The Massachusetts Cultural Council's
Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program is the largest grassroots
cultural funding network in the nation supporting thousands
of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences
annually. Each year, local councils award more than $2 million
in grants to more than 5,000 cultural programs statewide.
The program promotes the availability of rich cultural experiences
for every Massachusetts citizen.
The MCC distributes funds to local and regional cultural councils, who then regrant funds to arts, humanities, and interpretive science projects in their own communities. Currently, there are 329 local and regional councils that represent all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The program is administered by 2,400 municipally appointed volunteers serving statewide.
A hallmark of the LCC Program is
the emphasis on local autonomy and decision making. Councils
are free to make funding decisions that best meet the particular
needs and priorities of their community within the parameters
of the broad state guidelines. Each local council determines
its own local eligibility requirements based on a community
input process and these are incorporated into their local
guidelines and published to the council's public web page.
Applicants may apply to the LCC Program
for projects, operating support, ticket subsidy programs,
artist residencies, fellowships or other activities, based
on local priorities and needs. Local councils may also choose
to fund cultural field trips for children, grades pre-K through
12, by subsidizing the cost for children to attend programs
in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences (including
performances, educational tours and exhibits).
The LCC application process can be quite competitive. Because of the large number of requests and the limited funds available for regranting, many LCCs receive far more applications than they can fully or even partially fund. Average grants tend to be modest ($200-$500) and are reimbursement-based, meaning the applicant expends their own money, and if approved for a grant, then submits paperwork for reimbursement.
Exemplary LCC projects are eligible to be further recognized
by the Gold
Star Awards. LCC-funded projects are nominated by a council
and are evaluated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council based
on a variety of criteria. Collectively, Gold Star projects
demonstrate the ways that culture contributes to the quality
of life in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.