ACAC logoThe Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture (ACAC) Grants Committee recently awarded 24 grants totaling $21,326 to support arts and culture initiatives. This year’s grants range from $100  to $1,500, with the average amount being $888, an ACAC news release said.

Grantees were selected from a pool of 64 applications. The committee is made up of Brian McMurray, the chair, and Todd Brunel, Andrew Conway, Nancy Gray and Shelley Chhabra. Their formal statement said:

“This year’s grant applications were impressive, as always. Our committee is thrilled for this year’s recipients. We encourage the community to explore their work and enjoy the many opportunities to participate in these programs with your friends and family. As a committee, we are grateful to be a part of the Mass Cultural Council Local Cultural Council Program and honored to serve the community in this capacity. We look forward to seeing you at these extraordinary programs."

2024 grant recipients 

This year’s grant recipients represent many artistic genres, including music, dance, theater and fine arts, and their programs aim to raise awareness and understanding of topics including equity, inclusion, social justice, cultural diversity, disabilities and neurodiversity. They are:

Roger Ticknell: From Ireland To America. "From Ireland to America is a festive music program celebrating traditional Irish music and culture. The concert includes a variety of traditional Irish and Irish-American songs and instrumentals. Lovely Irish ballads, work songs and familiar Irish singalongs are interspersed with lively jigs and reels instrumentals. The program may also include some traditional Scottish songs and Celtic stories."

Town of Arlington, David Morgan: Idling Action. "The Town of Arlington invites you to create art for climate action. Help reduce air pollution from cars by making a sculpture and educational visuals. Volunteer to display the works around town."

Arlington Center for the Arts (ACA) and the Mass Cultural Council (MCC) is proud to partner with the Arlington Housing Authority. "This is an ongoing project to offer quality, free arts programs directly to community members residing at Cusack Terrace and Winslow Towers. Residents have enjoyed monthly arts programs in a variety of media, including watercolor, chair yoga and more. These free, one-hour programs allow residents to experience art in its many forms, with high-quality teaching artists and all supplies provided by Arlington Center for the Arts." 

Skill Share event at Mystic Open Studio. "Whether you are an experienced creator or have never taken an art class before, all are welcome to join this weekend celebration of fiber arts."

PSA Young Artist Competition and Performance. "On April 20, 2024, the Philharmonic Society of Arlington [held its] Young Artist Competition, an annual event for instrumental and vocal musicians under 30 years of age. The competition has been held since 1965. The purposes are to identify, encourage and provide exposure to promising young musicians, to grant them an audition experience and to honor the top winners in each category with an opportunity to perform with the orchestra and/or chorale. The performances will take place during the fall 2024 concert season."

Lexington Community Farm Coalition, Inc: Growing to Feed Us. "In the Growing to Feed Us residency, Arlington puppeteer Margaret Moody will partner with Lexington Community Farm Education Director Rachel Curtin to offer a series of multi-arts programs that invite young children and their families to think together about growing food, sharing food and caring for our community. Three family programs will be offered, two at LexFarm and one at the Fox Library. Each program will include food- and growing-themed stories and hands-on activities as well as puppet vignettes."

Jason Russell House Beer Garden Music Series. "Jason Russell House Beer Garden is now an established local offering that provides a music series of live local music performances weekly every Saturday throughout the summer. This will be the third year offering this convivial community event, which is attended by a cosmopolitan group of community members and [in]  a relaxing atmosphere for summer socializing."

Footsteps of the Patriots: A March of History. "On April 19, 1775, to the Alarm of Paul Revere, the Medford Minutemen marched to Menotomy (now Arlington) to confront the King's Regulars on their return to Boston in what would become known as the Battle of Menotomy. In celebration of this historic event, The Preservation Collaborative's historian Ryan D. Hayward will lead a group of reenactors and residents on a three-mile journey in their footsteps."

The New Romantics: Revolutionary Expression in Chamber Music. "The Craft Ensemble will present an interactive concert and workshops at Arlington High School featuring the music of Benjamin Britten, Florence Price, Erwin Schulhoff and Ethel Smyth."

Westford Chamber Players: Movie Themes for Strings. "With the generous support of Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture Grants Committee, Westford Chamber Players (WCP) will be hosting a "Movie Themes for Strings" chamber concert at 6 p.m. Sunday June 9, 2024, at the Arlington Center for the Arts. The concert program includes movie theme music from Adams Family, Downtown Abbey, Lord of the Rings and other popular film scores as well as theme music from animated films by Studio Ghibli. The performers are eminent local musicians who frequently performed with local symphony orchestras and have been active in teaching and coaching. The concert will not only bring chamber music to local communities, but [it] also will provide a nurturing environment for music-loving students and families."

Arlington Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration. "Join the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, Old Schwamb Mill, Robbins Library and the Arlington Human Rights Commission for celebration of this land’s First Peoples! This free event for all ages will feature a fun and educational performance by the Mashpee Wampanoag Red Hawk Singers and Dancers. Through song, dance and teachings, the Red Hawk Singers and Dancers promote traditional Wampanoag values such as humility and respect to create true connections between diverse cultures and communities."

Lunar New Year Celebration. "On Thursday Jan. 25. [the Town of] Arlington celebrated the second annual townwide Lunar New Year celebration, organized by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Division and our community partner, Enhance Asian Community on Health (EACH). This celebration is one of the most important celebrations in many Asian cultures and is celebrated with family, food and music. The first half of the program featured crafts and activities that engaged attendees of all ages and then followed by performances from EACH, the AHS Mandarin Class, the Ottoson Middle School Mandarin Class, and the Asian American Coalition student group, who regaled the crowd with Peking Opera, Chinese dance, Mandarin songs and traditional instruments such as jinghu, banhu and erhu. The celebration was enjoyed by upwards of 250 residents of all ages." 

Dan Fox, Arlington Jazz Festival: Emerging Artists at Arlington. "The Arlington Jazz Festival will feature up-and- coming jazz talent specifically on events happening April 4 and April 5. April 4 was a ticketed event at the ACA featuring Berklee vocalist Mikayla Shirley. April 5 was a free event at Arlington High School featuring the AHS jazz band and a performance by the Boston/Havana Connection. This group features young musicians from Cuba along with Boston-area musicians."

Alex Lemski: Creative Jazz in Arlington. "Featuring the Todd Brunel Quartet with Laura Jordan percussion, Peter Cassino keyboard, Rick McLaughlin bass and Todd Brunel, clarinets and saxophones. The quartet will perform an eclectic mix of compositions by Duke Ellington, Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinski, Jack Dejonette, Jerome Kern -- and include their own compositions and other contemporary music arrangements. The quartet weaves effortlessly beyond music genres to bring an evening of pure unadulterated sonic joy. June 28 at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, 108 Pleasant St."

True Story Inc. Stories Of People with Neurodivergence. "Within our unique selves, how do we face our limitations…and discover new strengths? When we deal with people’s reactions to neurodiversity, how do we handle painful ignorance (including our own) … or welcome kindness? Let’s learn from each others’ stories. Come to just watch -- or to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences around neurodivergence. Laugh, cry and gain insights as True Story Theater's actors and musicians empathetically embody whatever is shared."

Anjali Nath: Khelna (Let's Play). "Kathak artist Anjali Nath kicks off her Khelna (to play!) series this May! Residents of Arlington have easy access to an ongoing series of classes and performances and are in for a rare treat as Anjali hosts musical colleagues from India May 28-June 2 for a fun-packed week of interactive classes, workshops and performances. Khelna highlights the power and possibilities of kathak to bring fun and overall well-being for all ages, identities and abilities through the mind-boggling, foot-tapping, body-energizing mathematical rhythms and music expressive movement."

Claudia Donnet: Raqs Sharqi, Dances from the East Pop-Up Performances. "Prepare to be enchanted as Seyyide's pop-up performance unveils a captivating and ancient art form: Middle Eastern and North African dance, commonly known as “belly dance.” With every sinuous movement, she weaves together centuries of tradition, rhythm and cultural expression. The air will resonate with the hypnotic beats of a traditional Arabic drum, the darbuka, played by a skilled percussionist. This mesmerizing project isn’t confined to the usual stages; it will spill into vibrant community spaces, where people can gather under the open sky. Here, the dance transcends mere entertainment—it becomes a celebration of cultural heritage, a bridge connecting past and present, as you witness the magic of movement and music intertwining, echoing stories of distant lands and shared humanity."

Motoko Dworkin: Tales of Now & Zen: An Evening of Stories for Adults. "The Friends of the Robbins Library invites nationally acclaimed Japanese storyteller Motoko to present an evening of humorous and charming tales for adults and seniors. Clad in a traditional kimono and armed only with a fan as a prop, Motoko will exquisitely weave together ancient Asian lore, traditional songs,  7th-century Rakugo tales and oral memories from her childhood in Osaka and her life as an immigrant artist and mother. This 75-minute program was June 12, 2024, at 7 p.m. in the community room of the Robbins Library. A Q&A session [followed] the performance."

Deborah Boyken: Influence of Native and African American Music on Dvorák and other Classical Music. "The program will feature Harry Burleigh, Clarence Cameron White and other African-American composers showing the relationship and [Antonín] Dvorák's interest in Native American and African music from his time in Iowa and New York."

Zaidi Hammad Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay & Music Festival. "The Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay and Music Festival is a multiple-time, top-100 best-reviewed festival in Arlington, Mass., that showcases local and global stories 'aching to be told.' We champion women, disabled, LGBTQIA, minority and Indigenous creators."

Rondae Drafts: Hip Hop Chair Dance for Seniors. "Please join us! MUSIC Dance.edu is offering a (1) hour senior exercise class in your community. 'Hip Hop Chair Dance for Seniors!' Travel through time and space on the Soul Train and chair dance to wonderful songs. All aboard the Hip Hop Soul Train Express."

Magnolia Park Music Series, Friends of Magnolia Park, select weekday evenings, July-September 2024, Magnolia Park, East Arlington. "Friends of Magnolia Park continue to expand the Magnolia Park Music Series in East Arlington. A variety of musical acts perform in genres including brass band, jazz, folk, pop and children's music, appealing to audiences of all ages. This series brings the community together to listen to music in a lovely outdoor setting, with concerts held at a time that invites friends and families to gather for picnic dinners and after-meal socializing while the musicians provide entertainment. Visit the Friends of Magnolia Park-Arlington MA Facebook group for additional information."

21st Annual Belmont World Film Family Festival, Jan. 13-21, 2024, Newton | Watertown | Cambridge | Arlington. "Belmont World Film’s Family Festival is a must-attend event for families with children ages 3-12, offering some of the world’s top films for children—providing a window into the lives of children around the world—as well as filmmaking workshops that will enrich your children’s lives. This year’s festival featured 16 exciting film programs and four workshops. Visit belmontworldfilm.org/family-festival for additional information and to learn about next year’s program."

I Will Be Earth: The Poetry of Nature, Jan. 13-21, 2024, First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington. "Cantilena, a women’s chorale, presented 'I Will Be Earth: The Poetry of Nature,' a choral concert and poetry reading. Visit cantilena.org/concerts for additional information."

Commission, committee,  council

The ACAC Grants Committee is part of the Mass. Cultural Council Local Cultural Council program. The largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, the local program enriches the cultural life of all cities and towns in Massachusetts. Led by municipally appointed volunteers, local councils award more than $5 million every year, supporting 6,000 cultural programs that include field trips, lectures, festivals, dance performances and more.

Information about applying for a 2025 grant will be available in late summer, with an expected grant application deadline in fall. Grant determinations are made in December, and projects take place throughout the following calendar year. Please contact the committee with questions about applying


Nov. 24, 2023: Arlington Commission of Arts & Culture

 This news announcement was published Friday, June 7, 2024, based on information from Todd Brunel and Stewart Ikeda of the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture.