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Gold Star Awards

The MCC Gold Star Awards, established in 2001, recognize exemplary cultural programs funded by Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) throughout the state. These awards offer every LCC, large or small, the opportunity to gain extra recognition for their vital contributions to their communities. The MCC honors the award-winning projects at a series of local award ceremonies are held in partnership with the nominating LCCs across the Commonwealth with other LCCs, community members, municipal officials, state legislators, and the public.

Honoring Gold Star Award winning programs helps LCCs gain the attention of future applicants and council members, improve local efforts to advocate for the arts, increase community pride, and provide an occasion for extra media coverage.Amesbury's Open Air Sculpture Show

Be sure to take advantage of this exciting opportunity by nominating an outstanding project.

About the Gold Star Program

In fiscal year 2016, MCC honored five outstanding programs in Acton, Lowell, Petersham, Pittsfield, and Worcester that emphasize education, cultural diversity and community building. These projects received funding ranging from $350 to $4,750. The community populations served ranged from 1,200 to 182,000 citizens. The 2016 winners are:

Essence of India
Nominated by the Concord Cultural Council

Asian American Cultures Festival: The Kingdom of Kambuja
Nominated by the Lowell Cultural Council

Transcendent Art Show
Nominated by the Petersham Cultural Council

Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival
Nominated by the Pittsfield Cultural Council

SPIT-IT Youth Producers and Film Screenings
Nominated by the Worcester Arts Council


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Award Criteria

  1. Gold Star projects must promote excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences.
    • Excellence : Features outstanding or exemplary works1 in the arts, humanities or sciences.
    • Access : Exposes under-served2 constituencies to the arts, humanities, or sciences or provides a new experience in the arts, humanities or sciences to a particular audience3.
    • Education : Provides quality arts /humanities /science educational experience4 to children or adults.
    • Diversity : Highlights a unique quality or the diverse character5 of the community.
  2. Projects nominated for a Gold Star award must also satisfy three of the following attributes.
    • Mobilizes collaboration with community-based businesses, organizations, and/or residents.
    • Builds community6.
    • Leverages additional funding, services, goods and /or volunteerism.
    • Presents the arts, humanities or sciences in an innovative or unique way.
    • Participants have an active /involved role in the creation, process or experience of the program.
    • Contributes to the community's economic development, revitalization or sense of place.

1"Exemplary Works" are commendable; serve as a desirable model; represent the best of their kind; are deserving of imitation.

2The Massachusetts Office of Affirmative Action currently designates the following as underserved: African Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americans, Native Americans, people with disabilities, Vietnam-era veterans, and women. The MCC also considers low-income and rural communities, as well as citizens over 65-years-old, as underserved populations.

3 For example, the project introduces a form of art to a group of people for the first time, introduces a cultural tradition or art form to another culture, helps build an audience for a specific form of art, humanities, or interpretive science, or provides participants an opportunity to experience a specific form or arts, humanities or science they may not have had otherwise.

4For example, the artist has a record of high-quality programs, the artist has demonstrated an ability to respond creatively to unique school needs, program planning has involved parents, community members, teachers, the principal and the artist, program clearly articulates the project goals, program provides professional development for teachers, the program content is connected to the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, program includes reasonable evaluation plan.

5"Unique quality" and "diverse character" can refer to the physical or historical identity of a place (i.e. a city's historical connection to shoe making, a celebrated town founder, the prominent role of a river in shaping a community) as well as the unique cultural heritage of its residents (i.e. a celebration of Cambodian history and culture, a program featuring traditional Indian dance, an Irish festival).

6For example, the project fosters community pride, highlights the uniqueness of a community, spotlights residents of a community, engages people in community life, builds common ground among people, provides sense of celebration.

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Nominate a Project

The Gold Star Awards are currently on hold. The MCC will not be accepting nominations for the 2017 grant cycle.

We are evaluating the current awards process and how to make it more visible to the community and more meaningful for its recipients going forward.

For questions or more information about the Gold Star Awards, please contact Lisa Simmons.

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