Art in August is coming! For over twenty years, Winchester businesses and artists have collaborated to turn the downtown area into an arts colony during the month of August. We are now preparing to renew this festival for the summer of 2024.

Throughout the month, creations of local artists will be on display in windows and inside stores in downtown Winchester. The festival begins with a gala reception on August 1, and features smaller meet-the-artist receptions on three subsequent Thursday evenings.

This year's festival will also see the return of Art in the Park on Saturday, August 17, a full day of arts activities on the Common at the Winchester Farmers' Market.

Decorated utility box Washington Street/Swanton Street   Baseball theme utility box decoration on Skillings Field

Artists are invited to submit proposed designs for decorations of designated utility boxes in Winchester. If approved, they will be able to create their design and receive a stipend of $400.

To apply, use the online form. Deadline for submission is the end of the day on Friday, June 21, 2024. Following that deadline, the proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee for artistic quality, suitability for the location, and durability/sustainability. The art should enliven the area, beautify the street and reflect the neighborhood or area where box is located. Decisions are announced within two weeks of the submission deadline. Artists will then have two months to realize their design, with extensions of the completion date available on request.

Post-deadline applications may be accepted at the discretion of the WCC. Projects not completed within the designated time may be considered for assignment to other artists.

Basic Rules

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Proposals may be submitted by individuals or by groups of artists. A group may include individuals under 18 years of age, but at least one member of the group must be 18 or older.
  • Applicants need not be residents of Winchester, but Winchester residents will be given a higher priority in the selection process.
  • Artists may submit up to 3 designs for a given box
  • Artists may apply for up to two boxes in any application cycle.
  • Artists agree that their work can be painted over at any time by the Town of Winchester.
  • Stipend is $400, including materials, paid upon documented completion of work.
  • For payment, artists will be required to submit a W-9 form. Stipends may be considered taxable income.
  • Prior to starting work, artists must sign the Winchester Artist Release and Indemnity Agreement.

Design Restrictions and Requirements

  • Utility boxes can be painted or wrapped. Designs should cover one entire utility box.
  • The artwork will be a long-term installation and will become the property of the Town of Winchester. Quality and durability will be among the criteria for approval. Paint used should be high quality, lightfast exterior acrylics finished with an isolation coat of clear acrylic gloss medium and anti-graffiti varnish.
  • The design should be an original work of art, and should not incorporate advertisements or logos, or include promotional material of any kind.
  • The design should be suitable for viewing by all ages.
  • The design should not in any way impair the accessibility of function of the box.
  • The design should not include any markings that could be confused for directional signage and that would cause any kind of safety hazard.
  • Artwork may include artist signature(s) if discreetly incorporated into the art.

Any beautiful design is welcome.

List of participating utility boxes

The Cultural Council has identified the following utility boxes which are eligible to be decorated. The boxes listed here can be found (by number) on a Google map; click on the "[picture]" link below to see a photograph of the box. Other boxes may be requested but will need to be approved by the town (DPW and WCC) before being eligible.

  1. On the Common, Laraway Road at Church Street [picture]
  2. Behind Town Hall (at the parking lot) [picture]
  3. At the McCall Middle School skateboard park (Mystic Valley Parkway) [picture]
  4. On Church Street near 90 Fletcher Street [picture]
  5. Washington Street at Forest Street [picture]
  6. Water Street at Main Street [picture]
  7. Johnson Road at Ridge Street (Vinson-Owen School) [picture]
  8. Lake Street near the tennis courts [picture]
  9. Lake Street at Wildwood Cemetery entrance [picture]

Box eligibility criteria: Eligible utility boxes must be located on Town property. The boxes must be accessible and suitable for painting or other decoration without impairment of functionality. The participating boxes listed have been reviewed and approved by the Winchester Department of Public Works. Additional boxes may be added if they meet these criteria.

The Winchester Cultural Council awarded $16,275 in grants for 2024 to 16 individuals and organizations.  Funding for these grants came from the annual Local Cultural Council funding program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and from the citizens of Winchester, through the Town of Winchester's own budget. Following is a list of the grants, in roughly chronological order.

On October 5, 2023, the Massachusetts Cultural Council shared the following list of six grant programs that offer support to cultural creators throughout the year. We encourage everyone to consider applying for a Winchester Cultural Council grant (deadline Oct. 17, part of the Local Cultural Council grant program), but you might also find one of these programs to be a great fit.

Programs might be open for individuals or organizations, where "organizations" may include cultural organizations, non-profits, schools, cities/towns, unincorporated groups or collaboratives, for-profits, etc. Visit the program guidelines for detailed eligibility information and to apply.

Wedgemere kiosk welcome flier   Wedgemere kiosk Town Day flier

At the Wedgemere MBTA station, the Winchester Cultural Council has placed a video monitor in the window of the former coffee shop on the inbound side with announcements and information about Winchester. The display can be seen by anyone riding the commuter rail between Winchester and Boston.

Organizations and individuals are welcome to submit an electronic flier with information of general public interest for posting on the video display. Just write to info@winchesterculturalcouncil.org. Fliers should be non-commercial in nature and may advertise an event or an opportunity for public involvement. There is no charge for display.

This is a low-cost pilot project that might lead to similar kiosks elsewhere.

Comments and suggestions are welcome!


Some guidelines for slide creation:

The Winchester Cultural Council announces a new year-round program of small grants ($50 to $300). Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Decisions are normally made within four weeks of the application being filed, and funding can be received shortly thereafter. A micro grant could be suitable for a small art project, performance, or speaker, or to help fund an event that takes advantage of a time-sensitive opportunity that arises during the year.

Microgrants are open to all Winchester residents and Winchester-based organizations; funded projects must benefit the public, just like the annual Mass Cultural Council-funded grants. Full rules and a link to the application are on the Microgrant Information Page.

Note that grants are offered subject to funding availability, which might change during the year.

 

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. Click to read more!