|By Courtney Llewellyn|
Reminder Assistant Editor
EAST LONGMEADOW Although East Longmeadow was awarded only $4,000 for cultural grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council the smallest amount available from the state the nine recipients chosen have programs that will prove to be priceless for families in the town.
Lori Landers-Carvalho of East Longmeadow's Cultural Affairs Council said the town has received $4,000 in funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for the past two years. "The amount is dependent on what the MCC gets from the Legislature," she explained. "It also depends on the size of the community."
Other Hampden County towns that received grants of the same size include Longmeadow, Hampden, Wilbraham, Blandford, Brimfield, Chester, Granville, Holland, Monson, Montgomery, Russell, Southwick, Tolland and Wales.
The East Longmeadow Cultural Affairs Council received 28 applications for grants this year and those chosen for funding by the council range from $180 to $800. Landers-Carvalho said the entire council meets to choose which applicants will receive funding.
"Everyone meets to give their opinions and take a vote," she said.
How does the Cultural Affairs Council choose which projects receive funding? "We try to diversify as much as we can," Landers-Carvalho stated. "We want projects that are available to preschoolers, elementary school kids, high schoolers, seniors things for families in general."
The East Longmeadow 4th of July Parade Committee and the Rotary Club's Summer Concert Series were frontrunners for funding, Landers-Carvalho said.
Some recipients have already used their funds. The East Longmeadow Public Library hosted the KLS Magic Castle Puppet Show over school vacation in February, a Mardi Gras party took place at the Council on Aging and the "Poetry Can Be Fun" program took place at Mountain View Elementary School.
Other recipients for 2008 included "Wild About Reading," the interplay jazz band at the high school, "The Art of Pastel II" and "The Veggie Voyager Returns."
The Cultural Affairs Council hosted a reception for the grant recipients last Thursday at the Little Red School House.
Landers-Carvalho said grant applications are due to the Cultural Affairs Council every year by Oct. 15 and all the information about the grants is available online at the MCC's Web site (www.mass-culture.org).
She also said that the town's Cultural Affairs Council, which is currently made up of six members, would "love to have more members." Each member is appointed by the Board of Selectmen to a three-year term. If interested, contact the Selectmen's office for more information.
Landers-Carvalho said the council will be working on local guidelines for grant applications this year to complement the state guidelines.