FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2012
Liakos, Communications Director 617-858-2700 x22720 or
Communications Officer 617-858-2700 x22724
MCC Releases Nearly $8M in Grants
for Public Programs in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities
Statewide Creative Communities/Creative Minds Tour Celebrates Newest Round of Grants
Agency Also Announces Four New State Designated Cultural Districts
(BOSTON, MA)— The Board of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) has approved grants totaling close to $8 million for nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, and education programs across the Commonwealth. The Board voted unanimously to approve these grants—along with four new state-designated cultural districts in Concord, Lowell, Natick, and Shelburne Falls—during its August meeting held in the heart of one of the new cultural districts at Lowell’s Boott Cotton Mills Museum.
“I’m thrilled to announce this latest round of investments in the Massachusetts nonprofit cultural sector,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “The MCC is committed to restoring funding for the arts, sciences, and humanities in Massachusetts, and in its first year alone the Cultural Districts Initiative has fostered the cultural development of now 10 incredible communities. I look forward to continuing this creative momentum across the Commonwealth through all of our grant programs and initiatives over the next year.”
This fall, the MCC launches Creative Minds/Creative
Communities – a series of events taking place across
the Commonwealth to celebrate this newest round of investments.
The first event is scheduled for Monday, September 24 at 4pm in
Barnstable at the Cape Cod Art Association. We will be joined
by Senate President Therese Murray of Plymouth along with other
events are scheduled in Leominster, Shelburne Falls, and Newburyport,
with plans for gatherings in Greater Boston, Metrowest, Greater
Springfield, and the North Shore.
Cultural Districts Initiative
Concord, Lowell, Natick, and Shelburne Falls are home to the newest
Massachusetts state-designated Cultural Districts. A cultural
district is a compact, walkable area of a community with a concentration
of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. MCC’s
Cultural Districts Initiative grew out of an economic stimulus
bill passed by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2010. It is designed
to help communities attract artists and cultural enterprises,
encourage business and job growth, expand tourism, preserve and
reuse historic buildings, enhance property values, and foster
local cultural development. Each new district will have signage,
an online profile on the Mass. Office of Travel and Tourism and
MCC websites, and other amenities. Other previously designated
cultural districts include – Boston’s Fenway Cultural District,
Gloucester’s Rocky Neck Cultural District, Lynn’s Central Exchange
Cultural District, the Upstreet Cultural District in Pittsfield,
Hyannis’s HyArts Cultural District, and the Rockport Cultural
The MCC distributes nearly $8M in grants across the following programs this fall –
Cultural Investment Portfolio: $3.6 million
Investment Portfolio comprises 394 nonprofit arts, humanities,
and science organizations across Massachusetts. These organizations
connect children and adults to theatre, music, visual arts, and
film; teach them about history, literature, and the natural environment;
and introduce them to new languages and cultures. Cultural Investment
Portfolio grants must be matched one to one, and range from $2,500
Local Cultural Councils: $2.3 million
Local Cultural Councils
(LCCs) comprise the most extensive public cultural funding network
in the nation. They provide funding to every Massachusetts city
and town through 329 local councils and more than 2,300 volunteers.
The councils support local arts and history, fund school field
trips, and sponsor local concerts and exhibitions. Grants to local
councils range from $3,870 for the smallest towns to $74,270 for
Worcester and $133,320 for Boston, according to a formula that
reflects the state’s local aid system.
Creative Minds: Education in School and Out of School:
MCC works to ensure that all children have access to high-quality, creative learning experiences through grants, services, and advocacy for schools, communities, and nonprofit cultural organizations.
STARS Residencies place artists,
scientists and other creative teachers in schools.
The YouthReach Initiative
makes grants to cultural and community-based organizations to
support in-depth arts, humanities, and science programs for
young people at risk.
Big Yellow School Bus provides grants
to help schools meet the transportation costs of educational
field trips to cultural institutions in Massachusetts.
Out Loud is a national competition in which high school
students memorize and perform poetry real poems and explore
the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken work, and theatre
in their English and Drama classes.
Adams Arts Program: $470,830
MCC has been supporting creative economy initiatives throughout
Massachusetts for more than a decade. In 2004, the Legislature
created the Adams Arts Program,
which funds projects that create jobs and income, revitalize downtowns,
and increase cultural tourism. Adams funded projects leverage
the assets of the creative sector – artists, cultural organizations,
and arts-related businesses – inherent in Massachusetts’ communities,
to generate real income.
Adams Arts Program grants were previously distributed
once per calendar year. The program is changing to operate on
a fiscal year cycle. This $470,830 in new grants is in addition
to grants distributed previously in the year. The program will
adjust fully to a fiscal year cycle in FY14.
The MCC will also provide annual grants to MassHumanities, which supports public programs in history, literature, and other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in the Commonwealth; and the New England Foundation for the Arts for regional creative economy initiatives and programs for Massachusetts artists.
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Four New State-Designated Cultural Districts
Concord Center Cultural District
The Concord Center Cultural District is a picturesque New England
village that looks like a page out of history. 18th, 19th and
20th century buildings in a National Historic District are the
backdrops for world-class dance performances, concerts and art
exhibitions. Although you see a bit of history at every turn,
you are invigorated by history being made today by goldsmiths
handcrafting jewelry, artists creating works of art and teaching
their craft, and performers taking an evening dining experience
to another level.
The first battle of the American Revolution took place here on
April 19, 1775. Listen to fife and drum corps from all over the
nation as they march down Main Street at the annual Patriot’s
Day Parade complete with marching Minutemen and historical re-enactors
on horseback. The Concord Players traces its history back to 1856
and pays homage to its founder, Louisa May Alcott. Today, the
Players perform at The Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden, which
is also home to the Concord Band and the Concord Orchestra. And
there are more than 50 resident artists at Emerson Umbrella Center
for the Arts that open their studios twice a year. Concord’s ArtWalk,
Sizzlin’ Summer Sidewalk Sales and Holiday Shopping Night bring
Concord’s merchants, artists, and performers to the streets. Concord
Center was the hub of activity for centuries of Concord residents
and remains so today.
Lowell’s Canalway District
How many urban landscapes offer both whitewater rafting and Smithsonian affiliate museums right in their downtown? Lowell’s cultural district offers both, as well as a thriving arts community. Lowell National Historical Park, Whistler House Museum of Art, Angkor Dance Troupe, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre are just a few examples of the city’s flourishing creative network. With seven large-scale annual festivals, a wide variety of performance spaces, hundreds of concerts per year, innovative creative spaces for making and exhibiting artwork like The Arts League of Lowell, Brush Art Gallery and Studios, and unchARTed, and more than nine countries of cuisine in three city blocks, Lowell is the premier entertainment city of the Merrimack Valley.
Natick Center Cultural District
The Natick Center Cultural District’s majestic, late 19th-century, “neo-gothic” architecture serves as a visually impressive historic platform for the district’s numerous cultural offerings and its cultural anchors – The Center for Arts in Natick (TCAN) and the municipally-owned Morse Institute Library. Another key cultural amenity within the cultural district is the town common. Quintessentially New England, with its ample green space and wooden gazebo, the common provides an ideal stage for a busy calendar of free public concerts and festivals. The district is a culmination of over a decade of historic preservation and public and private investment in the town center’s streetscape and façade improvements, and cultural facilities. In 2003, TCAN opened its doors in downtown – following an impassioned rescue mission by a group of local citizens and the thoughtful restoration of Natick’s historic (c. 1875) Central Fire Station on Summer Street – into the premier performing arts center in the MetroWest area. TCAN drew nearly 20,000 attendees to its 300 performances, classes, lectures, film programs, and art exhibitions during the past year. The Cultural District is home to over 100 working artists and dozens of independently owned businesses. Events such as the yearly Natick Open Studios, the Art Walk and historic walking tours knit together the Cultural District’s many activities. And, just steps away from the Common, the world-renowned Walnut Hill School for the Arts brings artists from all over the world to Natick, and down to Main Street to perform in the heart of this wonderful little town.
Shelburne Falls Cultural District
This rural pairing of two villages on either side of the Deerfield River joined by an historic iron bridge – Shelburne and Buckland – is a delightful surprise. Honored as one of the “100 Best Small Art Towns in America” the towns are recognized as a nationally desirable cultural destination. Shelburne Falls gets it all right – preserving its historic, small town character while being open to the best of modern life. It is a village with a thriving cultural community nestled in the heart of farms and country roads. Enjoy world class opera in Memorial Hall’s 1898 Met Live series. Visit eclectic art and crafts galleries and studios throughout the village. Enjoy the ambience of Mocha Maya’s Coffee House offering live music year-round. The Bridge of Flowers, once a busy trolley bridge, is now a world famous garden. Visit the trolley museum, or the candlepin museum, or the curious geological potholes. Linger in local eateries. Fun family friendly fairs and festivals throughout the year celebrate the arts cultural and nature of Shelburne Falls and the surrounding hill towns.
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About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The MCC 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 of grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. The MCC is funded primarily by the state and through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bank of America and others. It achieves its mission through grants, services, and partnerships to nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities and artists.