$119,882 In Cambridge Arts Grants Support Local Music, Dance, Videos, Literature

Thirty-one projects will receive grants totaling $119,882 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 ranging from music to video to dance to literature. They represent the wealth of artistic activity across the city.

Funded Cambridge projects highlight Indian poetry, Puerto Rican elders, voting rights, queer lives, climate change, and the Charles River. Grant-funded projects range from a queer Bible musical to a locally-made comics festival to a documentary about Rodney’s Bookstore and Central Square. (See full list of grants below.)

Cambridge Arts tripled funding for grants with support from the City of Cambridge for its current, 2020-2021 grants cycle. In addition to $28,500 in funding from the state arts agency, these new Cambridge Local Cultural Council Grants are supported by an additional $91,382 from the City of Cambridge--76 percent of the total. These grants join three new funding opportunities Cambridge Arts offered last fall—including $99,000 in Organizational Investment Grants awarded in December plus $45,000 in Art for Racial Justice Grants and $90,000 for Port Neighborhood Grants, both announced earlier this month.

“The City of Cambridge had been planning a major increase to its funding for the arts, and we’re especially pleased at this time to be able to share this increase with the community as artists and creative organizations are facing crises from shut downs to prevent the spread of coronavirus," Cambridge Arts Executive Director Jason Weeks said.

Cambridge contributes substantial funding to arts and cultural grants in addition to funding it receives through the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Local Cultural Council Program. In the 2019-2020 grant cycle, Cambridge added $82,000 to $27,600 from the state arts agency. For the 2020-2021 grant cycle, overall, Cambridge has allocated more than $320,000 plus $20,000 from the Cambridge Community Foundation and $5,000 from the Curious George Fund.

Local Cultural Council Grant Winners:



Dance
• Peter DiMuro, Stones to Rainbows/Gay to Queer Lives: $4,600. Public engagement and performance of a multi-media sculpture/installation of closet doors and stone bases, created using sound and image content from interviews with LGBTQ+ general public and performing artists. Also present ”Queer Cabarets" featuring artist/contributors plus additional LGBTQ+ performance artists using the installation as a backdrop on two evenings at Starlight Square.

• The Flavor Continues: $4,600. A collaboration between The Flavor Continues and Cambridge Community Center for the Arts to provide studio spacing for street and club dancers to choreograph, practice, teach, session, and collaborate from January to June 2021.

• Ana Masacote, Queer Bodies in Motion: $4,600. To draw attention to discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community and the adverse effects it can have on mental health, queer-identified dancers and select musical artists from the Cambridge/Boston community will premiere a virtual Afro-Latin dance production at Cambridge’s Oberon Theater on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

• José Mateo Ballet Theatre, New Dances for Climate Justice: $4,600. Three local choreographers of color will create new dances about the intersection of racial justice and climate action. The works will be performed by three youth groups.

Literature:
• India Discovery Center, New England Folk Poetry and Oral Literature Festival: $2,760. A full-day of poetry recitations, musical renderings, choral groups and instrumental music celebrating folk literature from the Indian subcontinent as recalled by poets in New England.

• Titi Ngwenya, Brave Space Book Club: $500. Monthly book club meetings about books that broaden knowledge of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI).

Multidisciplinary:
• Chavi Bansal, World Music and Dance: $4,600. Six outdoor, socially-distanced performances of Asian dance (Indian, Korean, and Chinese) and Western modern dance vocabulary with Persian and Balkan folk music to “find a common language of rhythm and gesture that speaks across the borders of language and culture.”

• Brain Arts Organization, Inc., Damo Suzuki Performance: $2,530. Pioneering Japanese singer Damo Suzuki to perform an all-ages concert of original material with Cambridge-based visual artists contributing a video light show and Cambridge-based musicians backing Suzuki’s band.

• Cambridge Women’s Center, Free Creative Workshops for All /Women/: $4,600. Creative workshops for participants who have been affected by homelessness or housing instability, domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, food insecurity, social isolation, mental illness, substance use disorders, disabilities, and/or other types of trauma.

• Michelle Falcón Fontánez, A Call to Our Ancestors: $4,600. Photos portraying generations of Puerto Rican/Boricua women, each symbolizing a different element of the culture as well as their roles in society. Community members will be encouraged to share anecdotes, quotes, or items that represent their ancestors.

• Deborah Lake Fortson, IDA 2021: $4,600. Performance art project addresses how voting is a sacred right in a democracy as adult and student performers chalk on sidewalks a 1910 text by journalist Ida B. Wells and a performer wearing 1918 period dress sits reading a newspaper. A sign invites audience to ask questions.

• Green Cambridge, Our Animal Neighbors: $4,566. Highlighting the concepts of home, shelter, and interdependence with neighbors via an outdoor art/citizen science workshop, kamishibai storytelling performance, an outdoor city nature festival, animal video series, parades, and two STEAM activities.

Music:
• Veronica Barron, Sound Shadows album: $3,060. Recording album of theatrical show combining shadow puppetry, folk ballads, banjo and Irish step dance, all set in “a domestic, feminine world—teacups, portraits, a sewing machine, a kitchen table—and aims to reframe this world as nuanced and worthy of attention.”

• Cambridge Community Center, The Hop Hop Transformation: $4,600. Program teaches urban teens the authentic history of hip hop culture, the role it plays in their lives and in society as a whole, and equips them with the skills and resources to produce, write, record, perform, and distribute their own hip hop music.

• Castle of our Skins, Dream-Visions Concert: $4,600. Evening-length concert inspired by poet Paul Laurence Dunbar explores themes of wonderment and imagination, via a world premiere chamber piece composed by contemporary African American composer David Sanford, a high energy work by Afro-British contemporary composer Hannah Kendall, and a neo-romantic work by 19th century British trailblazer Samuel Coleridge- Taylor.

• Convergence Ensemble, American Voice in Poetry and Song: $4,140. Live-streamed concert of tenor Davron Monroe and former National Slam Poetry Competition winner Regie Gibson leading performances of art songs of Chicago Renaissance composer Florence Price, spirituals, and pieces by Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Nigerian-Jamaican composer Noel Da Costa.

• Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, Storytime with Live Contemporary Music!: $1,000. Commission composers to write new music for storytelling sessions for children.

• Eureka Ensemble, Rising Tides: $4,600. Inspired by speakers from local environmental organizations, students will collaboratively write lyrics inspired by their experiences of climate change, which Eureka and a librettist will then turn into a song to premiere in April.

• Alex Lemski, Creative Music Series: $3,013. Three concerts of adventurous jazz/new music by out of town national musicians with creative participation from Boston musicians, recognizing social and cultural realities of women and musicians of color.

• The Saint John of Damascus Society, Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation: $4,600. Vocal ensemble Cappella Romana performs Eastern Orthodox sacred music commissioned by the Society at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Harvard Square.

• Sarasa Ensemble, Sarasa 2020-21 Virtual Outreach: $1,840. Adapting its usual in-person concerts for pandemic safety, the ensemble will record video performances to reach more vulnerable members of their audience—teenagers in detention centers whom they serve in the greater Boston area.

• Shelter Music Boston, Transformative Classical Music for People Who are Homeless in Cambridge: $4,600. Classical chamber music concerts for homeless shelters and other sheltering environments (transitioned to virtual programming in response to the pandemic) to promote community, creative interaction, respect, and therapeutic benefit.

Theater
• Cambridgeport School, 3rd Grade Playwriting Residency with Central Square Theater: $4,600. Third-graders from Cambridgeport School will collaboratively write and perform a play inspired by their study of animals and plants in the Charles River and the effects of different events on the river and its organisms spanning the eras.

• The Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild, Theater Collaboration with Cambridge Public Schools: $1,000. The Guild has partnered with Andrea Zuniga, Director of Visual and Performing Arts for Cambridge Public Schools, to help provide professional online educational content for high school and middle school theater students and teachers.

• Jade Sylvan, Beloved King: A Queer Bible Musical EP Release Concert: $4,600. A concert (an outdoor and/or virtual concert unless things are better then) to celebrate the release of a new EP consisting of six songs from the full-length musical based on a queer reading of the story of young King David in the Bible.

Visual Art/Film
• Belmont World Film, Belmont World Film's Family Festival, Virtual Edition: $1,840. Virtual festival of short and feature length films from around the world gives Cambridge children the opportunity to learn about the lives of children in other countries and gain sensitivity towards people of different cultures.

• Cambridge Public Schools, Media Arts Studio: Mentor Artist Internship: $4,600. Funding for two 17-22-year-old students to work in the Media Arts Studio after-school video production program.

• Weiying Olivia Huang, The Story of Rodney’s Bookstore: $4,600. A documentary film capturing the history and public memory of Central Square through the lens of one local business, Rodney’s Bookstore.

• Zhonghe (Elena) Li, The Last Rhino: $4,600. Through a multi-media presentation, artists tell the story of the world’s last male northern white rhino, which died in 2018, and give demos/workshops.

• Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE): $4,600. Free, annual community arts festival showcasing comics creators in the Greater Boston area featuring a marketplace, educational programming, a mini-grants program, and an annual podcast series.

• Nancia Music, I Am Queen: $1,633. Will film women of various ages and backgrounds around Cambridge to highlight their accomplishments, their beauty and power.
Page was posted on 2/25/2021 12:43 PM
Page was last modified on 2/25/2021 12:46 PM
Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement


Service Requests

Enter a service request via Commonwealth Connect for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.