Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election. Updated - 08/15/22
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 FY2021, the FCC again successfully lobbied the Town of Franklin for a steady and level 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
$25,000 in grants supporting 30 arts and cultural events for Franklin residents. These programs included many annual favorites such as performances at the schools and Senior Center, the Middle School Authors Series as well as children’s entertainment at the library. In addition, new programming included hosting weekly music for the Franklin Farmers Market. This was by far one of the most visible representations of our funding this year. The response from the community regarding the new and improved market was overwhelming. Our town common was brimming each Friday with happy community members shopping and enjoying live music.
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 fal1 of 2020. The FCC carefully considered the needs of the community and for safe and socially distanced programming. In September and October, the FCC hosted a number of live music performances outside at the Senior Center. Musicians were brought in from the prestigious Berklee College of Music and entertained some of the most vulnerable in our community. Seniors were able to watch from their car, or get up and dance, as many did. Because of the State limitations on large gatherings, two shows were held on each event day to limit the number of participants.
In October, the FCC created a Halloween House Decorating Contest in Franklin. The goals were to offer a distraction to the ongoing pandemic and perhaps some levity and creativity to our community. A surprising 52 houses signed up to compete in the contest and FCC board members drove separately to judge each house. A virtual community map was created and shared far and wide over social media. Winners were chosen and our State Representative, Jeff Roy, kindly handed out awards personally at the winner’s doorsteps. The contest was covered by The Boston Globe and the community has insisted on a “2nd Annual” Halloween House Decorating Contest for 2021.
Once November brought colder weather, all programming moved online. Between November 2020 – April 2021, the FCC hosted ten online “Monday Night Masterclasses”. The masterclasses were hands-on demonstrations of cooking, flower arranging, meditation and paint nights given by professionals in the area. The online classes were given for free to the community and were meant to offer levity and opportunities to be creative during the dark months of a pandemic winter.
We were unable to run the popular spring “Arts Advocacy Day” due to Covid-19. And “ArtWeek”, another well- known statewide event was cancelled indefinitely by the Boch Center.
In September of 2021, the FCC will host the first “Franklin Cultural Festival”. This has been planned on the back of the successful 2019 “Taste of the Arts Festival”. We hope to fill the common with 5,000 participants to enjoy live music and dance, artisan vendors, food trucks and a wine and beer garden. Our late spring plans revolved around getting the parts and pieces of the festival in place.
The FCC continued to grow their social media presence significantly over the past year with regular posts to Facebook and Instagram and by hosting popular online events. Our Facebook page has 1,700 followers and we have worked hard to nurture an engaged audience.
The FCC is looking forward to FY22 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 2021 can be found
The collection of Annual Reports can be found online