Monday, February 12, 2024

Annual Report Of The Franklin Cultural Council: FY 2023 Report

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 FY 2023, the FCC received steady and level funding from the Town of Franklin to support additional grant awards as well as many community programs and events. This funding was combined with state-allocated Mass Cultural Council funds allowing the FCC to award a total of $27,500 in grants supporting 28 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 and family entertainment at the Franklin Public Library. In addition, new programming included funding the Franklin Area Moms' "Little Listeners" installation project, as well as a program for education on the social and emotional healing effects of the arts with the SAFE Coalition. We were able to again fund weekly music for the Franklin Farmers Market. This is by far one of the most visible representations of our funding each year. Our town common is brimming each Friday with happy community members shopping and enjoying live music.

second iteration of the "Franklin Cultural Festival"
a scene from the second iteration of the "Franklin Cultural Festival"

This was also an exciting year for the continuity of FCC programming for the community, as seen through the second iteration of the "Franklin Cultural Festival", which was held on September 10th, 2022. After a successful festival in 2021, the FCC was happy to bring the event back for an even bigger second year. The festival themed "Community Unity" once again, and it showcased seven mainstage acts, over 50 artisan vendors, 9 food trucks and a beer garden. Modest guesses at attendance were 10,000 visitors to our town common, an increase from the previous year of approximately 2,000 people. The festival was an overall success in all ways - for our community, for our vendors and for our artists. In the spring of 2023, the festival was awarded a retroactive grant worth $2,500 by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for the event's unification of the Franklin and Metrowest communities.

In the spring of 2023, the FCC was able to collaborate with the Franklin Cultural District Committee for a second annual "MetroWest Arts & Cultural Symposium". Both groups played key roles in the success of this event, and it would not have been possible if not for the collaborative efforts of all involved. The theme for this year's symposium was a conversation on "Uplifting the Arts: The Intersection of Culture and Economy".

This was a regional event meant to bring arts and cultural leaders, as well as town leaders from across the region to Franklin. The symposium was held at the Dean College Guidrey Center, where in addition to the planned speaking program, Dean College students were featured for a performance from their recent spring show, "Pippin".

Michael Bobbitt, Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council was our featured speaker and delivered an inspiring and informative message to the audience. His portion was then followed by a panel discussion moderated  by  Kaye  Kelly,  professor  at  Berkeley College of Music. The esteemed panel was comprised of Edward M. Augustus, Jr. (Chancellor, Dean College), Carolyn Cole (Program Officer, Massachusetts Cultural Council) and Erin Lynch (Executive Director, Metrowest Visitor’s Bureau).

Refreshments were provided by the Dean College catering staff, and flowers by the local florist at Zuzu's Petals. The event was an overwhelming success and plans are underway for the spring of 2024 for a third symposium.

The FCC continued to grow their social media presence significantly over the past year with consistent posts to Facebook and Instagram and by engaging with popular online communities. Our Facebook page now has almost 2,200 followers and we have worked hard to nurture an engaged audience. We also joined LinkedIn this year to broaden our social media outreach into the professional networking and career development space.

The FCC is looking forward to FY24 and leveraging the momentum we have built over the past few years to serve the community in greater and new ways. As we continue to move toward community programming as it was prior to the onset of COVID-19, and have seen continued, if not increased interest in programming by the FCC and its local constituents, 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 Franklin Cultural Council report can be found in one PDF ->

The full Town of Franklin FY 2023 Annual Report can be found online

Annual Report Of The Franklin Cultural Council: FY 2023 Report
Annual Report Of The Franklin Cultural Council: FY 2023 Report

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