A wide variety of cultural events in Andover held at schools, churches, museums and even the summer's weekly Farmer's Market, were awarded grants from the Andover Cultural Council and recently recognized at a reception.

A total of 17 grants were awarded by the ACC and recipients were recognized on May 8.

“The grants will fund an array of activities throughout the town – projects that truly reflect the breadth of creative energy that exists in Andover, and reach countless residents, ranging from families, to youth, to senior citizens," Leslie Seaton Salis of the Cultural Council wrote in an email to the Townsman.

This year's grant recipients attended a very different venue for the annual reception. Traditionally held at cultural sites that have included the Addison Gallery at Phillips Academy, Memorial Hall Library, The Center for History and Culture and the former Andover Bookstore, this year's reception was held at the Riverbend Mill on Redspring Road, directly upstairs from Oak & Iron and Mak & Co.

"This was a site that we’ve had our eye on for quite a while because it is the embodiment of Andover - Andover past; Andover present: and Andover future," Seaton Malis said.

She said that the renovated mill reflects all the amazing possibilities and potential of raw space and what that space can mean to Andover as the town heads into the future.

"For culture and the arts here in town, it can be a game changer, and we wanted that to be in people's minds," she said.

State Sen. Barry Finegold, state Rep. Tram Nguyen, and Town Manager Andrew Flanagan spoke at the event, along with Massachusetts Cultural Council progam officer, Mina Kim.

Wood Hill Middle School teacher, Norma Villareal, gave the audience an advance glimpse at her Council-funded project that will take place later this month, and Andover Poet Laureate Linda Flaherty Haltmaier closed out the evening with a reading of her poem, “Full Glow”, which was just named as a finalist for the prestigious Robert Frost Prize.

The Andover Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 councils serving all towns in Massachusetts. The program is unique in that it is the largest grassroots funding program in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities yearly. The annual appropriation is provided by the state legislature to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which in turn, allocates funds to each community. The final decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed members.

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2019 Andover Cultural Club grant recipients are:

Andover Baptist Church: Community wide gospel concert, Andover Baptist Church

Imagine Studios: Walking the Way Today; An Historical and Musical Pilgrimage, Memorial Hall Library 

Museum of Printing: Printing for All Seasons, Museum of Printing

Mouli Pal: Golden Age Indian Dance Concert and Activity, Senior Center

New Repertory Theatre: Classic Repertory Company, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Wood Hill Middle School

Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild: High School Drama Festival, The Collins Center

The Musary: Musical Instrument Lending Acquisitions, Andover Public Schools

Merrimack Valley Community Music School: Free community performances, Andover Farmers’ Market

Art Quest: Art Education Program, West Elementary

Spotlight Playhouse: Community Spring Musical, “Secret Garden” at Pike Auditorium

Delvena Theatre Company: “Lizzie Borden and the 40 Whacks”, Senior Center

Wood Hill Middle School: Zapotek textile folk art and multidisciplinary Spanish program

Roger Bruno: “Celebration of Song, the Great American Songbook & Beyond”, Memorial Hall Library

South School: “Roots to Grow” mosaic mural creation

Andover Choral Society: “The Music of Florence Price” New England premiere of first African American female composer

New England Classical Singers: Fiftieth Anniversary World Premiere, “Merrimack” concert

Tommy Rull: “Musical Journey Through the Years”, Senior Center

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