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Cultural Council seeking new members and grant applications

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

HAMPDEN Rick Rubin, chair of the Hampden Cultural Council (HCC), said the goal of the group is to "benefit all the people of Hampden," especially the students at Green Meadows School and Thornton W. Burgess School.

"We funded the Big H [arts festival] last year and this year, the Theater Guild of Hampden, programs at the senior center and the library," Rubin said. "We're doing some retooling this year, trying to get some new things, and we're urging the schools to apply."

The HCC is part of the Local Cultural Council Program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). Allocations are made by the MCC to all of Massachusetts' 351 cities and towns to support community cultural activities. The Local Cultural Council Program is the most extensive system of its kind in the nation to support arts, sciences and humanities, according to the MCC Web site.

The HCC has been a part of Hampden for close to 20 years, Rubin said. He has been with the council for two years.

Hampden will be receiving approximately $4,400 in state funding through the MCC this year. In the past, the monies have been used to fund storytellings, historical field trips, musical concerts and more.

"We want to focus on the schools [this year] because they're not getting the money they need for the arts," Rubin stated.

He encourages anyone with ideas for programs to fill out applications for grants to fund arts, humanities and interpretive science projects. Guidelines and applications for projects are available online at or in person at the Board of Selectmen's office at 625 Main St.

Completed applications must be postmarked by Oct. 15.

The HCC is also seeking Hampden residents to help review those applications by joining the council. The term of service is two years and involves five to eight meetings a year as well as occasional fundraising. According to Rubin, the busiest time of year is between October and January.

"It's a lot of fun," the council chair said. "You get to see things people are interested in, in and for the town. You get to see things regular citizens don't."

He added that anyone interested in the arts, either in general or in specific genres, would be great additions to the council. The HCC is currently looking for a minimum of two new members, but more are always welcome. No previous council or committee experience is required.

"Bring your enthusiasm," Rubin said. "It's not a big time commitment ... [Help] bring a wide variety of culture to our small town."

For more information, contact Rubin at 566-3805 or visit, click on "Find Your LCC," then click on "Cities/Towns G - K" and select Hampden.