Thursday, July 8, 2021

Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Franklin Cultural Council


The Franklin Cultural Council (FCC) is a grant-making body that allocates funds for projects and programs in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences. The FCC has also chosen to conduct a number of arts-related programs and events throughout the year to support and encourage arts and culture within Franklin.

For FY2020, the FCC again successfully lobbied the Town of Franklin for an increased grant-disbursement budget, to support additional programming within the newly demarcated Franklin Cultural District. This additional funding was combined with state-allocated Mass Cultural Council funds—which also saw an increase—allowing the FCC to award a total of $19,598 in grants supporting 37 arts and cultural events for Franklin residents. 

These programs included many annual favorites such as performances at the schools and Senior Center, and Franklin High School's and the Franklin Food Pantry's Empty Bowls night. In addition, some new programming included a variety of art workshops, field trips for our elementary school students, and a project for the Franklin Bellingham Rail Trail. Separate from the standard MCC 2020 Grant Recipients grant cycle, the FCC also awarded an additional $2,500 in grants for ArtWeek-specific programming, which included concerts, art workshops, a puppet show, and more. A Grantee Reception was held on February 27 at the Franklin Historical Museum to honor all 2020 grantees.
As was the case for everyone across the Commonwealth and indeed the country, the COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on the FCC’s programs and events for the spring of 2020. The Council’s 4th Annual Community Arts Advocacy Day to be presented in early spring with MASSCreative, a statewide arts advocacy organization, and in partnership with Dean College had to be indefinitely postponed. And ArtWeek, a statewide creative festival to be held May 1-10, 2020, was also cancelled. The FCC was to be the community partner for ArtWeek for the third year in a row and was excited about new programs and events planned as part of the festival, including a multi-business event in the Franklin Crossings area and an Indian Cultural Festival at the Senior Center.

As the schools closed in March and kids were stuck at home, the FCC sponsored an online arts contest for Franklin elementary and middle school students. Youth responded to prompts meant to spark creativity and art- making with materials found in nature and around the house, posting their creations to the FCC’s Facebook page. More than 250 kids participated over the week-long event and it was a bright spot of fun and levity in the early days of the pandemic. In April the FCC sponsored an online contest for Franklin High School students, challenging them to design a poster encouraging unity and hope during this difficult moment.

The FCC grew their social media presence significantly over the past year with regular posts to Facebook and by hosting popular online events like the art contests. Our Facebook page has 1,300 followers and we have worked hard to nurture an engaged audience.

The FCC is looking forward to FY21 and leveraging the momentum we have built over the past few years to serve the community in greater and new ways. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our lives, we are confirmed in our belief that the arts and culture offer a way through fear and anxiety and toward our shared humanity.

The full Annual Report for 2020 can be found online

Prior Annual Reports can be found online

Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Franklin Cultural Council
Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Franklin Cultural Council 


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