By Zenya and Alexandra Molnar, Contributing Writers
Northborough – The Northborough Cultural Council (NCC) has announced its grant recipients for 2012. The chosen programs include an array of enriching activities that benefit students to seniors and everyone in between.
The NCC, a local committee of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) consisting of seven Northborough residents, promotes local cultural programs through allocating funds after reviewing applications. The MCC provided Northborough with $4,970 this year.
Out of the 24 grant requests, 17 were selected as part of the NCC's annual allocation of funds; the council looks for grants that reach a broad spectrum of the community and that offer creative and new forms of cultural involvement.
NCC Chair Kim Henderson Lee stated that one of the more diverse proposals that received a grant for $125 is the Northborough Historical Commission; it plans to run a Family History Workshop. Participants in the workshop will learn how to start their own genealogy project. Professional genealogist Beth Finch McCarthy will teach them how to organize family photos and documents.
The NCC looks favorably upon organizations that work together on a project to benefit a large audience. For example, Marguerite E. Peaslee Elementary School and Marion E. Zeh Elementary School received a grant to collaborate on a two-night Family Music Program. Students and their families will participate in a drum circle with African and Latin American music. Another evening will feature dancing, singing, and learning about traditional American music, including blues.
Henderson Lee said that the Northborough Free Library program on gardening is also a unique idea, as the NCC does not receive many proposals that deal with science and nature.
The Northborough Free Library received a grant to support the Summer Reading Program while the Worcester County Horticultural Society received a grant to run a concert series at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens. Even though Tower Hill is located in Boylston, the NCC believes that it draws a range of people from the community and provides a wide array of music.
Algonquin Regional High School's literary magazine, Sachem, which is entirely student-run, received a grant for the second time to encourage individual writers to generate their own literature.
The NCC gave funding to four local music organizations: the Assabet Valley Mastersingers, the Northborough Area Community Chorus, Symphony Pro Musica, and Women of Note, a community women's chorus. Unlike some of the programs at the schools, the concerts are open to all members of the community. The NCC finds them important to fund as they provide enjoyment to a broad range of people.
Because the NCC receives many grant requests from the local schools and Senior Center, it especially welcomes applications for cultural endeavors that support underserved parts of the community to represent the interests of all residents. In addition, Henderson Lee said that the council receives a majority of grants that focus on performing arts and literary activities.
To determine what cultural programs residents would enjoy, as well as to insure that all genres of culture are equally represented, the NCC distributes a survey available at the Town Hall and the library. It is also accessible online.
The Northborough Recreation Department received funding for organizing a coffeehouse at the Northborough Senior Center, an event that the department staff hope will be annual.
The other 2012 grant recipients are: funding for Prismatic Laser Science at St. Bernadette School, the annual summer concert series put on by Northborough Community Affairs, kickoff and ending entertainment for the Library's summer reading program, an Ernest Hemingway presentation at the Senior Center, and a folktale program at Procter Elementary School.
For more information on the NCC, visit the website: http://www.mass-culture.org/Northborough#.