Our Founder

Our Mission

The mission of the Annual Grafton Fine Arts and Music Festival is to encourage, celebrate and promote artists and musicians from Central Massachusetts, Southern Worcester County, The Blackstone Valley and beyond.

A Word From Our Founder:  Stephen Halpert

Founder’s Statement

I moved to Grafton in 1989, and brought with me the dream of an arts festival. Every year I spoke of my dream to many people, yet had no idea how to make it materialize until one day someone suggested I join the Grafton Cultural Council. Having done so, and having persuaded several friends to join me I began with their help to plan a festival whereby children and adults could exhibit side by side, with prizes awarded to artists in various categories. I went to the Grafton suburban Credit Union would donate money for the prizes. They immediately agreed to a generous amount to be divided among the categories and even better, to Savings Bonds for the children’s prizes. Our first year was a great success and the next year we expanded from one to three days.  Since then each year has seen a bigger and better festival. It is now self sufficient and no longer depends on grants, although the generous Grafton Suburban Credit Union still sponsors the majority of the prize money.

What makes me happiest is to see the faces of the children receiving their savings certificates.  Perhaps winning at our Festival will inspire a child to become a professional artist. That win on his or her college application might also make difference. As an artist myself I know that having an outlet for exhibition stimulates adult artists to create as well. Now involving many volunteers and participants, our annual festival includes free demonstrations taught by local teachers and artists. In addition it provides opportunities for exhibiting artists to sell their work as well as show it. When I think back to how it all began I realize I could not have imagined the arts festival would blossom into such a successful effort, and I feel both proud and humble to have inspired its creation.

I would like to thank Tasha Halpert, Jen White and Reina Rago for helping me organize the first festival. Along with Fay Morrisson, Jim O’Connor, Anna and Steve Howard, Charlotte Eckler, Danielle and Jeff Miller as they continued to keep the festival alive for the last nine years. Our ninth festival has a new enthusiastic group of dedicated volunteers who bring in fresh ideas and young energy. I am grateful to all of them. Good luck to all the artists and I will see you at the Saturday night reception on March 22nd, 2014.

-Stephen Halpert