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15 New Cultural Facilities Fund Grants Announced at Battleship Cove in Fall River

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

FY23 Cultural Facilities Fund Application Now Open

photo of 5 people standing. smiling in the Memorial Room of the USS Massachusetts
Rep. Carole Fiola, Rep. Alan Silvia, Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Michael J. Bobbitt, and Mass Cultural Council Member Kathleen Castro at the Cultural Facilities Fund celebration in Fall River onboard the USS Massachusetts.

Today MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council, two state agencies that jointly administer the Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF), convened in Fall River with local elected officials and cultural sector stakeholders to celebrate fifteen (15) newly approved CFF grants investing a total of $1,552,500 into cultural facilities and projects throughout the Commonwealth.

“Cultural organizations are the anchors of local economies across Massachusetts,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “The Cultural Facilities Fund helps recipients move forward with capital projects that preserve, improve, and expand these indispensable artistic and cultural spaces.”

The CFF provides capital and planning grants to nonprofit organizations, colleges, and municipalities that own or operate facilities primarily focused on the arts, humanities, and sciences. CFF awards invest in the acquisition, design, repair, renovation, expansion, and construction of nonprofit and municipal cultural facilities.

The Cultural Facilities Fund is funded annually through the Governor’s Capital Spending Plan. In FY23 the Baker/Polito Administration invested $10 million into the CFF, which supports this grant round and the awards announced today.

Celebrating 15 New Investments into Massachusetts Cultural Facilities

“Overwhelmingly, when I meet with leaders of cultural organizations across Massachusetts, the number one concern I hear about is the cost associated with infrastructure and facility maintenance,” said Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “The CFF is an important program, as it provides state support for these capital projects. These awards recognize the key economic impacts these cultural facilities provide their communities and the Commonwealth and invests in their future sustainability. I am so pleased to congratulate today’s CFF recipients and cannot wait to see these projects unfold.”

Mass Cultural Council and MassDevelopment were joined by State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D- Westport), State Representative Carole A. Fiola (D- Fall River), State Representative Alan Silvia (D- Fall River), Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan, and representatives of cultural organizations at Battleship Cove to celebrate fifteen new CFF grants totaling $1,552,500:

Organization City/Town Description Grant
Barre Players Barre To create an accessible entrance to the Barre Players Theatre. $2,500
Community Fair Association of North Chester, Chester Hill and Littleville Chester To upgrade the current bathrooms at the Littleville Fairgrounds with handicap accessible facilities that include showers. $110,000
Downtown Amherst Foundation Amherst For renovations to open The Drake: a live performance and music venue in the center of Amherst. $180,000
Lynn Auditorium Lynn To purchase and install an integrated stage lighting system. $80,000
Middlesex Canal Association Billerica To complete the new Middlesex Canal Visitor Center and Museum. $200,000
Museum of Science Boston To address deterioration and structural maintenance to the parking garage. $200,000
New England Aquarium Corporation Boston For an upgraded building automation system. $100,000
New England Historic Genealogical Society Boston For a climate control and energy efficiency system. $200,000
Punto Urban Art Museum Salem To support the creation of the Punto Urban Art Museum (PUAM) headquarters including a gallery, café, and gift shop with a social enterprise focus. $200,000
Rocky Neck Art Colony Gloucester To replace the rear access door, exterior paint, and a new retaining wall behind the building. $20,000
Seekonk Fire Museum Seekonk For repairs to a historic fire station housing thousands of artifacts and four antique fire apparatus dating back to the 1920’s. $10,000
Sevenars Concerts Worthington For foundation work and new windows in the concert hall of the historic Sevenars Academy building. $20,000
Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program Williamsburg For renovations to interior and exterior walls, relocation of stairs, vaulting work, electrical and lighting upgrades, window replacements, and for new heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems in the Flameworking Studio. $20,000
U.S.S. Massachusetts Memorial Committee Fall River To restore the Steward’s Berthing Compartment aboard the USS Massachusetts and create signage exploring the history of segregation in the United States Navy. $20,000
Wang Center for the Performing Arts Boston For new energy efficient, LED video-screen marquees on the Wang and Shubert Theatres. $190,000
Total: $1,552,500

“Many of our cultural hubs in the Commonwealth are several decades old or more,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael J. Rodrigues (D- Westport), “I am thrilled that we have made further CFF grant opportunities available to enhance these facilities, so they may be enjoyed by the public for many years to come.”

“Congratulations to Battleship Cove and all recipients of this round of CFF grants and thank you to Mass Cultural Council and MassDevelopment for their work in administering these well-deserved funds. These investments in the physical infrastructure of our cultural facilities bolster Massachusetts’ tourism and creative economies. As the House Chair of the Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee, I am proud to support these investments and work with Mass Cultural Council as they continue to promote and invest in the arts and culture sector,” said State Representative Carole A. Fiola (D- Fall River).

“I am pleased that the USS Massachusetts Memorial Committee, Inc. is a recipient of this award,” said State Representative Alan Silvia (D- Fall River). “It is important to Fall River and the Commonwealth that we continue to support capital projects and sustain this wonderful maritime museum and war memorial for its many annual visitors.”

“Cultural attractions like the Battleship Cove Museum provide important recreational opportunities to our residents, boost our economy and are crucial to our tourism efforts,” said Mayor Paul Coogan. “As we recover from the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and our cultural economy, I am grateful to MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council for investing in facilities like the USS Massachusetts. It was an honor to welcome award recipients from across the state to Fall River this morning as we celebrated the Cultural Facilities Fund program.”

FY23 CFF Application Now Open

Today the agencies also marked the launch of the FY23 CFF application period. Nonprofit and municipal cultural organizations with facilities seeking capital or planning assistance are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is February 2, 2023. Awards are expected to be announced in May 2023.

There are three types of awards available through the Cultural Facilities Fund:

  1. Capital Grants, which support the acquisition, design, construction, repair, renovation, rehabilitation or other capital improvements or deferred maintenance of a cultural facility.
  2. Feasibility & Technical Assistance Grants, for costs and expenses related to overall planning and feasibility for a proposed eligible project.
  3. Systems Replacement Plan Grants (SRP), a specific type of Feasibility and Technical Assistance Grant specifically designed for organizations without full-time maintenance staff. The SRP is a 20-year capital needs assessment of the building and its mechanical systems.

Applicants seeking more information about the program are encouraged to review the FY23 Program Guidelines, register for the virtual information session on October 25 at 1pm, or sign up to attend online office hours with CFF program staff.

About the Cultural Facilities Fund
The CFF was created by an act of the Legislature in 2006 to achieve the following goals:

  • Enhance Massachusetts’ creative economy through financing for acquisition, construction, expansion, renovation, and repair of cultural facilities.
  • Increase employment, entrepreneurialism, and tourism in the regions where these facilities are located, especially drawing new visitors from outside the Commonwealth.
  • Stimulate further investment in the arts, heritage, and sciences by preserving cultural resources.

Since 2007 the CFF has awarded $154,265,646 to 1,304 projects across the Commonwealth, employing more than 33,410 architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers. The nonprofit organizations engaged in this work expect to add 2,809 new permanent jobs after completing their projects.

The CFF’s impact extends beyond the nonprofit cultural sector in ways that benefit Massachusetts’ broader economy. The organizations awarded grants generate millions in annual economic activity through direct spending on everything from supplies to energy and advertising. They are popular tourist destinations: prior to the COVID-19 pandemic more than six million people visited these sites, one-third from out of state. The CFF has also spurred private investment, leveraging about $2.7 billion in spending from the funded projects. Finally, CFF grants contribute to cultural preservation by helping to restore and expand many of our nation’s most treasured historical landmarks.

About Mass Cultural Council
Mass Cultural Council is an independent state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contributes to the economic vitality of our communities. The Agency pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.

About MassDevelopment
MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2022, MassDevelopment financed or managed 356 projects generating investment of more than $1.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 11,080 jobs and build or preserve 1,778 housing units.

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