Ilana Casady joined the Hopkinton Cultural Council because she is “proud to live in Hopkinton and wanted to get more involved. I come from a family of artists, so I was going back to my roots.”
She added, “This has really been a wonderful experience. I enjoy being able to come up with an idea that makes a positive impact on the town and see it become a reality. That’s what this group does; it allows its members to spread their wings. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.”
Now in her second term, Casady, the HCC chair, is looking for five individuals who want an experience similar to hers.
“We have two openings right now and will have three more by December when terms expire,” she said. “We are a super group of people who like being involved. HCC is a fun way to be part of the town by encouraging projects in the humanities, arts and culture.”
The group holds about six hybrid meetings, in person and via Zoom, during the year. The meetings focus on ongoing projects and awarding the $7,000-$8,000 earmarked each fall for artistic and cultural projects in Hopkinton by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. HCC terms are three years. Interested applicants may visit the Cultural Council page at HopkintonMA.gov for an application. Appointments are made by the Select Board.
Among the ongoing HCC projects is the Celebration of Diversity Mural. Begun in 2020, the project annually invites artists of all genres to create a mural on one of the panels of the wooden fence leading from Hayden Rowe Street to EMC Park.
“The purpose of the project is to unite townspeople by celebrating what makes us different,” said Casady.
This year’s additions will be unveiled in September.
“I am very proud of this project, which is done in collaboration with the Hopkinton Parks & Recreation Department,” said Casady. “Every time I drive by it, the mural brings me joy. It reflects the differences in our town and the diversity of our artists.”
HCC also is working on its annual Arts on the Trail installation. This year, under the direction of HCC member Christine Enos, artists and groups will be asked to create weatherproof art on provided 24-by-48-inch canvas panels, which will be hung via cables along the Center Trail in October. Any artist or group interested in participating should contact Enos in August by visiting Hop-Culture.org. Projects are installed in October.
Another project started this spring is the Free Little Art Gallery, a community-run installation hosted by the Hopkinton Center for the Arts, which encourages everyone to create and share art. Participants are invited to drop off their tiny art pieces, no larger than 4-by-4 inches, and take home a creation made by another.
New projects sponsored by the group include a plan to decorate the utility boxes at four traffic lights in town with various media.
“We just need some volunteers interested in helping with the project,” said Casady.
A more long-term project is to have Hopkinton named a Massachusetts Cultural District. Launched in 2011 by an act of the state legislature, Cultural Districts use state funding to support arts, humanities and scientific organizations within the community, driving economic growth and strengthening the distinctive local character of the town.
“It will take Hopkinton about two years to complete the application,” said Casady, “and will involve volunteers, HCC members and other town boards. We are forming a subcommittee to handle the process.”
She noted Franklin and Natick both have Cultural Districts, which have been assets for those communities.
Last but not least, the primary job of the HCC each fall is to ask for and then review submissions from local artists, cultural groups and others for projects that will benefit the community. The awards come from the Massachusetts Cultural Council allocation. The application period runs from September through mid-October. To apply, visit MassCulturalCouncil.org.