Pittsfield, Mass. – Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto today announced that the Pittsfield Cultural Council, a local agency funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, has awarded a $100,000 grant to fund an umbrella program entitled Pittsfield Panorama. The year-long collaborative initiative will involve more than 30 local cultural groups, which will develop collaborative programs throughout the year to explore the rich resilient heritage of Pittsfield from its inception in 1761 to today. The goal of Pittsfield Panorama is to create an invigorated pride and joy in the City, past and present, and an excitement and confidence for Pittsfield’s future. Partnering organizations will produce collaborative, multi-discipline experiences that will enlighten and engage our citizens throughout the City in 2011.
Mayor Ruberto sincerely thanked Pittsfield Cultural Council (PCC) and the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) saying “We are so pleased to receive this funding to help us celebrate our great City and teach our citizens of all ages about our rich history, as well as allow residents and visitors alike to experience our cultural diversity. This is especially meaningful during the year that we commemorate our 250th Anniversary.”
MCC Executive Director, Anita Walker, praised the Pittsfield Cultural Council and Pittsfield Panorama saying, “This program is a wonderful example of the way the City of Pittsfield successfully fosters and encourages collaborative arts initiatives that bring the community together. The Pittsfield Cultural Council has a long history of supporting this kind of work in the community, and the MCC appreciates the time they volunteer to the arts and cultural community.”
Each cultural project under this Pittsfield Panorama umbrella will offer free or easily accessible programs to people of all ages and ethnic and socio-economic groups. Pittsfield Cultural Council president, Sheila McKenna, noted “We worked diligently reviewing the proposals before us, and felt that funding this project would best serve the people of Pittsfield bringing them an extraordinary abundance of wonderful programs. We were particularly impressed by the great array of collaboration between so many local cultural organizations.”
“At their best, investing in arts and culture brings people together while helping them learn about and from each other,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield). “With its diverse make-up and mission I am confident that Pittsfield Panorama will do just that, and I am glad the Pittsfield Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council recognized this capacity by making this investment.” Downing serves as the Senate vice chairman of the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.
According to Mary Rentz, co-chair of the Pittsfield 250 Committee, Pittsfield Panorama ties in nicely with the anniversary celebration. “We are delighted that the Pittsfield Cultural Council had the vision for this collaborative initiative for 2011. It allowed Pittsfield’s cultural organizations to work together on designing the Pittsfield Panorama and projects that celebrate some theme of Pittsfield’s past, present or future. We are extremely grateful to have the chance to bring these projects to fruition for the benefit of the citizens of Pittsfield. ”
The organizations participating this grant initiative include Arrowhead, Artscape, Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Art Association, Berkshire Athenaeum, Berkshire Carousel, Berkshire Community College, Berkshire Jazz, Berkshire Lyric Theatre, Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Music School, Colonial Theatre, Cultural Development Board, Downtown Pittsfield Cultural Association, Eagles Band, Fourth of July Parade, Friends of Berkshire Athenaeum, Hancock Shaker Village, Here at Home, Lift Ev’ry Voice, Local Church Choirs, Office of Cultural Development, PCTV, Pittsfield Ethnic Fair, Pittsfield Public Schools, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Samuel Harrison Society, Sister Cities, Storefront Artist Project, 3rd Thursdays, Veterans Services, and Youth Alive.
The Pittsfield Cultural Council, part of the MCC’s Local Cultural Council program, began giving grants to the City of Pittsfield in 1980, and since then has granted over a half million dollars to individual artists, agencies, schools, museums and organizations. The work of the council is done by its members who are volunteers from the community. The Council manages the local Cultural grant selection process, a scholarship program, and other programs available and accessible to the Pittsfield Community. In addition to funding projects, the Pittsfield Cultural Council has collaborated with the Berkshire Museum for the past five years to present the artist lecture series “Eye to Ear”, free to the public.
Members of the Pittsfield Cultural Council are Sheila McKenna, President; Suzanne Engels, Secretary; Elizabeth Kassel, Grants Committee Chair; Marsha Rose McDermott, past President; Jennifer Raser, Scholarship Chair; and Sandra Tynan, Treasurer. In addition to the Collaborative Initiative grant, this year the PCC will award 44 grants to local artists and organizations.
Each year the Pittsfield Cultural Council invites artists, teachers, arts agencies and those involved in the interpretive sciences to apply for funding through a grant cycle. A workshop is presented to the community to explain the format and process. Grants must be received by October 15th of each year. Information is available on the web site, www.mass-culture.org/Pittsfield.
The Gold Star Award for Excellence was awarded by the Mass Cultural Council to the Pittsfield “Focus is Our Children” in June 2009.