Calling artists, performers, and other cultural creators! Join the Winchester Cultural Council's online directory of artists by completing our registration form.

The Winchester Cultural Council has awarded $5,200 in LCC grants to 10 individuals and organizations for 2019. The funded projects expand cultural opportunities for Winchester’s students, help Winchester residents hear distinguished local performers, and use art to celebrate and strengthen our community. Projects include Indian Dance and Peking Opera; the extremely successful Authorfest program that brings published authors to Winchester schools; a new monthly studio arts series in a collaborative community space which is free and open to anyone in Winchester; and a program in March with WZLX radio DJ and author Carter Alan on his new book, which includes performances by several rock ensembles from the Winchester Community Music School. In addition, funding supports continuing the summer Concerts on the Common, the "Just a Minute" online video festival, and arts and literacy enrichment programs.

A performance of Peking Opera by an established group of non-professionals, most living in the Winchester area, will be part of the Chinese New Year Celebrations that will be held at the Winchester High School Auditorium on Sunday, February 10, starting at 9:30 a.m. The celebration has been organized for several years by the Winchester School of Chinese Culture (WSCC) and co-sponsored by the Chinese American Network in Winchester (CAN-WIN).

Peking Opera plays an important role in disseminating the values of the Chinese culture. In recent years, more and more Americans—as well as young and senior Chinese living overseas—have become interested in traditional Chinese operas, including Peking Opera, an art that conveys a national spiritual essence through elegance and beauty.

The event is free and open to the public.

All are invited to the fourth annual Night of the Arts at Winchester High School on March 18, 2018 from, 6–9 p.m. The event is a showcase of the artistic talent at the high school that includes live performances, original films, and artwork created by the students and faculty. Come celebrate our many talented artists in a relaxed coffeehouse-like setting.

On this Columbus Day, many are urging that we also remember America's indigenous people, the "Indians." Winchester has an explicit connection to the original residents of our area through our town nickname, the Sachems. A sachem (or sagamore) was a chief, leader, or king of the native peoples. Winchester's adoption of the name was particularly due to a woman, "Squaw Sachem," who was queen of the local indigenous tribes and the widow of Nanepashemet, who once ruled lands stretching from Weymouth north to Portsmouth, N.H., and as far west as Northfield. Sachem Nanepashemet was killed  in 1619, in Medford, fighting Tarratines (Abnakis) who had invaded from Maine, leaving his wife, three sons, and a daughter.

Squaw Sachem and her sons were notably friendly with the English colonists and generally allied with them. Her people, however, were decimated by war and plagues mostly associated with the European settlers—including smallpox, which killed two of her sons, Sagamore John (Wonohaquaham) and Sagamore James (Montowampate) in 1633.

In 1638 Charlestown granted its citizens permission to settle land to the north, including Winchester, accelerating a movement that had already been occurring. Around that time Squaw Sachem sold her land in and around Winchester to settlers, reserving the right for her people to live, hunt and fish there during her lifetime. The sale is memorialized by the WPA mural above the circulation desk in the Winchester Public Library.

Squaw Sachem mural
Squaw Sachem mural at the Winchester Library

Squaw Sachem's favorite residence was probably on the west side of Upper Mystic Lake, near Winchester Country Club, where there was a "Squaw Sachem spring" that was visited by her people for many years after  her death. Herbert Meyer Brook on Myopia Hill was originally known as "Squaw Sachem stream."

The story of Squaw Sachem is a great lesson in local history, and is one illustration of the complex interactions between the native inhabitants and the immigrants who went on to create our modern landscape—laying the groundwork for the many new immigrants who continue to arrive here. It is interesting, too, to note that Winchester's "native American" nickname memorializes a relationship with a particular individual, a relationship that was notable for peace and friendship. Finally, in this day and age, it is worth celebrating that that individual was a woman—one of power, grace and fortitude.

More information about Squaw Sachem and the selection of the "Sachems" nickname (which dates only from the early 1950s) can be found at "The Sachems of Winchester" on the Popular Topics in Winchester History page on the town website.

Mark your calendars and plan to attend these events in the Summer and Fall of 2018, all supported by grants from the Winchester Cultural Council!

★ The Family Farm Night Music Series at Wright-Locke Farm, June and July 2018 (6 Thursday Nights), from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Note that these outdoor concerts might be canceled in case of inclement weather. June 14: Ten Penny Ransom; June 21: Sorry Honeys; June 28: Karen K & the Jitterbugs (rained out); July 5: Miss Ellaneous;  July 12: Ben Rudnick & Friends; July 19: Hank Wonder. August 2: Karen K & the Jitterbugs (rescheduled!)

★ Family Concert on the Winchester Common with Roger Tincknell, August 8, 2018, presented by the North Suburban Child & Family Resource Network

★ "Generations of Fun: A Grandparents' Day Celebration" with storyteller and singer Davis Bates at the Jenks Center on September 9, 2018. All grandparents, grandchildren, and their friends are invited.

★ Folktale Puppet Shows: "Immigrants, Past and Present" on the Winchester Common at "International Day at the Farmer's Market", September 29, 2018, presented by the Ethnic Arts Center.

★ The Mass. Memories Road Show comes to Winchester on October 20, 2018. Sponsored by the  Winchester Archival Center; specific details are forthcoming.

The Winchester  Cultural Council has awarded $5,583 in LCC grants to 10 individuals and organizations for 2018. The funded projects expand cultural opportunities for Winchester’s young students and senior citizens, help Winchester residents hear distinguished local performers, and use art to celebrate and strengthen our community. Projects include a documentary film, "The Greening of Winchester"; two special events at the Jenks Center; a classical Indian dance performance in the fall; the Family Farm Night Music Series at Wright-Locke Farm on summer Thursday nights; a family concert on the Common by by Roger Tincknell; special puppet shows at the Farmer's Market's International Day in September; arts enrichment programs for children at Lincoln School and those attending after-school programs; and the Mass. Memories Road Show on October 20.
The Winchester Cultural Council is in need of new members for the coming year. Cultural Council members are volunteers who are appointed by the town's Select Board; love of the arts is important, but no special skills are required. The Council meets monthly, gives cultural grants annually, and provides many opportunities to enrich our town. To apply, send a letter stating your interest to the Select Board at Town Hall.