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May 12, 2016

Gregory Liakos, MCC Communications Director, 617-858-2720
Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077


(Boston, MA) –  The MassDevelopment Board of Directors has approved $9.3 million in new grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a state program that fosters the growth of the creative economy by supporting building projects in the nonprofit arts, humanities, and sciences.

The new round includes 68 capital grants totaling $8.9 million and another 23 planning grants totaling just over $400,000. Grants range from $7,000 to $300,000, and must be matched one-to-one from private and/or other public sources. They include:

  • $300,000 for New Garden Park Inc., to create the WOOteria, a creative performing and collaborative space in Worcester's Theatre District.
  • $300,000 to Northampton Community Arts Trust Inc. to complete renovation of its performance space, workspaces, art gallery, and mezzanine in downtown Northampton.
  • $127,000 for Roxbury Community College to renovate its Media Arts Center to make it more accessible to its neighborhood and broader public in Greater Boston.
  • $100,000 to Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) to renovate a vacant historic building in New Bedford and create a community gallery and live/work space for artists.

"Massachusetts has a rich cultural heritage, and today's creative sector is building on that legacy in places as diverse as Northampton and New Bedford," said Governor Charlie Baker. "Our administration is always looking for ways to leverage private sector dollars to support public projects, and these capital investments will drive tourism and benefit residents and visitors for years to come."

"Our administration is proud to support these capital investments in the creative economy, including Worcester's theater district and New Bedford's art community," said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. "The rich history of our cities and towns is an important draw for out-of-state visitors, and these grants will help direct private investments into these projects."

With these new grants, CFF will invest nearly $92 million in the Massachusetts creative sector for projects in more than 130 cities and towns since 2007. These grants have helped launch many transformative projects, leveraging private sector dollars that have kept this sector growing and thriving. CFF has also helped dozens of nonprofit organizations become better stewards of our state’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

“For nearly a decade CFF grants have fueled our creative sector in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Anita Walker, Executive Director, Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). “We thank Governor Baker and his Administration for its continued support of this vital source of creative capital.”

“The Commonwealth’s cultural organizations are major economic drivers, bringing residents, visitors, and jobs to our historic and vibrant communities,” said Marty Jones, President and CEO of MassDevelopment. “Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration, the Legislature, and our partners at the Massachusetts Cultural Council for their support of this crucial program.”

To date CFF organizations have reported:

  • 28.2 million visitors.
  • More than 8,170 full-time jobs and $372 million in wages and salaries.
  • 21,472 architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers employed.
  • 1,958 new permanent jobs projected as a result of their projects.
  • Construction totaling $606 million over the next two to three years.

CFF grants have also helped restore many of our nation’s most treasured historical and cultural landmarks, while driving tourism, a key industry in Massachusetts. More than 18 million people visit these sites annually, nearly one third from out of state.

MassDevelopment and MCC jointly administer the CFF, and an Advisory Committee appointed by the Governor provides oversight to its operation. The grants are supported through $10 million from the state’s fiscal year 2016 capital plan, authorized by the state Legislature and allocated by the Governor.

CFF grants remain highly competitive: The Fund received 146 applications in this round seeking nearly $25 million for projects with total development costs of more than $200 million.

For more background on CFF and its impact, go here.

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency supporting the arts, humanities, and sciences to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. The MCC pursues this mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.

About MassDevelopment:
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2015, MassDevelopment financed or managed 294 projects generating investment of more than $2.5 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 6,100 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 2,000 residential units.


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