SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 8, 2013

Column: Art matters in Beverly

Last year, a group of poets and neighbors gathered in CitySide Diner to read poetry aloud. Over the summer, several free concerts were held on the Common, exhibits by emerging artists were curated at Porter Mill, an artist studio building on Rantoul Street, and local schools brought in professional musicians for programs that inspired children in new ways.

Besides helping secure Beverly’s place as a cultural destination on the North Shore, all of these exciting events were funded in part by the Beverly Cultural Council. Last year, the council awarded nearly $10,000 worth of grants to almost 20 worthy applicants who — like us — want to see the arts grow in Beverly. And with the application deadline for 2014 approaching — Oct. 15 — we’re looking forward to continuing the momentum we’re building together as a vibrant arts community.

Our funding priorities are simple: We award grants for arts, humanities or interpretive science projects that serve elementary, middle or high school students, families, senior citizens or the general Beverly community. About 10 council members (Beverly residents) volunteer their time each fall to carefully review the dozens of applications we receive from both emerging artists and established organizations. Then, together, we decide which can best fulfill our goals. The grant recipients are announced, funding is provided, and everyone benefits.

We can do this because we live in a commonwealth that’s made a commitment to the creative economy and the role the arts play in building our communities. In fact, the Beverly Cultural Council is only one of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts to award funds in partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

So, whenever an artist’s potential is encouraged in Beverly, we’re all better off and our quality of life is enhanced. And with so much craziness in the world, you’ve got to admit, it’s nice to live in a place where creativity thrives, where concerts are free, art is everywhere, and poetry can be heard in diners.

For more information, guidelines and applications, please visit mass-culture.org/Beverly. Applicants should fill out the applications on their computer, print and mail 10 copies, postmarked by October 15, 2013, to Beverly Cultural Council, PO Box 3032, Beverly, MA 01915-0897.

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Bea Modisett is chair of the Beverly Cultural Council.

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