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ToolkitLCC Program Information

Leadership Circle Awards

Since 2004, the MCC Leadership Circle Awards have recognized LCC volunteers for their outstanding work in support of the Local Cultural Council Program. The MCC honors the award-winning volunteers at a series of local award ceremonies held in partnership with the nominating LCCs across the Commonwealth with local cultural councils, community members, municipal officials, state legislators, and the public.

Honoring Leadership Circle Award winners helps LCCs gain the attention of future applicants and council members, improves local efforts to advocate for the arts, increases community pride, and provides an occasion for extra media coverage.

About the Leadership Circle Awards

LCC members are invited to submit nominations for the outstanding volunteers. The LCA honors LCC members who have demonstrated a commitment to the ideals of the LCC program, as evidenced by a high quality of involvement in a number of council activities. Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council This is an opportunity to recognize members of councils who have made significant contributions to their LCCs and demonstrated leadership in promoting arts and culture in their community. It is also an opportunity to gain greater recognition and public support for the work of local cultural councils.

In fiscal year 2016, Leadership Circle Awards were given to Jill Horton-Simms of the New Bedford Local Cultural Council and Leslie Seaton Malis of the Andover Cultural Council.

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Nominate a Volunteer

Nominees do not have to be current council members, but must have served on the LCC within the past three years. To nominate an LCC member for a Leadership Circle Award please complete the following:

  • Nomination form (required).
  • A letter of recommendation endorsing this candidate's work as a council member (required).
  • Any newspaper articles or other publicity, or other materials to support this candidate's work as a council member (not required, but highly recommended).

Deadline for Leadership Circle Award submissions: TBD

Completed nominations should be sent to jennifer.atwood@art.state.ma.us, or mail them to:
Massachusetts Cultural Council
Attn: Leadership Circle Awards
10 St. James Ave. 3rd floor
Boston, MA 02116

For questions, please contact jennifer.atwood@art.state.ma.us.

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Meet the 2016 Honorees

Jill Horton-SimmsJill Horton-Simms
Chair, New Bedford Local Cultural Council

Jill has been a lifelong supporter of youth education and the arts. In 2008 Jill moved to New Bedford from Naples, Florida, where she was a licensed interior designer and realtor. Upon moving, Jill was drawn to New Bedford's historical downtown library with its outstanding art collection and volunteered in the Art Room. She joined the board of the Friends of the New Bedford Free Public Library and became their president, helping to raise more than $25,000 for library programs. In 2014 Jill was appointed to be a Trustee of the library.

In 2012 Jill created a unique humanities program for middle school youth in New Bedford called Art in Words, connecting the library's complete collection of John James Audubon's Birds of America with Gary D. Schmidt's book Okay for Now, winner of the 2012 Children's Choice Book Award. In addition to devoting much of her time to developing and promoting youth arts and literacy programs, Jill is involved with several local non-profits and loves living in New Bedford.

Leslie Seaton MalisLeslie Seaton Malis
Chair, Andover Cultural Council

Leslie Seaton Malis has spent her entire life in the arts. She has served as a member of the Andover Cultural Council for the past five years, the past two as Chair. Under her leadership, the Council has focused its efforts on expanding its presence within the community and forging links with local organizations, while also establishing a digital presence, creating a website, and connecting with the community through social media. New projects and initiatives developed include a town-wide student/senior citizen photography exhibit, and collaborating with other community groups on events such as Andover Day and Art in the Park.

Following an early background in dance and performance, she moved into arts administration, working at The Boston Ballet and Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, garnering extensive experience in arts related communications, publicity, and special events. A long-time Andover resident, she has coordinated numerous cultural education programs, both in the public schools and for senior citizens. She has also served on the boards of the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation and New England Classical Singers. In addition to chairing the ACC, Malis is a long-time member of the board of the Mistral Chamber Music series. Most recently she has been asked to serve on the inaugural Andover Poet Laureate Committee. She holds a degree in English Literature from Boston College.