The Arlington Cultural Council (ACC) receives an annual allotment of grant monies from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) to distribute locally. Applications are due by October 15, determinations made in December for projects beginning in January. For 2015, ACC awarded $12,500 to 19 artists and organizations.

 The Council asked its nineteen 2015 grantees “What was the impetus for your grant project?” Here are their often surprising responses, with links to upcoming events.

2015 grantee poster

Belmont World Film’s Family Film Festival (January 16, 2015)

“In today’s world where electronics enable people to watch movies alone at home or in their cars, the Belmont Festival offers parents and children an alternative to the standard Hollywood fare typically found at the multiplex. It creates the opportunity for people to have a shared experience where they can laugh or be sad together and perhaps connect with one another at a most basic level. This year’s line-up, shown at the Regent Theatre in January, included stories about adventure, self-reliance and acceptance, the environment, multiculturalism, gender equality, love of animals, creativity and imagination, and the magic of books and reading.
“Of particular interest was the film I AM ELEVEN, a documentary featuring interviews with a world-wide selection of eleven-year-olds about their lives – daily activities, feelings on a variety of subjects, including hopes and dreams. Prior to the film, all the eleven-year-olds in the audience were invited to assemble on stage, where they received a rousing round of applause. It is such a pivotal age, and it was so interesting to see the amount of variation at this stage in life. Many people felt that the film was really important in showing kids that there are other ways of life besides their own.”

– Ellen Gitelman

ATown Teen Video Contest (March 6, 2015)

Arlingtonian business owners Eric Segal and Leland Stein noticed on YouTube that teens were embracing video story-telling and creating high quality films. Thus was born “’ATown Teen Video Contest (ATVC),’ to give budding teen filmmakers a chance to see their films on the big screen.”

ATVC is a collaboration of Eric (President, Data Collaborative, Inc.) and Leland (Co-owner, Regent Theatre), who then recruited Norm McLeod (Executive Director, Arlington Community Media) and Linda Shoemaker (Executive Director, Arlington Center for the Arts) to make it happen.

“The project drew from teen film producers who plan on making filmmaking a career, and those who just enjoy the creativity and fun of the media.” The sponsors judged the films to be “of remarkable quality, with story lines that are creative, funny, scary and entertaining. ATVC, with its contest, screening event and prizes, is a way to give back to Arlington from organizations that are vested in Arlington.”

– Eric Segal


Creek River String Band (Lawrence “Stroker” Rogovin)

March 28, Old Schwamb Mill, 1:30pm; May 30, Spy Pond Park, Time TBD.


True Story Theater (Christopher Ellis) with Sustainable Arlington  – “Stories of Caring for the Earth”

April 6, 7:30-8:45pm, FREE at Robbins Library, 700 Mass. Ave., Arlington.


“Meeting of Generations: Arlington Youth Perform Jazz for Seniors” (Dan Fox)

April 11, 7:30-9pm, 27 Maple Street, Arlington. FREE to the Public.


Dallin Art Museum  “Hardy School Family ArtVenture at the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum

April 19, 12-4pm, Open to Hardy School Community, Dallin Art Museum, 611 Mass. Ave., Arlington.

“Over the course of his 44-year residence in Arlington, Cyrus Dallin dedicated much of his time and talent to make our town the vibrant community it is today. Dallin bestowed some of his most masterful public art on Arlington, and he and his wife Vittoria Colonna played key roles in the development of many local institutions including Robbins Library, Symmes Hospital, and Arlington Friends of the Drama. Arlington also has the unique distinction of being the place where, in his home studio on Oakland Avenue, Dallin conceived the monumental masterpieces that grace some of our nation’s greaest cities.
The Cyrus Dallin Art Museum is dedicated to furthering Dallin’s vision of Arlington as a community with a lively and sustaining cultural environment. We are committed to providing Arlington residents with more opportunities to deepen their connection to Dallin’s art through engaging programs and events. The Dallin Museum’s Family ArtVenture program will give children a foundation for a lifelong love of art and an appreciation of Cyrus Dallin’s extraordinary life, values and his commitment to Arlington.”

– Heather Leavall.


Arlington Center for the Arts (ACA) – “Images of Arlington: #myArlington”

April 20-May 15, Gibbs Gallery, ACA, Gibbs Center, 41 Foster Street, Arlington

“Started 11 years ago, Arlington Center for the Arts’ ‘Images of Arlington’ exhibit has featured thousands of works by hundreds of local artists. Already in motion, this year’s annual exhibit is going in a new direction. In keeping with today’s social media and electronic interactions, this year’s “#myArlington” is a crowd-curated, community photography project. The new focus is a way to present many more voices and visions of Arlington. Collecting photos of life in Arlington, from now until March 16, the public is invited to submit photos of favorite Arlington scenes – daily haunts, personal landmarks, local characters, etc. ACA will post all submitted photos in an online gallery from which the public can then crowd-curate the exhibit by ‘liking’ their favorite images. The 50-100 images with the most votes will become part of a physical exhibition at ACA.”

– Sarah Buyer


“A Chance to Dress” (Alice Bouvrie)

World Premiere, April 29 – Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Alfond Auditorium, 7pm; tickets on sale starting March 19.;

“It has taken 76-year-old Professor Emeritus John Southard most of his lifetime to gather the courage to ‘out’ himself. Finally, after nearly 40 years of easy collegiality, he identified himself as a cross-dresser to his M.I.T. colleagues, friends and family. It was as though he threw off heavy chains and re-claimed a side of himself that he had been reluctant and ashamed to show. His consuming desire is to be finally accepted as a ‘full person’ in the department as well as in society. This exuberant ‘outing’ is reflected, in part, by his efforts to reach out as an educator and counselor to other closeted students and faculty. So far, his efforts have been met with mixed reactions of unease, curiosity, indifference or avoidance.

“On another level, this is also a film about acceptance in relationship and family; about the way in which alternative lifestyles have the power to force family members and friends to redefine their relationship with John as well as their ideas about gender representation and presentation. As a heterosexual, John’s desire to dress gives the marriage to his wife Jean a complexity and humor that will help audiences understand and feel more comfortable with the nuances of gender as well as the impact that alternative lifestyles have on relationships.

“The goal in making this documentary is to inspire people to think more openly and broadly about gender, to put a human face on issues and the complexities of unusual relationships which often make people feel uncomfortable, and to show cross-dressers in the mainstream of contemporary life – confronting challenges in the face of a reluctant society and unyielding institutions. In profiling a substantial member of society who cannot be dismissed as marginal, the film brings understanding to the complexity of cross-dressing. This is a story about a member of our society who is a teacher, who can enlighten us about the history of the earth, and who, through his own embodied self that unconventionally embraces both female and male characteristics, has much to teach us about what it means to be human.”

– Alice Bouvrie


“From Kids to Seniors and Back Again” – May date and locationTBD

“Imagine a 7-year-old child coming to understanding that each day we live, the things that happen to us become stories. And those stories are made by our own efforts in such a way that we become the heroes of our own lives. Next picture an 80-year-old person who has a lifetime full of funny and heartwarming stories waiting to be told, if only she had a group of listeners.” Enter “From Kids to Seniors and Back Again,” “a magical program in which a circle of seniors tell their stories to a group of wide-eyed, smiling and laughing children. With each word, the distance between adults and kids becomes smaller. The synergy that happens is nothing short of magical, leaving the kids happy and the senior vibrating with life force.”

– John Porcino


Sharing a New Song – Chorus (Louise Grasmere)

Early May, First Parish Unitarian Universalist, 630 Mass. Ave., Arlington


Arlington Public Art – “Elemental – Art Rocks Spy Pond Park”

May 10-31, Spy Pond Park, Pond Lane, East Arlington


Art. Food. Community – “400 Bowls 3,000 Meals Arlington EATS Community Dinner and Fundraiser”

(Eileeen deRosas and Melody Wolfe)

May 16, Time TBD, Thompson School, 60 N. Union St., Arlington


The Marble Collection – “Spring into Art”

May 17, time 3-5pm, U. Mass. Boston, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Dorchester

“The Marble Collection is a nonprofit publisher of “Massachusetts High School Magazine of the Arts.”

Their project ‘Spring into Art’ celebrates teen artists, writers, poets, photographers, and musicians who are featured in their award-winning online and print magazine.

“‘Being published in TMC has influenced me to share my work with others, because clearly someone out there is intrigued by it. To other writers, if you think no one will enjoy your story, the best advice one can give is to share it and embrace the feedback you receive. TMC’s editing processes helped me see the ways my stories can be interpreted and helped me become more enthused by others commentary. -Ariana Orne, Burlington High School, Class of 2015

“Spring into Art’s Honorary Committee member, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, is among the outstanding leaders and community members dedicated to arts education in Massachusetts, and to the mission and vision of The Marble Collection. Teens, their families and friends, educators, and members of the community at large are welcome to attend the event on. Educators, and teens 18 and under receive free admission, with one complimentary ticket for a parent or guardian.”

– Deanna Elliott


Creek River String Band (Lawrence “Stroker” Rogovin)

May 30, Spy Pond Park, Time TBD.


ART Hunt (Karen Dillon) June date TBD

I Am Arlington (Nilou Moochhala) June date TBD


Legendary Locals of Arlington (Barbara Goodman/Marjorie Howard)

128-page book. June date TBD (no website listed)


Folk Arts Center of N.E. – “Family Folk Dance at Robbins Farm Park”

July date TBD, Robbins Farm Park, 61 Eastern Ave, Arlington

“Participatory folk dancing, with its rich history in New England, is an exhilarating recreational and cultural activity for all ages.  When parents dance with their children, and others of all ages dance together, they gain trust in each other, an appreciation of diverse cultural traditions, and a sense of physical well-being. To promote the joy and healthful benefits of folk dancing to a new generation of children and their parents, the Folk Arts Center of New England is presenting a free Family Folk Dance at Robbins Farm Park in Arlington on a weekend afternoon in July. Building on the success of a trial family dance held in summer 2014 at the same location, this year’s Family Folk Dance will be again be held beside the park’s playground, with its spectacular view of Boston. This lovely location is a great venue for listening to traditional live music, and seeing how folk dancing makes everyone smile.

“A professional band, playing traditional folk instruments, will perform the unique and beautiful dance music of many cultures from Europe, England, and America. Leader Marcie Van Cleave, an internationally experienced teacher, is well known for generating a contagious sense of fun that captivates children and adults alike, producing peals of laughter all around.”

– Diana Arezzo


Philharmonic Society of Arlington – “Outdoor Summer Concert at Robbins Farm Park”

August 1, 6pm

“A member of the Friends of Robbins Farm Park first emailed me in the spring of 2014, to say that the Friends of Robbins Farm Park has for a long time wished to add classical music to its summer performance series, which already included jazz and popular music. Since I am an Arlington resident and a parent of two small kids, I thought an outdoor concert at Robbins Farm Park was a great way to introduce a new audience to classical music. Around the time of the concert last year, we were doing some Facebook publicity; a Facebook user [now member of ACC] saw it, shared our post, then encouraged us to apply for an ACC grant. Since I’m a writer, and enjoy writing grant proposals, I volunteered and here we are.” Attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic supper “to hear live classical music with the Boston skyline” as a backdrop.

– Chandreyee Das


“Two to Tango” (Actors Richard W. Clark and Lynne M. Lydick)

June 22, 1pm, Arlington Senior Center, 27 Maple St., Arlington

“A 2-person play, ‘Two to Tango’ was created with senior audiences in mind. The scenes encompass the tragic and comedic aspects of relationships that are both broken and bonded at the same time.  From the ‘long view’ of life that seniors have, the gritty stuff of relationships will be familiar.  We hope that the theatrical experience will also render it transcendent.”

– Julie Frederickson.


N.B. All dates, times and venues valid as of 3/10/15; subject to change. Public should check websites.

Mission: The Arlington Cultural Council is committed to funding a diverse cross-section of activities that support a broad variety of art forms, ongoing work of individual artists, projects serving specific local populations, and local cultural organizations. Meetings are held once a month and are open to the public. Members of the Council are volunteers appointed by the Arlington Board of Selectmen for up to two consecutive three-year terms. They consist of artists, arts administrators and other community members with an interest in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences.

Arlington Cultural Council links: