Our Vision for Creative Communities
Arts and culture breathe new life into cities, towns, and neighborhoods. These initiatives can take many forms—from restoring landmark cultural buildings, rehabilitating abandoned industrial space for artists and creative entrepreneurs, reviving downtowns and neighborhoods, or bringing communities together around cultural events. Culture also has an important role to play in defining and preserving identity—of the individual, of communities, and of this nation.

For four decades the Massachusetts Cultural Council has supported creative development in communities across the Commonwealth—urban, suburban, and rural. The MCC understands that each community in Massachusetts is unique, and that what works in one setting may not work in another. We believe that local problems require local solutions. But modest state investments in local cultural initiatives can achieve tangible social, cultural, and economic benefits.

Grant Programs include:

329 Local Cultural Councils, representing the largest grassroots network of arts support in the nation. These organizations fund school field trips to arts museums, plays, and historic sites, afterschool programs, workshops, free performances, and festivals. The councils are comprised of more than 2,300 volunteers who represent a cross-section of their communities; they are artists, business leaders, lawyers, librarians, homemakers, parents, and teachers.

Direct support for nearly 400 outstanding nonprofit arts, humanities, and science organizations that are the foundation our state’s rich cultural life. Our Cultural Investment Portfolio provides critical operating support that helps them more effectively serve their communities. Cultural Facilities Fund grants also provide vital support to allow these organizations to repair, restore, and expand the buildings where the creative work takes place.

Connecting arts and culture to broader community goals such as downtown revitalization or job growth through our nationally renowned Adams Arts Program. Adams grants leverage the assets of the creative sector—artists, cultural organizations, and arts-related businesses—in Massachusetts' communities to generate real income. Communities as diverse as Boston, Lowell, New Bedford, and Pittsfield have used these funds to more fully realize these assets for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.

Additionally, MCC's Artist Fellowships recognize the unique contribution made by artists to the cultural vitality of the Commonwealth.

Besides grants, MCC works to elevate the role of arts and culture in community life through the following:

Our new Cultural Districts Initiative builds on this work by giving cities and towns new tools and resources to strengthen local economies by focusing on culturally rich downtowns and neighborhoods.

Through ArtistLink, MCC leads a collaborative effort to create a stable environment for Massachusetts artists as they seek workspace and housing.

For the past two years we have partnered with MassINC to advance the fortunes of Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities by building the capacity of local cultural networks. And we work with other arts funders like the Boston Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts to help strengthen nonprofit cultural institutions through training and online education.

Creative Communities are further supported through MCC’s various online services such as ArtSake and, hireCulture.org.
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© Massachusetts Cultural Council 2017