Range of arts -- visual, film, literature

Arlington Cultural Council logo

Susan Larson, chair of Arlington Cultural Council (ACC), has announced the award of 24 grants totaling $17,774, for cultural programs in Arlington, ranging from $280 to $1,154, with an average grant of $740. Grantees were chosen from 37 competitive applications.

“We are continuously impressed by the caliber of projects presented to our council," Larson said in an April 12 news release. "This year's grant recipients are equally exceptional, and we look forward to watching their performances, programs, and events unfold throughout 2021.”

The 2021 grant recipients represent a wide range of arts: music, visual, film and literature.

Sound on Mystic

Sound on Mystic is a site-specific audio installation combining music, storytelling, spoken word and ambiance into an immersive experience. It is accessed through a mobile app that uses GPS data to cue different sounds as the user moves along a two-mile stretch of the Mystic River in Arlington and Medford.

The project includes 12 unique sound works by local artists, identified through a process of community outreach and engagement. Uniting these diverse sounds is the river itself, and its complex social and natural histories as a site of exchange, labor, conflict and inspiration. The project engages with the river’s past, while imagining new relationships with the waterway.

Spheres of Influence Livestream

This project is a live-stream concert, to be broadcast on Facebook and YouTube, for members of the Arlington community to watch in the comfort of their own homes. This concert will feature faculty of Arlington’s Morningside Music Studio, consisting of Dan Fox, Jonathan Fagan, Matt Hespelt, and John Dalton.

Voices of Our Youth/Arlington International Film Festival

Voices of Our Youth seeks to foster appreciation for different cultures by exploring the lives of people around the globe through independent film and to nurture the next generation of filmmakers. The project is juried by professionals in the film industry and awards made in the following genres: documentary, narrative, animation, experimental, lighting, editing, script and audio. Filmmakers in Arlington and the state of Massachusetts receive special recognition.

A two-hour program is curated and screened during the festival in November 2021 and also screened in numerous other locations throughout the year.

DelvenaTheatre: 'The Dickens You Say'

Charles Dickens wrote some of the most powerful and imaginative novels of all time. His insight into the human condition is matched only by William Shakespeare. In addition to being one of the most popular and important writers in the English language, Dickens was a pioneer for social change. His writings take a look at what connects us -- not at what separates us.

“The Dickens you Say” reflects into the life and loves of the great man. Through monologues and scenes, the actors embody the ridiculous, romantic and frightening characters that the novelist so richly created and explore with the audience some of Dickens’s romantic adventures. With this production of “The Dickens You Say,” the goal is to amuse, entertain and celebrate those precious community connections. At the end of the performance, the cast will open up to the audience for discussion regarding Dickens.

Attracting Birds, Butterflies, Bees, etc

John Root will offer a PowerPoint presentation via Zoom providing guidance on welcoming birds, butterflies, bees and other beneficial wildlife to our neighborhoods and communities. Participants will learn how to provide these essential organisms with food, water, shelter and places to rear their young, with a focus on establishing native woody and herbaceous perennials that meet these habitat needs. Organic techniques for establishing pollinator gardens, wildflower meadows, and other plantings of native vegetation will be presented, with the opportunity for participants to ask questions. The program will be recorded for subsequent broadcasts on community television.

Popup Step About (Irish Dance)

Popup Step About is a series of spontaneous outdoor dances by the adult students of the Rebecca McGowan School of Irish Dance, featuring traditional Irish dance and music. Dancers will perform in favorite Arlington parks, and performances will be filmed and compiled. A video show featuring several dances from the Popup Step About was presented at the Council on Aging for St. Patrick’s Day. Additional performances will also be filmed for distribution to senior organizations and ACMi.

Restoration of Cyrus Dallin Self-Portrait

The Cyrus Dallin Art Museum will restore and frame a c.1915 self-portrait by Cyrus Dallin. This oil on canvas painting was donated to the museum by the descendants of Cyrus Dallin's sister Daisy Dallin Southworth. It is the only two-dimensional self-portrait by the sculptor known to exist. The painting will be cleaned, relined on a new canvas backing and in-painted to correct areas of loss. Following restoration, it will be mounted in a museum-quality, period-appropriate frame. This project will culminate in a public unveiling at the Dallin Museum in the fall.

Arlington Historical Society: Sampler Archive/Digitization

The Arlington Historical Society will rehouse, digitize and present a subset of  its collection: 32 samplers mostly from the early 19th century, which are captivating artifacts of historic adolescence. Samplers will be sewn onto padded archival boards and stored in archival boxes for protection. The project will also entail photography of each item with studio lighting, updates to digital records, research and inclusion in an online database for ongoing access. A smaller number will be selected for more detailed research in a series of blog articles. Public programming will include an online lecture using the newly digitized objects as illustration and the recreation of a pattern for modern stitchers.

ACAC Neighborhood Haiku in the Heights

We’re celebrating spring in Arlington Heights with Neighborhood Haiku – a public art project bringing original poetry to storefront windows. Building on the success of our 2018 Bikeway Haiku we’re inviting the whole community to take up pen and write a three-line poem inspired by the distinctive character and neighborhood life of the Heights.

Thirty haiku will be selected to be hand-painted in storefront windows as a way to show our local small businesses some love. All haiku will be published on ArtsArlington.org, and all authors will be invited to read at a June celebration. So take the haiku challenge! Community and conversation, shops and restaurants, history and nature – there’s a lot to inspire you. We’ve all been through a difficult year; lift your spirit and reconnect with neighbors by writing a brief tribute to the complex and vibrant world around us.

Haiku offers a fun and challenging form to capture a closely observed moment, often with a surprise twist at the end. You can write on your own, collaborate with friends or family, or take a workshop. Workshop schedule and registration, our open call, rules, inspiring examples and links to resources are all available at artsarlington.org/programs/heights-haiku.

Kalliope Reed Quintet at the Regent

The Kalliope Reed Quintet will present two concerts at the Regent Theatre this summer. The first concert will feature world premieres of works by Don Krishnaswami and Vaibhav Mohanty, close colleague and former student, respectively, of world-renowned saxophonist and former Arlington resident Kenneth Radnofsky. The second concert will feature the Boston premiere of works by Canadian composer Mathieu Lussier and Peruvian composer Daniel Cueto.

The Regent Theatre and Kalliope formed a close partnership in the summer of 2020. Together, they presented a unique socially distanced, live-streamed series of 11 concerts, using the Regent’s state-of-the art production equipment. This fruitful collaboration will continue, supporting the Regent Theatre in its crucial role of providing space for local artists to share their art with the community.

Arlington Author Salon

Organized by a group of community and literary-minded Arlington residents and library staff, the Arlington Author Salon hosts a free quarterly literary event on a Thursday evening, usually at Kickstand Café, but currently online via Zoom. Each event features three different local authors around a specific, varying theme. The authors read from and discuss their work, and engage with the audience via a Q&A session. The books are available for sale via local bookseller The Book Rack—in person when possible, and via a dedicated page on the bookstore’s web site for virtual events.

Each presentation includes an innovative use of props—slides, music, dance, even food or drink when in person—to provide a fuller artistic experience. Featured genres include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, journalism, etc. In-person events each draw a crowd of 70 to 100 people, while virtual ones draw about 50. The Arlington Author Salon takes place quarterly the first week of July, October, January and April, with some exceptions to circumvent holidays.

'Portable Window' by Tory Fair

Tory Fair’s sculpture, "Portable Window," gives agency to explore how we frame ourselves in relationship to each other and to our surroundings at large. The sculpture is essentially a wood wheel with handles and a rectangular window in the center that frames a view. While our digital culture has made it incredibly easy to frame and take pictures without restraint, "Portable Window" slows down and makes framing our surroundings a more physical act in sync with our bodies. Generating conversations, happenings and time-lapse videos from rolling and positioning "Portable Window" in accessible locations such as Spy Pond opens up several platforms to listen and learn in an unprecedented time of pandemic anxiety and cultural upheaval.

Arlington Jazz Workshops / Dan Fox

Arlington Jazz will present six, one-hour, online workshops/presentations throughout 2021. Its goal is to continue to fulfill our mission of bringing high-quality, year-round programming to Arlington and surrounding communities. Half of the workshops will be geared toward musicians looking to learn more and improve their craft. The remaining will aim at a general audience of music lovers who can enjoy and learn from the presentations.

January 7 Anibal Cruz Cesar and Irisley Luis Gomez present an overview of Afro-Cuban jazz styles. This workshop will touch on styles including son, timba, bembe, rumba, and others used in Latin jazz.

February 28 Jonathan Fagan presents Jazz and Social Justice.

March 21 Rafael Barata presents Brazilian rhythms.

April 11 Finding Our Voice in Song Workshop with Panayota Haloulakou.

Two more events to be determined.

'Los Olvidados' (The Forgotten Ones) by Michael Ambrosino

"Los Olvidados" is a one-hour audio documentary on the systemic discrimination Afro-Latin musicians face within the Jazz community, produced by Arlington resident Michael Ambrosino. Transcendent, connecting the vast influence that the African diaspora has had on American music, Afro-Latin artistry remains integral to the birth, history and future of Jazz.

Historically omitted, snubbed academically and often segregated within jazz, Afro-Latin artists continue to face discrimination even while constructing some of the most compelling musical narratives on culture, history, and the racial dynamics that bind them together. Featuring influential contemporary musicians, critics and curators of Afro-Latin music, "Los Olvidados" will explore how this musical tradition continues to combat a legacy of indifference, while remaining at the forefront of musical traditions transforming Jazz.

ACA: The Artist's Toolbox

ACA will present a series of six professional-development workshops focused on financial, marketing and technology skills that artists need to survive in a post-Covid world. The goal is to build community and mutual support among local artists working at all levels while offering practical tools for building confidence, resilience, and sustainable business practices.

Topics will include Accounting for Artists, Pricing & Selling Artwork, Photographing Art, Marketing & Social Media, Branding, and Navigating Online Sales & Platforms. Three virtual workshops will be offered in the spring followed by three in-person workshops in the fall (for 1.5 to 3 hours each on dates to be determined). One hope is that the series will arm artists with skills for successful participation in Arlington Open Studios on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

Making Art While Grieving Death

Art-making has long helped humans reckon with death -- and is even more vital in current times. Our two-part program addresses cultural, artistic and practical responses to mortality and loss. Part 1 will be a two-hour interactive Zoom session titled “Art as Ritual Surrounding Death.” We will explore art-making as a means to grieve and commemorate our losses, using examples from death-care practices that allow for creative expression.

Using visuals and video, we will share experiences of ordinary folks uniquely adorning the vigil spaces and vessels of their departed loved ones. Part 2 will be a hands-on workshop, “Decorating a Vessel for Death Reflection, Preparation or Commemoration.” Using a symbolic coffin as a focal point and container to represent loss, participants will create a personal keepsake decorated with media such as paint, photos, fabric and decoupage. 

Japanese Folktales at Bishop School

Bishop Elementary, with its focus on literacy, and social-emotional and multicultural awareness, invites Parents’ Choice Award-winning storyteller Motoko to share with second graders her fun and engaging Japanese folktales in May. This program consists of one 45-minute, in-person outdoor storytelling session, in the school’s courtyard, one 45-minute Zoom session for remote students and a two-week showing of four original, prerecorded videos of folktales, Japanese culture and origami instruction by Motoko, accompanied by study guides. 

Following all the health-and-safety rules, each session starts with Motoko’s original song titled "Keep Each Other Safe," a message to children in the pandemic. She will tell folktales enlivened with music, movement and humor, demonstrate an origami activity and answer questions from the students.

The Nourish Project at LexFarm

"Nourish at LexFarm: As Artist in Residence at Lexington Community Farm (LexFarm)" and the abutting Arlington Reservoir trail, local choreographer Jessica Roseman will engage visitors with creative connections between dance and growing food. With simple and fun choreography for everyone, Nourish invites visitors to enrich our experience of sustaining ourselves.

For more information, visit jessicaroseman.com/nourish

Free and open to the public (at scheduled times to be determined) from spring to fall 2021 at Lexington Community Farm, 52 Lowell St., Lexington.

Habitat/Mass Audubon: 'Sensory Friendly Days'

"Sensory-Friendly Days" at the Habitat Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary are an opportunity for families and children with autism or other sensory issues to connect with nature and each other in a sensory-friendly environment (fewer people, less crowded trails/exhibits, and less noise). Held monthly from April to Sept 2021 (six in total; two hours each). A medical diagnosis is not required to participate, and all are welcome. Learn more at www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/habitat and on Facebook @MassAudubonHabitat

Healing Garden: 'Writing for Wellness'

The Healing Garden's "Writing for Wellness" offers clients two programs using writing as a tool to tap into the participants' creative modalities to help cultivate self-discovery, presence, awareness and growth through writing. Writing Your Way Through Cancer, runs weekly on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, 47 weeks of the year. The Healing Power of Expressive Writing: The Story You Need to Tell, six-week series runs twice a year on Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m. Learn more at healinggardensupport.org and on Facebook @VirginiaThurstonHealingGarden

True Story Theater: active bystanders/bigotry

True Story Theater will offer four events in the spring of 2021:

Two interactive storytelling performances, highlighting the experience of marginalized people in the community: one for adults and one for families (including children) as well as including a few stories of people who were active bystanders.

Two interactive workshops on how to be an active bystander standing up against bigotry in our community, with our actors dramatizing situations to enable them to be more real: one for adults and one for families (including teens).

Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra Family Concert

This year’s program will include a featured piece of the Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra's (APO) 2021 Family Concert. Titled "How Bear Lost Its Tail," it was to be prerecorded and released for viewing March 14. Based on a Native American folktale and set to music by Arlington composer Pat Tassone, this "musical children's story" will feature the orchestra, a narrator and a series of illustrations on the screen.

Because of Covid-19 and public health guidelines, musicians will record their parts at home. Orlando Cela, APO music director, assembled the recordings, narration and illustrations provided by the artist hired for this project. The APO collaborated with the Arlington Public Schools by having K-5 students submit artwork relating to the story to the philharmonic website before the concert. Videotaped pieces from previous family concerts will complete this event.

'Confluence': Human Impact on Mass. Waterways

Dams, industrial dumping and runoff pollution have been damaging Massachusetts' waterways for centuries. Since the1970s, efforts to improve the water quality, preserve habitats and deal with invasive species have made headway, but there is still much work to be done. We aim to inspire Spy Pond visitors to come together to take action in preserving and improving local water bodies.

Combining skills as a weaver and a collage artist, those involved fabricated “Confluence” using nylon rope, fused plastic, Tyvek and acrylic paint. All plastic and Tyvek was donated by members of the community. The sprang-woven net is interwoven with plastic strips to suggest rippling water. The extremities of the waters show the damage of silt, toxic chemicals and algae bloom. Interspersed among the waters are native fish and a turtle. Using nylon rope, we will suspend our piece between two trees to form a tableau about 18 feet wide by 4.5 feet high. Behind the effort is Kimberly Harding of Arlington.

Hip Hop Dance Chair Exercise for Seniors

This exercise class from MUSIC Dance Edu is one hour. Elders do a complete chair, dance, warm-up and hip hop class that begins and ends in the chairs. We travel through time on the “Soul Train” and chair dance to clean-cut hip hop and R & B songs. We use creative props such as smiley faces, the drums, and the African maracas to help make our soul train journey come to life. Senior participants will leave feeling more limber.  “All Aboard the Hip Hop Soul Train Exercise Express.”

The ACC is part of a network of Local Cultural Councils (LCC) serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC program is the largest grass-roots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community. model community arts, humanities and science projects funded by the LCCs across the state.

Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. Current members’ names can be found on the ACC website. ACC’s email address is arlingtonculturalcouncil at gmail.com and its Facebook page is here >>

The Arlington Cultural Council will seek applications again next fall. Information and forms will be available online. The application deadline is Oct. 15.

Dec. 30, 2019: Cultural Council awards 2020 grants totaling $16,071


This news announcement was published Tuesday, April 13, 2021.