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Cultural Council receives largest MCC allocation since 2003

Date: 2/24/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

SOUTHWICK -- As town budgets are being slashed, allocations for community programming dwindles and the need for alternative funding sources is becoming more apparent.

Ann Murray, director of the Southwick Public Library, told Reminder Publications that without monies such as the 2009 Southwick Cultural Council (SCC) grants announced earlier this month the library would be unable to offer additional programming for patrons.

"With the [economic] climate of the times, it's extremely tight for everyone and to have these free programs for all, it makes [patrons] realize that the library is the hub of the community and not just a place to borrow books." Murray said.

Susan Kochanski, president of the SCC, explained that they received 22 grant applications and were able to approve 11 with the $4,300 allocated from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).

She noted that in previous years, the SCC had received upwards of $5,000 from the MCC but state budget cuts in 2003 decreased their allocation by about 60 percent. Kochanski added that this is the largest amount granted to Southwick by the MCC since 2002.

Ellen Miles, secretary for the SCC, said she expects a cut in the town's allocation next year in light of the downturn in the economy.

She explained that the Cultural Council will continue to provide as much funding possible for new, diverse programming for all ages.

The library received four grants from the Cultural Council this year for children's programming, including a theatrical make-up workshop on July 14, "Mad Science: Up, Up and Away" for elementary school children on July 28, a performance of Mother Goose nursery rhymes on Aug. 4 and Frisbee shows and play groups on Aug. 11.

Other 2009 SCC grant recipients include: "The Pied Potter Hamelin's Magical Potter's Wheel" clay demonstration at the council's tenth annual Fine Art Show taking place April 18-19 at Town Hall; "And Now.Mark Twain," the one-man theatrical performance chronicling Mark Twain's life on May 19 at the library; the "Eat Like a Rainbow" concert at Woodland Elementary School on June 11; the Southwick Rotary Club's barbeque on July 12; the Southwick Fireman's Association Carnival in September; and "The Jazz Bones" concert on Nov. 18 at Southwick Congregational Church.

The SCC convenes on the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

For additional information about the SCC or programming, visit