Massachusetts Cultural CouncilREACH, a multi-city exhibition of contemporary practitioners, has been awarded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s (MCC) for the Gold Star Award for excellence in community arts and culture.

REACH was funded in-part by the Easthampton Cultural Council (ECC), the city’s Local Cultural Council Program funded by the MCC. The Gold Star Program annually recognizes model community arts, humanities and science projects funded by the 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) across the state. The recognized projects celebrate diversity, foster collaboration, showcase artistic excellence, and provide learning experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds.

In April and May of 2013, REACH curators brought a diverse contemporary arts festival to the Pioneer Valley. Organizers invited over 30 dynamic artists and performers to exhibit installations, video, sculptures, sounds, and performances in exhibition and performance spaces within nine venues in Easthampton and Holyoke. Each REACH venue offered a different challenge for participating artists—whether it was in a historic museum, a large white box space or a window in a storefront.

The Gold Star awards are nominated by Local Cultural Councils and are evaluated by the MCC based on a variety of criteria including: artistic quality, success in reaching out to underserved constituents, educational value, and ability to engage with the community. REACH organizers are proud to join the roster of selected Gold Star programs.

The LCC Program is one of the largest volunteer-run, grassroots arts funding program in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences annually.