$117,856 for Local Cultural Council Grants to 31 Cambridge Projects


Cambridge Arts: $117,856 for Local Cultural Council Grants to 31 Cambridge Projects. With images of a pianist, dancers, a guitarist, a filmmaker, and a choir.

$117,856 In Cambridge Arts Grants Fund 31 Local Cultural Projects
Including Musical Performed By Deaf Actors, Skatepark Public Art, Music For Homeless Shelters

Thirty-one projects will receive grants totaling $117,856 from Cambridge Arts and the City of Cambridge’s Local Cultural Council Grants. This grassroots grants program, operated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council across the Commonwealth, supports Cambridge projects including dance, films, music, public art, and theater. They represent the wealth of artistic activity across the city.

Grant-funded Cambridge projects include a musical performed by both deaf and hearing actors, public art for the Lynch Family Skatepark, and hip-hop performances. The grants support free Caribbean steelpan education, orchestral concerts of film and TV music, and a project that pairs composers with poets who are homeless to compose new music to be performed at homeless shelters. Funded projects address a range of subjects including climate change, Asian hate crimes during the covid pandemic, and how the Caribbean slave trade and colonization are reflected in Latin dance. (See full list of grants below.)

Overall Cambridge Arts and the City are distributing grants totaling $299,350 to artists and community organizations this year through three funding opportunities that Cambridge Arts offered last fall—including Art for Social Justice Grants and Local Cultural Council Grants, which have been announced, and Organizational Investment Grants, which will be announced soon. Each year, the City of Cambridge contributes substantial funding to support local artists, cultural workers, and arts organizations through the Cambridge Arts Grant Program. This support is coupled with funding received through the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s statewide Local Cultural Council Program.


Cambridge Community Center for the Arts, Inc.
Grant Award: $4,347.00
The pandemic has made it extremely challenging for artists to find venues (physical & virtual) to present (shows/classes/workshops), and to connect with/expand audiences (onsite/online), fund production costs (performing artist fees, hosting venue fees, insurance, production costs [audio engineering, video production, lighting design, livestreaming], post production expenses [audio & video editing], marketing, digital distribution, ticketing, and broadcast expenses), and be able to compete and make a living in the ever changing market. This project aims to bridge many of these gaps, by providing each performing/presenting artist we work with, quality complimentary production services and venues that encompass all of the above areas, while allowing the artists complete freedom of expression and creative control, and entitling them to full ownership of all resulting artistic work/output.

Charles River Conservancy
Grant Award: $4,600.00
In 2015, the Charles River Conservancy (CRC) celebrated the opening of the Lynch Family Skatepark in North Point Park in Cambridge, finally providing a space for athletes - who were are often pushed out of public spaces - a place to practice their skill. It is with the same spirit of belonging that we begin the process of developing a vision for a skatepark public art that will celebrate those who use the park today and invite new audiences to this riverfront park.

Yumi Izuyama
Grant Award: $910.00
I will present two nature stories during the annual Monarch Butterfly Release Celebration at Fresh Pond Reservation. One of the stories will be about butterflies and another about trees and the local animals that live in them. The stories will be presented in a special format called "Kamishibai"--Japanese Paper Theater. Before the storytelling there will be a brief explanation of the history of kamishibai and how this tradition traveled from Japan to Brazil, and then to the US, following my own family’s trajectory. After the stories, there will also be hands-on STEM activities related to the butterfly life cycle, and on specific local animals and their habitats, focusing especially on snags and logs as places for animals to find shelter.

Revels, Inc.
Grant Award: $4,600.00
Revels, a 50-year-old performing arts organization best-known for its annual Christmas Revels production, has curated a number of successful education programs that celebrate cultural traditions through the participatory arts and the unique and diverse experiences we each have in these traditions. Working with the leadership of the Cambridge Public Schools, Revels Education and performing artist/social innovator Deo Mwano will design "Celebrating You: Revels Cultural Identity Project" a program, unique to the population at each school, that will include participatory music, dance, and drama. Mr. Mwano will present the program in person at each school in Spring 2022 and will work with students to recognize their individuality while valuing the cultural experiences of others -- critical lessons in building community, celebrating diversity, and engaging socially.

Vivien Wu
Grant Award: $1,334.00
YWCA is a popular social and Latin dance venue and Cambridge gathering spot. Many dance enthusiasts do not know the tradition of Latin dance has roots in the Caribbean slave trade & colonization. These histories have a bodily record in dance today: Rumba & ChaCha, considered high-class enough for competition; and “street” styles salsa, merengue, bachata. Through instruments, rhythms, & moves, we can recognize the roots of the music and dance as one avenue to understanding the cultural impact of the African diaspora and the relationship between the US, Caribbean, Europe, & Africa. Vivien Wu produces educational programs & documentaries. She produces BACHATA ACADEMY, a doc by a team of Cannes & Sundance award-winning independent filmmakers. The film is about Dominican & Haitian culture & music. The project is a screening + discussion for YWCA and Cambridge public.


Boston City Singers
Grant Award: $4,600.00
The COVID-19 pandemic decimated our membership, just as it did to many arts-related nonprofit organizations throughout Cambridge and beyond. Children were forced to learn online. Many of our youngest singers had little to no capacity or interest to participate in our zoom programming, even though our sessions were shorter than usual. Given that schools are adhering to COVID-related safety protocols including mask mandates, many former members are now choosing outdoor after school activities with fewer restrictions over singing indoors. We anticipate it will take us 3 - 5 years to rebound to pre-COVID membership numbers. We are seeking the Cambridge Cultural Council’s support to enable us to retain staffing capacity and boost our outreach abilities in Cambridge through social media, distribution of promotional materials, and meetings with community-based organizations.

Cambridge Hip-Hop Collective
Grant Award: $4,489.60
The primary goals of the Bridgeside Cypher are: 1) Create community events that are free to the public 2) Create an inclusive environment that provides a platform for underrepresented voices 3) Produce music videos for artists who otherwise would not be able to afford video services The core members of the Cambridge Hip-Hop Collective will meet after each cypher to evaluate the success of these goals. We will collect quantitative data during and after the cypher including: -Number of attendees -Number of new attendees -Number of performers -Number of new performers -Racial demographics per the table provided by the Cambridge Arts Council for Grant close-out documentation -Gender, age, language demographics.

Cambridge Youth Steel Orchestra
Grant Amount: $4,600.00
A music education program that serves youth in the Cambridge/Greater Boston area by centering Caribbean steelpan instrumentation and music as means of preserving its cultural heritage and developing youth leadership and involvement in the arts. Our hope is to instill confidence in our students as they become the next generation of steelpan artists and historians. Classes are offered at no cost to our students ,and are oriented towards youth with any music or art related interests. Our program is designed to strengthen leadership skills and exposure to performing arts. Throughout the year, program participants are given the opportunity to perform publicly, and even create their own steel pan instruments. We build and enforce a foundation of parent involvement and support that we believe effectively helps our students build the confidence necessary to succeed.

Castle of Our Skins
Grant Award: $4,600.00
Sound & Appliqué is a program that celebrates Black women, resilience and the African American quilting tradition: a rich and still present display of ingenuity and artistry that weaves beauty from scraps. It will include the following world premieres: 1) "MASTERING NECESSITY: A STORY QUILT" by Renée Baker which will be paired with quilts by Alpha Bruton and use "remnants of African American culture, discarded identities and ideas..." as musical inspiration. 2) "Housetop" by Elizabeth Brown which is inspired by the Gee's Bend quilters. 3) "Quilting Codes" by Lauren McCall which draws inspiration from the hidden meanings nestled within Negro spirituals. Along with Bruton's quilts, we will commission/display quilts created by Boston's own L’Merchie Frazier. Frazier's works will be paired with original poetry created by our Shirley Graham Du Bois Creative in Residence: Marlanda Dekine.

Wei En Chan
Grant Award: $2,944.00
This season's free concert features an intimate portrait of 3 artists. Lead by Cambridge based countertenor, Wei En Chan, the program follows song that trace our diverse artists' musical roots back to where it all started, Singapore, South Korea & Colombia. Wei En will present a journey of songs that he learned as a child in Singapore that transformed his relationship with music and lead him to where he is today as an artist. He will be joined by two other international artists who's stories crossed with his while he was in grad school in Boston. Yoonjeong Yoo will share beautiful tunes performed in Korea, drawing heavily from the sacred repertoire which inspired her to take the leap of faith as a professional soprano, and Colombian tenor, David Rivera, will share his story of song through the heavy influences of Spanish folk songs and Italian opera he fell in love with as a child.

Grant Award: $4,600.00
“Jazz All Ways” begins Sunday, March 6, and continues every Sunday for three months at ZuZu Music Room, at the Middle East in Central Sq. through May 29, 2022. Each performance will be an exquisite mini-concert with master musicians. We anticipate reaching hundreds of people with live in-person performances, and thousands more through video streaming. We have volunteers willing to provide quality video and audio recordings. Musicians are carefully selected based on artistic excellence, diversity, and innovative program ideas. This new and varied program will include jazz styles like Traditional New Orleans, bebop, swing/big band, fusion, and modern - in addition to tap dance, poetry, and gospel. Program books will feature essays on the history and importance of Jazz in Cambridge along with information on all performing musicians.

Pamela Means
Grant Amount: $1,380.00
My program is an intergenerational community event titled, The Power of the Protest Song: Our Shared History & Present Day Struggles. Equal parts performance and presentation, this family-friendly public event will explore the origin stories and lineages of protest songs and how their significance resonates across time and space. Throughout my presentation, I will elucidate how music has underpinned and inspired struggles for racial, gender, and economic justice and share my own trajectory as an artist who became committed to using her "voice" for political change. I will also "call the audience in" to the experience of collective and joyful mobilization through music by interweaving performances of original protest songs and historical protest music and recognizable "sing-along" covers.

New England Film Orchestra
Grant Award: $4,600.00
Aims to revive enthusiasm for and draw new audiences to live orchestral concerts through programming of film and TV music. These scores are often some of the only orchestral music individuals hear, and these themes are instantly recognizable to fans and engaging to audiences of all ages. By being one of the few orchestras programming this music, we aim to have many first time orchestra goers in attendance and help to foster deeper appreciation for orchestral music in the community. This especially extends to younger audiences, both youth and young adults, who are less likely to have been to an orchestra concert. NEFO also plans to implement youth mentorship programs and provide opportunities to see and play music to children who may not have such opportunities in their schools.

St. Paul’s Choir
Grant Award: $5,336.00
Saint Paul’s Choir School seeks support from the Cambridge Arts Council to bring a unique celebration of Early Music to Boston, to be performed in Harvard Square on May 15th, 2022 to an audience of 350. LCC support will underwriting professional adult singers and equipment rental This will be the first staging of its kind, marrying Early Music pieces, played on historical instruments accompanied and by a full orchestra and choir. Selections will feature Mozart and Vivaldi, including historical period instrument orchestra performing with the Saint Paul’s choir of Men and Boys. This is unique in our area. While Boston and Cambridge are the centers for historical music performance, none use the authentic boys’ voices that would are an intrinsic part of performing these masterworks. In bringing these performing forces together, we will create something entirely new for audience members.

Shelter Music Boston
Grant Award: $4,600.00
Shelter Music Boston (SMB) is known for bringing consistent and healing classical music concerts into homeless shelters and other environments of need throughout Greater Boston. Each year SMB includes a special artistic project among its musical offerings such as the first ever chamber opera about composer Florence Price, and “Voices From The Land,” our partnership with young Native American composers. For 2022, we are planning “Voices of Hope,” a collaboration with the Black Seed Writers Group, writers who are homeless who meet and seek services at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and diverse local composers, including students at Berklee College of Music. Selected poets will be paired with composers in the creation of new pieces of music, performed for our audiences over the next year. Depending on the pandemic, these pieces will be performed during live concerts or included in concert videos.


Rosanna Y. Alfaro
Grant Award: $1,242.00
My proposed project is a play reading of a collection of eight short plays, DIM SUM IN HARVARD SQUARE, at the auditorium of the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Some of the plays were written as a response to the escalation of Asian hate crimes during the pandemic, and others were based on my own experiences and those of my Asian American friends during my nearly 50 years of living in Harvard Square. The settings of the plays include an office at the public high school, a Red Line subway car, a taxi traveling from Central to Harvard Square, a Brattle Street living room, and a Harvard commencement. I should mention that there has never been a dim sum restaurant in Harvard Square. As a member of the Asian American Playwright Collective, I am eager to work with local Asian actors, who I have worked with recently in virtual and live performances on zoom and the Starlight Square.

Jimena Bermejo
Grant Award: $3,450.00
¡Bordes Borders Bordes! is a movement exploration between 6 choreographers, 3 from Greater Boston and 3 from Puerto Rico negotiating physical, mental, emotional, geographical, and technological boundaries within themselves, with each other, and in dialogue with music created for the project by Guarionex Morales-Matos. The exploration among the dancer/makers will develop into a 45-minute live event presented at The Dance Complex’s “Complex@Canal” research and creativity lab in Kendall Square. Greater Boston movers/choreographers Jimena Bermejo, Emily Beattie and Callie Chapman alongside La Trinchera, consisting of choreographers Beatriz Irizarry, Marili Pizarro, and Cristina Lugo, based in Puerto Rico. will create together choreographies and improvisations for the live event, with video projected as part of the performance; and with a live streamed component to reach more audience.

Dance in the Schools (CPS)
Grant Award: $4,140.00
Dance in the Schools (DIS) brings a team of Dance Teaching Artists to the 12 Cambridge Public School (CPS) classrooms to integrate dance and creative movement into the academic and arts curricula. Classroom Teachers from Special Start classrooms through 3rd grade choose themes like storytelling, rhythm, patterns, spatial awareness and body control. Teachers collaborate to discuss the curriculum, themes and students. 2022 will be the 25th anniversary of DIS. In celebration, participants will explore the theme through movement: What is the Impact of 25? Dance will bring personalized meaning to the abstract number 25. DIS consistently demonstrates a high level of engagement and resilience. 2022 will offer hybrid programming options (in-person classroom and remote sessions). We are committed to provide the safest formats and will follow all 2021-2022 CPS Safety Guidelines.

The Flavor Continues
Grant Award: $4,600.00
This funding will be supporting the continued provided studio spacing for street and club dancers to choreograph, practice, teach, session, and collaborate for rehearsals, performances, or artistic reasons between November 1st, 2021 and December 31st, 2021 as a collaboration between The Flavor Continues and Cambridge Community Center for the Arts. It will be diversely used as a place for dancers to teach classes for dance as well as social emotional learning, to practice and keep themselves in shape, as well as to promote their artistic journey by allowing space for collaboration. As the cold sets into Boston, outside will no longer be a viable option for practices. Thus, this space becomes increasingly more important for us to utilize and keep our operations going.

Jean Appolon Expressions, Inc.
Grant Award: $4,600.00
JAE's free, year-long Teen Apprentice Program aims to educate local teens in the art of dance, specifically Folkloric Haitian and Modern, and to foster resiliency through social connections, movement, and music. Students gain an appreciation for Haitian and Afro-Caribbean culture and are given the opportunity to grow their dance skills and gain an understanding of the role of art in social justice. Throughout the program, teens work with Jean Appolon, artistic director, and Mcebisi Xotyeni, artistic manager. They attend weekly classes and professional company rehearsals, and perform on stage. In the spring, Apprentices take part in a 4-day intensive to get immersed in the experience of a professional dancer. The program provides new ways for teens to connect with their peers and explore sustainable career pathways in the arts.

Rachel Share-Sapolsky
Grant Award: $4,278.00
The project, part of my senior thesis at Harvard, will stage an adaptation of a musical with a cast of both Deaf and hearing actors, putting American Sign Language (ASL) at the artistic helm. Deaf actors will be the primary performers, while hearing counterpart actors will be vocal “shadow” interpreters, with each pair creating the role together. The production team will include both Deaf and hearing artists. This artistic form will create theatre opportunities for local Deaf artists, and enable both Deaf and hearing audiences to experience artistic expression via ASL. This will also lessen the hearing-centric dismissal of the importance of theatre and music in Deaf culture, countering the fallacy that music is irrelevant to the Deaf. In reality, the rhythmic vibrations of music produce a rich experience for Deaf people, emphasizing that the core of music is not sound, but expression.

Urbanity Dance
Grant Award: $4,600.00
Urbanity Dance respectfully requests a grant of $5,000 to support inTENtion, the Season Finale of its 10th Anniversary Company Season taking place in 2021/22. Recognizing the decade since the organization’s non-profit founding, the Season invites Urbanity’s community to a series of performances and collaborations that both celebrates its achievements to date and looks to its next chapter of meaningful dance experiences. As the third and final series performance, inTENtion will be presented at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge and feature new works choreographed by Nailah RandallBellinger, Meg Anderson, Teddy Forance, and Key’Aira Lockett. The program will offer Cambridge residents a unique opportunity to engage with new works by a diverse array of nationally-recognized artistic talent as part of Urbanity’s ongoing efforts to build community through contemporary dance.

Karen Wilk Klein
Grant Amount: $3,266.00
Closing the Circle project would bring teenagers and adults over seventy into joint interdisciplinary collaborations of poetry and dance. The process model is teXtmoVes, a group of local poets, dancers, sometimes musicians who collaborate on embodying poems for performance. Our two hour, 10/19/21 performance at Starlight brought an audience of over 100. Current collaborators age range is from late 20’s to early 80’s; the proposed project broadens the age range and brings together age groups who do not normally work together creatively. Doing a teXtmoVes process will be educational for the CRLS students involved and provide cultural enrichment for Cambridge elders and students alike. Connections within and across generations in the Cambridge community may be formed and lead to better understanding. The first step in the project, elder Cambridge residents and CRLS students work separately in their own spaces. Once they have completed their poem/dance piece, for the second step both groups meet together and create joint collaborations. Teenagers choreograph elders' poems and vice versa. A third step will be public performances in Cambridge, video on CCTV.


Tatyana Bronstein
Grant Award: $4,600.00
Screening and discussion a new documentary "Woman in the Mirror" by Tatyana Bronstein at the Cambridge Library. Film logline: Nestled in a small New England town is a powerhouse of a ballet school. Its genesis includes the dramatic story of a prima ballerina defecting from the Soviet Union, the tenuous climb to personal and artistic freedom. In a story revealed in dance studio mirrors, Alexandra, a graduate of the prestigious Vaganova Academy and a driven ballerina, toes her way from being a principal dancer of the Boston Ballet to leading a diverse group of ballet students in their difficult journey to become professional dancers as they struggle with the challenges such as physical and emotional stress of intense ballet training, anxiety and l depression, family breakup. The teacher, Alexandra tries to instill in them that same strength that served her well throughout her life.be a full-day event orchestrated with poetry recitations, musical renderings, choral groups and instrumental music.

Kristen Chin
Grant Award: $3,450.00
Snow Money is an intimate short film showing the impacts of climate change (severe, unpredictable, and wetter winters) on Joe, a snow plower who lives and works in Greater Boston. Part Cherokee, Moroccan, and younger than most snow plowers, Joe brings racial and age diversity to the film. His employees are also people of color. Act I, Establish Joe and stakes--his independence and pride as a father. Living at home, he wants to buy his mom’s house to provide for his partner and daughter who lives with her mom. He lacks the funds. Act II, Joe and his team prep equipment. He explains the financial risks of wetter snow and unpredictability. Climax, Winters ‘20/’21. Wet, unfavorable conditions. Joe is frustrated. He doesn’t make enough money to buy the house. Act III, Interview. Will Joe continue? When would he stop? What else would he do? His answers show even more uncertainty.

Weiying Olivia Huang
Grant Award: $4,600.00
Public Art and Placemaking is a documentary film illustrating the benefits and necessity of public art in communities through the artists who make it happen. The film explores creative processes, public spaces and community engagement through artist interviews and working processes. Each of the featured artists in the film connect to their communities through different media such as mural, performance, sculpture and architecture. Some artists work with community members, students, and volunteers, highlighting the relationship between the arts and shared public space. It also introduces their communities, and how these communities see the artwork being created around them and how public art contributes to community value and identity.

Zhonghe (Elena) Li
Grant Award: $4,600.00
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have endured social isolation and some kind of suffering, including grief for many. We probably also have noticed that while we are forced to slow down, other life forms in nature have thrived. Art of living together is the positive life philosophy I hope to promote through art. It is about how we reach a balance with nature – “being one with Nature”. When we become the overpower, we will witness disasters such as extreme weather, pandemic and species extinction. The project is to tell the story of interconnection of beings on Earth - Art of Living Together using a combination of papercutting, drawing/painting and animation. The project will contain two major parts: (1) will tell stories together with diverse Cambridge communities, by giving workshops/programs, (2) will tell stories of art of living together by artistic creations, give demo/workshops of by collaborating with Cambridge community organizations to reach more diversified groups, and to tell stories together.

Emily Newman
Grant Award: $2,760.00
I will be working at Graham and Parks Elementary school with the 5th graders and Kindergarten classes to tell their individual stories about how they managed the pandemic through making ceramic tiles. By allowing youth to tell their own stories through clay, they will be giving their voice to their experience. I will teach techniques, then students will plan their tile on paper, then create them and lastly glaze them. I will be doing this with the art teacher Liana Trail in her art class with the students. We will then have an art show in which the community can participate in and mount the tiles somewhere in the courtyard as a permanent installment. Liana will assist me as needed and we will begin the work with the 5th graders first in the January and February months and work with Kindergarteners in March and April with the goal of the Art Show happening in May 2022.

Lakiyra Williams
Grant Award: $4,600.00
Boston-based artist and musician Oompa released her third album, Unbothered, in October 2021, building on two previous records Cleo (2019) and November 3rd (2018). The Unbothered Film is a continuation of that body of work, with film vignettes for each track of the Unbothered album that builds into one media experience that can stand alone as its own artwork separate from the record. The Unbothered Film will build on the expression of healing, honesty, and joy - not only through music but also through visual mosaics and storytelling. The film will invite others to see themselves in an alternative future in which Blackness and queerness are allowed to be unbothered - not defined solely by trauma. The film will be available online in its entirety as well as presented through public screenings (Summer 2022) and is being produced by 9th Planet Productions.


Abilities Dance
Grant Award: $2,500.00
This grant is written to support Cambridge Public School students and broader after-school programs with free tickets to see our April 2021 production at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge. This grant supports those tickets so we can still support our artists and overall production with the much needed ticket support.

Friends of Tobin School
Grant Award: $3,500.00
This funding will support students' exposure to live theatre: 1. Older students (120) will go to the Wheelock Theater and see a play. Current options for winter/spring are: The Wizard of Oz and Make Way for Ducklings. 2. Younger students (120) will see one production from the puppeteers of the Puppet Showplace at the school (we would bring them on-site to the school with the funding. Puppet Showplace offers outdoor productions or Tobin has a stage).