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Cultural Council urges support for Article 29

The Medfield Cultural Council urges support of the Selectmen sponsored warrant article 29 to provide municipal funds to match state funding received by the MA Cultural Council in the amount of $4,250.

In the past two years, the Council has only been able to fund about 25% of the total requests it receives. There is demonstrated need for additional funding. The application process is highly competitive with built-in accountability measures before applicants are reimbursed for their programs. The result is high quality programs presented in town, mostly by organizations and individuals who live here. Thirteen programs were funded in the past two years including: a dinner theater at First Parish, Dwight Derby House Concert Series, Gazebo Players Summer Shakespeare performances, in-school holiday concerts, Medfield Music Association Jazz Night, Woodland Theatre Company, Vine Lake Preservation Trust, and concerts by the Fathoms, Gerry Bergonzi, North Street, and Route 109 which alone leveraged a $250 grant into $7,350 in donations for Crohns and Colitis.

Approximately 2/3 of Medfield’s cultural groups are run by volunteers, and Council support is vital to their ability to deliver programs. When the Council partially funds a program, it generates additional support when the recipient seeks the remaining funds from individuals, businesses or foundations. In addition, the arts, unlike most industries, leverage a significant amount of event-related spending. For example, when patrons attend a cultural event they may eat out at a restaurant, shop in nearby stores, and pay a babysitter. This spending re-circulates in the local economy and generates dependable, sustainable commerce for local businesses.

Fifteen other communities already provide municipal funding to their local Cultural Councils. In the midst of look-alike towns offering chain store experiences, we encourage support for article 29 to expand funding for cultural programs that create unique experiences and make Medfield, well Medfield. Learn more about the Council at www.MedfieldCulture.org.

The Article 29 request represents a $0.35 per person expenditure to expand cultural offerings in Medfield, under state guidelines and managed by appointed volunteers. Medfield receives the minimum appropriation from the state and re-invests all of it for programs in Medfield. The Local Cultural Council program has been in place since the early 1980s. We urge you to vote in favor of Article 29.

 Jean Mineo

Chair, Medfield Cultural Council

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