Peter Struzziero’s Star Wars
– Peter Struzziero, dressed as a Star Wars Jedi Knight, will present a history lesson, character ID game, a costume contest, and a trivia game at a 90-minute family program targeted at an audience ages 5 and up.   The program is intended to promote an interest in theater and role-playing, use of imagination and fun.  The program will be scheduled at the Southwick Public Library the week of July 29.

Springfield Symphony Orchestra
– A cultural field trip to the Springfield Symphony Hall is scheduled in March for students from grade 4, Woodland School, for the purpose of introducing the students to musical performing arts.

K. Street Saxophone Quartet Concert
– Cliff White, Jon Weeks, Adam Scotera, and Bob Dvorak have been studying music for over 40 years.  The ensemble spans many different styles and nationalities of music in a wide array of styles from European classical including Mozart, Beethoven, Schuman, Bach and Brahms as well as arrangements from the idioms of ragtime, Dixieland, and swing to contemporary pop from Henry Mancini, the Beatles, and soul from James Brown.  The ensemble will perform at the Southwick Cultural Council’s art show scheduled for May 4 and 5.

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