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$359,000 Granted to 48 State-Designated Cultural Districts

Luis Cotto, Program Manager

Three pictures of people doing plein air painting in Haverhill: In one, a man sitting in a chair on a busy sidewalk painting. In another a man stands on a wooden walkway painting. In the third, a woman stands next to a parking lot painting.
In Haverhill, the Riverfront Cultural District’s monthly ArtWalk includes buskers and plein air artists painting. Photos: Creative Haverhill.

In Fiscal Year 2021 Mass Cultural Council invited its Cultural Districts to apply for up to $7,500 in assistance to support rebuilding and renewal efforts in their communities and ultimately awarded a total of $359,000 to 48 districts. Fifty-six percent (56%) of those grants were earmarked for artists and other creatives, investing directly into a sector devastated by the pandemic, Cultural Districts also used the grant to supplement COVID-19 safety interventions in their spaces.

Cultural Districts were especially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as cultural assets and traditional brick and mortar stores were closed for months. For Cultural District managers, this was a trying time as they worked to not only make each entity aware of the relief opportunities available, but also to serve as the point people locally working to raise spirits of the surrounding communities.

Investments made in this grant round include:

  • In the Springfield Central Cultural District, the Springfield Cultural Partnership will mobilize creatives and trusted community influencers to create culturally relevant and representative public health messaging that leads to the outcome of stopping the spread of COVID and increasing immunization rates.
  • In Haverhill, Creative Haverhill work with local stakeholders in the Riverfront Cultural District to hold a monthly downtown Haverhill Art Walk from May – September highlighting local businesses, creatives, underutilized spaces and encouraging tourism through displays of plein air painting, art exhibitions, demonstrations, and performances.
  • On Martha’s Vineyard, the Aquinnah Circle Cultural District will use funds to provide extra staff time and supplies needed to maintain COVID-safe public bathrooms, and for extra infrastructure required for safe activities to support the annual Native American Artisans Market.
  • The Framingham Centre Common Cultural District looked to create a more safe pedestrian experience by using funds to create a lighting plan for its historic Centre Common.
  • Gloucester’s two districts, the Harbortown Cultural District and the Rocky Neck Art Colony partnered to hold summer-long, Thursday night art strolls and charter a water taxi to ferry visitors back and forth across the harbor.

Mass Cultural Council administers the Cultural Districts Initiative on behalf of the Commonwealth, established in 2011 through an act of the state Legislature. This program enables state-designated Cultural Districts to drive economic growth, strengthen the influence of distinctive local character, and improve the quality of life across Massachusetts in our communities. There are currently 51 state-designated Cultural Districts helping our cultural communities thrive statewide.

FY21 Cultural District Grants

Organization City/Town Grant
Amherst Center Cultural District Amherst $7,500
Aquinnah Circle Cultural & Historic District Chilmark $7,500
Arlington Cultural District Arlington $7,500
Barnstable Village Cultural District Barnstable $7,500
Bedford Cultural District Bedford $7,500
Beverly Arts District Beverly $7,500
Boston Little Saigon Cultural District Boston $7,500
Boston’s Latin Quarter Boston $7,500
Canalway Cultural District Lowell $7,500
Central Square Cultural District Cambridge $7,500
Concord Center Cultural District Concord $7,500
Cottage Street Cultural District Easthampton $7,500
Crossroads Cultural District Greenfield $7,500
Downtown Lynn Cultural District Lynn $7,500
Fall River Waterfront Cultural District Fall River $7,500
Fenway Cultural District Boston $7,500
Framingham Centre Common Cultural District Framingham $7,500
Franklin Cultural District Franklin $7,500
Great Barrington Cultural District Great Barrington $7,500
Harbortown Cultural District Gloucester $7,500
Hyannis HyArts Cultural District Barnstable $7,500
Lenox Cultural District Lenox $7,500
Marlborough Downtown Village Cult. District Marlborough $7,500
Maynard Cultural District Maynard $7,500
Nantucket Cultural District Nantucket $7,500
Natick Center Cultural District Natick $7,500
Newburyport Cultural District Newburyport $7,500
North Adams Cultural District North Adams $7,500
Orleans Cultural District Orleans $7,500
Paradise City Cultural District Northampton $7,500
Plymouth Bay Cultural District Plymouth $7,500
Provincetown Cultural District Provincetown $7,500
Riverfront Cultural District Haverhill $7,500
Rockport Cultural District Rockport $7,500
Rocky Neck Cultural District Gloucester $7,500
Roxbury Cultural District Boston $7,500
Salisbury Cultural District Worcester $7,500
Scituate Harbor Cultural District Scituate $7,500
Seaport Cultural District New Bedford $7,500
Shelburne Falls Cultural District Shelburne $7,500
Shovel Town Cultural District Easton $7,500
Springfield Central Cultural District Springfield $7,500
Turners Falls Cultural District Montague $7,500
Upstreet Cultural District Pittsfield $7,500
Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District Tisbury $7,500
West Concord Junction Cultural District Concord $7,500
Williamstown Cultural District Williamstown $7,500
Winchester Cultural District Winchester $7,500


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