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February 14, 2008

Contact: Adam Bickelman, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086; or
Gregory Liakos, Mass Cultural Council, 617-858-2700 x22720

Recapitalized Cultural Facilities Fund Supports Creative Economy Infrastructure in Massachusetts

Thirty-six organizations across Massachusetts will receive grants ranging from $632,000 to $4,500 from the state's Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF). The grants, totaling $5,571,500, were announced today by MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council, which administer the program jointly. Of the amount awarded, $5,267,600 will support 25 capital projects; and $303,900 will be used by 11 groups for feasibility and planning studies.

CFF grants will support Massachusetts non-profit cultural organizations with building projects that increase tourism, create new jobs, leverage private funding and expand arts and cultural activities in communities across the state. The latest round of CFF grants was made possible by a $7 million appropriation by the Legislature in October 2007 as part of a FY2008 supplemental budget.

Mass Cultural Council, MassDevelopment and members of the Legislature's Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development will formally announce the new Cultural Facilities Fund grants at a special celebration Tuesday, March 11 at 11 a.m. in the Gardner Auditorium at the Massachusetts State House. Leading the announcement will be the Committee's Co-Chairs, Senator James Marzilli of Arlington and Representative Eric Turkington of Falmouth; Senator Stan Rosenberg of Amherst; Representatives Dan Bosley of North Adams and Jeffrey Sánchez of Boston, House Chair and Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies; and leaders of the Campaign for Cultural Facilities.

"This additional CFF funding demonstrates the Legislature's commitment to our creative economy, and its role in attracting visitors to Massachusetts, stimulating tourism, creating jobs and bolstering our economy," said MassDevelopment President/CEO and CFF Advisory Committee Chair Robert L. Culver. "I'm pleased we're able to continue providing these innovative matching grants to support the Commonwealth's creative economy."

Recipients are located in 18 communities statewide from Chilmark to Holyoke; and run the gamut from small neighborhood-based cultural organizations to large museums, theaters and performance groups. Falmouth's Artists Guild, Inc. will draw on a $240,000 allotment to construct a new community art center featuring gallery and performance space, classrooms and administrative offices. In Boston, Berklee College of Music will use a $200,000 grant to transform a historically-significant building at 939 Boylston Street into a café and venue for live student performances. In Pittsfield, the Barrington Stage Company will use a $390,000 grant to complete the redevelopment of the Union Street Theatre.

"The Legislature's new investment in the Cultural Facilities Fund allows us to support many more worthy projects across the state," said Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker. "These projects will not only stimulate our economy, but will ensure that our cultural treasures continue to enrich the quality of life in the Commonwealth."

MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council co-administer the program. Mass Cultural Council, which solicited and evaluated CFF applications, received 201 requests for funding totaling $80 million. Mass Cultural Council recruited 28 experts from across the U.S. with experience in tourism, facilities finance, real estate project management, construction, facilities operations, organizational development, grant making and historic renovation and preservation to review and rank the applications using a weighted set of criteria. All applications were also reviewed by an appointed Cultural Facilities Fund Advisory Committee with statewide representation. The board of MassDevelopment approved the awards, which MassDevelopment manages and disburses. Award decisions were based on the recipients' ranking, annual operating budget and location. Maximum awards are capped at $675,000. Grants announced today must be matched one-to-one by the recipient with funds from other sources.

The Legislature created the Cultural Facilities Fund in July 2006, appropriating an initial $13 million as part of an omnibus economic stimulus bill. In September 2007, MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council announced the first 62 organizations to receive funding through the program. The FY2008 state budget provided an additional $5 million allocation, as well as $7 million in supplemental funding. Additional grants from the $7 million will be announced later this year. The list also includes an earlier grant to the Citi Performing Arts Center, which was delayed pending further review of that project. Additional grants from the $7 million appropriation will be announced following a new review process later this year.

See a grant list by region

The Mass Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences, to improve the quality of life for Massachusetts residents and contribute to the state's economic vitality. Mass Cultural Council is committed to building a central place for arts and culture in the everyday lives of communities through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, and artists. Mass Cultural Council receives an annual appropriation from the state Legislature and funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions and local officials to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. Between FY 2004 and FY 2006, MassDevelopment financed or managed 589 projects statewide representing an investment of more than $4 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are supporting the creation of 5,505 housing units and more than 23,000 jobs: 12,381 permanent and 10,679 construction-related.


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