The new Winchester Cultural District is seeing a flowering of artworks this month, thanks to a grant obtained by the town from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The Shared Street Grant program, which helps pay for the traffic barriers, new pedestrian ramps, cycling infrastructure, and other downtown improvements which define temporary new sidewalk cafes at Winchester restaurants, includes funding to place art on those traffic barriers. This outdoor gallery showcases beautiful, colorful work by several Winchester painters and photographers, created especially for the venue.

The artworks are painted or printed on canvas and then attached to the barriers. They can be removed when the barriers are taken down for the winter, stored, and brought out again for display in the spring.

Participating artists include Jessica Clark and students from Studio on the Common, Teri Coté, Kristine Kamikawa, Denise Konicek, Lucia Rubini, Kiyomi Yatsuhashi; Winchester High School students Ananya Dalal, Yona Levine, Joyce Li, and Amy Wang; Lily He, from the Winchester School of Chinese Culture; and photographer extraordinaire Bob Hesse; with a special contribution from Acera School students of Estée Hill. Come stroll downtown and enjoy their work in front of A Tavola, Black Horse Tavern, First House Pub, The Spot, and Ristorante Lucia.

The exhibition continues, snow or shine, until the barriers are removed on Dec. 1.

Art on the barricades at First House Pub   Art on the barriers at Black Horse Tavern   Art on the barriers at A Tavola   Streetscape art canvas by Kiyomi Yatsuhashi   Streetscape art canvas by Jessica Clark   Painting by Lucia Rubini at A Tavola   Painting by Lucia Rubini at La Patisserie

As many in the town debate whether the "Sachem" should continue to be the mascot or symbol of Winchester, important information can be found in  historian Ellen Knight's essay "The Beginning of Winchester on Massachusetts Land". It is a revision of her article "The Sachems of Winchester" published in 1999 as a four-part series in the Daily Times Chronicle), which sought to correct some of the historical misinformation that has been generated through that enduring controversy. More information on the town's history (and on the adoption of the Sachem symbol) can be found on the Town of Winchester's Winchester History Online site.

There are lots of places to get information about the COVID-19 virus (for example, the town website: winchester.us/coronavirus, and the MCC resource page), but on this cultural website is a good place to showcase creative responses to the ongoing crisis. Those can include videos, songs, visual art, poems, essays, and more. We hope to grow this list as time goes by—please send us your discoveries and your creations!

The Winchester Cultural Council has awarded $9,567 in LCC grants to 16 individuals and organizations for 2020. Grant funding was significantly higher than in past years thanks in part to a meaningful commitment to the arts from the town of Winchester in the 2019–2020 budget. 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. Grant projects include Winchester's first-ever Porchfest (scheduled for June); the first major art exhibition in Winchester's new Cultural District; Chinese New Year celebrations and visits by Chinese dancing lions to all of Winchester's elementary schools; an "ecomusic" residency and concert celebrating a new Monarch butterfly waystation at the First Congregational Church; faculty concerts by the Winchester Community Music School; and a musical theater performance depicting the history of women's fight for equal rights in America. Grants also support several arts cultural enrichment programs for children, adults, and seniors.
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.