- The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), a state agency, manages the Local Cultural Council program. The MCC has about $12 million in the state budget this year; of that, $2 million goes to the LCC program; of that, $4700 goes to Montague.
- The Montague Cultural Council is a local cultural council (LCC). It’s a group of volunteers who were appointed by the Selectboard and who are authorized to award small grants (usually $50-$300) for cultural programs.
- Now is the time to submit proposals for programs that will take place in 2016. All towns use the same application, which is available for download from www.mass-culture.org
- Deadline is October 15, 2015; you will need to print and send multiple copies of the completed application to each LCC you are applying to. Details at www.mass-culture.org
Additional tips and advice, submitted by Jen Audley.
Almost anyone can apply!
This one of the most accessible funding programs I know of – individuals, groups and organizations are all welcome to apply and the application is pretty simple. The program, event or project you propose just needs to have a clear connection to the arts, humanities, and/or interpretive sciences, and it needs to benefit the public in some way. You should have some experience doing whatever it is you propose to do, but you don’t have to be a professional. You do need to have lived in MA for at least one year.
Every town gets money to distribute.
Montague has about $5000 this year, and most of the towns nearby have about the same amount. (Greenfield is an exception — because of the formula the MCC uses to make allocations, it gets quite a bit more.) This means that if you have a program that you think will benefit residents of more than one town, you might want to apply to more than one LCC. You can submit the same proposal to more than one LCC — but be aware that some LCCs prioritize programs that take place in their town. You should be able to figure out which LCCs to apply to by going to the MCC website and looking them up. (Look at the types of programs they funded last year and at their local guidelines.)
Do your homework.
Be sure to review the state’s guidelines, which include criteria that all proposals have to meet. Then read the local cultural councils’ guidelines and develop a proposal tailored to the LCC(s) where your project is a match. Also, if you have been awarded a cultural council grant in the past, don’t re-submit your old application. Many local councils prefer not to award grants to the same people year after year, so you will need to explain how what you have in mind for this year is different.
They want you to have a solid plan.
The best proposals convince the committee that the applicant has what it will take to make the program happen — that might be because they have a proven track record, or they’ve already lined up a venue and collaborators, or they do a really good job explaining how it will work. The bottom line is that the committee wants to feel confident that you will use the money, because if they choose your project, they going to set the money aside to reimburse you. That means it will be tied up whether you use it or not.
Try not to put all your eggs in one basket.
Most LCCs receive proposals for more programs than they can fund. Councils make decisions in a variety of ways, but one common approach is to give applicants some, but not all, of the money they requested. There is a place on the application to explain what you will do if awarded less than the full amount. Think this through and be honest! If you need the full amount to do the project, say so, or describe your contingency plan.
They want to hear from you!
The people who read and vote on your proposals are volunteers who live right here … you might even know some of them! The committee wants to help you make a strong proposal. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with them if you have questions or ideas you want to run by them.