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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Waltham cultural groups see increase in funding

Published: September 13, 2013
Section: News

In Waltham, eight cultural groups, including one at Brandeis, have recently received an increase in annual grant funds from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This came after the council received a $1.6 million budget increase from a vote by the legislature. The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency that aims to improve quality of life and the local economy. It also aids nonprofits through grants, partnerships and services. The council appropriates millions of dollars to groups in all areas of Massachusetts.

The eight groups are receiving $41,690 this year, which is approximately $5,000 more than the previous year. Massachusetts Senator Mike Barrett, who represents the communities of Bedford, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Lincoln, Waltham and Weston as well as portions of Lexington and Sudbury, made the announcement.

“The grants ensure that the cultural resources unique to my district and other cultural work across the state continue to thrive and enrich people’s lives. The new state funding for the arts, humanities and sciences will have a meaningful impact,” Barrett said according to a article.

MusicUnitesUs (MUUS) at Brandeis is a recipient and will use the grant for the world music program that combines concerts by international visiting artists and music instruction for Waltham students. The group is led by Judith Eissenberg, professor of the Practice of Music at Brandeis.

The Community Outreach Group, Inc. is receiving $3,500 to provide pro bono services to improve public green spaces in underserved communities. Gore Place Society, Inc. is receiving $6,200 to preserve and promote the more than 200-year-old Gore Place. Jazz Composers Alliance, Inc. is receiving funds of $3,500 to put on a concert series as well as to support local jazz groups and improve educational outreach. Musicians of the Old Post Road, Inc. are receiving $3,200 to stimulate and educate live period instrument chamber music. The National Center for Jewish Film, Inc. will receive $5,500 to promote and maintain pieces of film that are significant to the Jewish community. The Robert Treat Paine Estate is receiving $3,500 to preserve the aforementioned estate. The Waltham Cultural Council is receiving the largest grant of nearly $14,000.

According to Eissenberg (MUS), the grant given to MUUS is intended to support the educational outreach component of the program. Participating schools, including Waltham, Somerville and Newton schools, can come to Brandeis or be visited by Brandeis to hear a program from visiting artists. “Our visiting artists come from diverse local traditions around the world: China, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, a number of groups with members from different countries in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and so on,” she said.

When the artists visit Brandeis, they spend between three and five days here before performing a public concert on Saturday evening. The grant is given to support artists’ fees and provide support for educational outreach.

“We feel particularly strongly about serving the Waltham community,” Eissenberg said. “With arts, and in this case, music, as the lens, students deepen their understanding and appreciation of cultures around the world, first-hand. The beauty, virtuosity, depth of tradition and personal narratives of these artists allow for engagement that is not possible through a textbook, a classroom or even a recorded performance.”