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PRESS RELEASE - Mass Humanities Grants Enhance Creative Programming by Jacob's Pillow and the Ashfield Historical Society
July 21, 2009

Boston- Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) and State Representative Denis E. Guyer (D-Dalton) announce grants awarded by Mass Humanities to support creative programming at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Ashfield Historical Society. 
 
Established in 1974 as the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Mass Humanities is a programming and grant-making organization that receives support from the NEH and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as private sources.  The organization supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life throughout the Commonwealth.
 
Jacob’s Pillow and the Ashfield Historical Society each received $5,000 to support and expand programming.  This quarter the Mass Humanities board of directors approved a total of $95,949 in grant assistance to support creative projects statewide.
 
“Our region is often cited for its wealth of cultural institutions,” said Downing. “I am appreciative of Mass Humanities’ continued support for these organizations that do so much to enrich our lives and deepen our understanding and appreciation of art, history and culture.”
 
“These grants will allow Jacob’s Pillow and the Ashfield Historical Society to continue and expand upon the important work they do within their communities,” said Guyer.
 
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, located in Becket, will utilize its grant to support fourteen free, innovative “Pillow Talks” – presentations in varying formats all designed to deepen the experience of visitors by increasing their understanding of the colorful history and varied forms of dance.
 
“These talks embody the Pillow’s mission to engage and deepen public appreciation and support for dance and Jacob’s Pillow is deeply grateful for this support from Mass Humanities,” said Mariclare Hulbert, Jacob’s Pillow Communications Manager.
 
The Ashfield Historical Society’s grant will expand an oral history and photography project entitled World War II Veterans’ Voices. The ambitious project focuses on the stories of twelve additional veterans from five hill towns in western Massachusetts.
 
“The World War II Veteran's Voices exhibit by Jackie Cooper is now on display,” said Grace Lesure, Curator of the Ashfield Historical Society. “The combination of photography and the written word is very personal and draws you into the lives of the veterans, who are truly unsung heroes that quietly pass through our lives. It is truly an honor to share this exhibit with the public.”
 
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