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RiverCulture keeps flowing

Recorder file/Peter MacDonald
Models in the recycled fashion show parade down avenue A in outfits made from recycled materials during a previous Block Party in Turners Falls.

Recorder file/Peter MacDonald Models in the recycled fashion show parade down avenue A in outfits made from recycled materials during a previous Block Party in Turners Falls.

TURNERS FALLS — The annual suspense over the continued existence of the Turners Falls RiverCulture village arts and economy booster program is over, this time for two years.

Town Planner Walter Ramsey said they were notified this week that the program had won two years of funding, which will be the program’s eighth and ninth, from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The grant runs to $24,400 in the first year and $22,800 in the second, with the continuation of the Third Thursday Turners Falls events and the artistic revitalization of a yet to be determined vacant storefront the central activities.

“Third Thursday, that’s a big effort. Our strategy is to get people coming into the town on a regular basis rather than just coming in for occasional events,” Ramsey said.

RiverCulture launched the now-annual Turners Falls Block Party and had a hand in organizing, promoting or funding many smaller, one-time events and the other big downtown festivals, but director Lisa Davol launched the serial event before leaving to work for the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.

Now that funding is secured, the search for a new director may begin, and Ramsey said it will shortly.

In the past, an annual award of $36,000 has provided about half the program’s budget, with the remainder in the form of a $15,000 town match plus donations and supporting businesses.

Selectmen have appropriated the town contribution in the past through community development funds, Ramsey said, once the grant is awarded.

The latest MCC funding is less than the program had applied for, $32,000 and $30,000.

“We will have to tighten the belt a bit, but we still expect to be able to deliver a full array of programming and marketing for cultural development in Turners Falls,” Ramsey wrote.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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