By Justin Roshak, Contributing Writer
HUDSON – The Hudson Cultural Council unveiled some of the results from its most recent online survey at its meeting on Aug. 17.
Despite worries about digital access for seniors, most respondents were over the age of 60.
“People really want more affordable events,” said Treasurer Stephanie Simard.
The majority of survey respondents said they got news about cultural events primarily through Facebook and secondarily through the town website. There is room to expand publicity with other Hudson groups, Simard suggested.
“We’ve definitely got to do a better [job] of communicating this through the schools,” said council member Pat Luoto.
She suggested working with local drama and music groups as well as with the parents of students in those programs.
In terms of programs, respondents expressed an interest in a greater diversity of activities in the community.
“I actually don’t think people are asking for Hudson-based artists, but more so for events that happen in Hudson or are put on by Hudson,” Simard said. “We may not be able to have a music festival with just Hudson musicians.”
“We want grantees to come and have events here,” she added.
The council amended its rules to allow for direct grants to partner organizations with a 5-3 vote.
The change also brings with it “the opportunity to fund somebody who wouldn’t otherwise be able to fund an event,” according to member Peter Fiske.
Previously, the council required recipients to raise and spend the funds, which they would then repay.
Substantial documentation goes along with grants, however, and this can delay repayment by weeks or, in some cases, months, Simard said. One advantage of offering direct grants is that the event can move forward while this documentation is being collected, and organizations with good ideas but limited fundraising ability can successfully apply.
About 55 out of more than 300 local cultural councils in Massachusetts already use direct grants. The Massachusetts Cultural Council is encouraging more councils to adopt it.
Opponents of the change worried about additional financial risk to the council.
“The grantees we’ve been working with would be very willing to follow the rules,” said Luoto. “I think it would be an exception that we would go in and have to chase the money to get repaid.”
The Council’s current grant season runs until October 15. They encourage any interested group to seek out their guidelines on their website at https://www.hudsonculturalcouncil.org/.