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Announcing $7.66M in New Cultural Facilities Fund Grants

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

94 Awards Were Made in the Program's 15th Grant Round

photo of a gallery at the Institute of Contemporary Art - a handful of visitors standing in the back ground, a wooden bench cuts through into the foreground. Large canvases hang of walls to teh left anf right side of the frame
Visitors enjoying the Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston.

Update May 24, 2023Today the MassDevelopment Board voted to approve one last FY23 CFF capital grant recommended by program staff. Lawrence’s Essex Art Center was awarded $87,000 to help support the creation of a new makers space, the Creativity Lab.

With this final award, the FY23 CFF grant round includes a total of 95 grants totaling $7,748,000.


Today MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council, two state agencies that jointly administer the Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF), announce the 94 recipients of the FY23 CFF grant round, investing a total of $7,661,000 into cultural facilities and projects throughout the Commonwealth.

“Massachusetts is fortunate to be home to many museums, theaters, and other arts and culture-based destinations, and the Cultural Facilities Fund provides an important avenue for the Commonwealth to co-invest in their upkeep and expansion,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “These institutions are core to our economy – driving tourism, creating jobs, and educating and inspiring countless visitors. MassDevelopment is proud to administer this fund together with the Mass Cultural Council, and thanks the Healey-Driscoll Administration and Legislature for their support.”

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. All CFF awards are subject to a 1:1 matching requirement.

Funded annually through the Governor’s Capital Spending Plan, this round of CFF grants is supported by a $10 million capital bond appropriation approved in 2022. The Healey-Driscoll Administration has also proposed a $10 million appropriation in its second supplemental budget to support an additional round of the program.

“The Cultural Facilities Fund is such a wonderful partnership – created by the Legislature, funded annually by the Administration, and jointly managed by Mass Cultural Council and MassDevelopment – all parties working together to ensure that cultural infrastructure has a public source for maintenance and support in Massachusetts,” said Michael J. Bobbitt Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “These facilities are an important part of the Commonwealth’s creative and cultural sector, hosting public events, meetings, concerts, and classes, allowing creatives to engage with members, visitors, and audiences. It’s so important – for safety, for access, and for our state economy – to invest in and take good care of these gathering places, so that we can all engage and partake in the power of culture.”

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.

In this 15th grant round, a total of 179 applications were received: 137 proposals for capital projects; 31 for Feasibility and Technical Assistance grants; and 11 for SRP grants.

Seventy-six, or 42% of these applications were submitted by first-time applicants to Mass Cultural Council, and 16, or 9% of the applications were submitted by organizations who self-identify as BIPOC-centered organizations.

A total of 94 awards worth $7,661,000 was approved by a vote of the MassDevelopment Board of Directors on May 11, including:

  • 59 Capital Grants – totaling $6,894,000.
  • 25 Feasibility and Technical Assistance Grants – totaling $668,000.
  • 10 Systems Replacement Plan Grants – totaling $99,000.

“Mass Cultural Council has adopted an Agency-wide recruitment and outreach strategy to ensure creative and cultural sector stakeholders from every artistic discipline and community are aware of our resources,” said Bobbitt. “I am pleased to welcome these 76 new cultural organizations and hope they will continue to engage with our programming.

A complete list of the Cultural Facilities Fund grant recipients is available online; below are five examples of capital projects receiving an award:

  • Otis Historical Commission, Otis – $200,000 for the renovation and repurposing of the historic St. Paul’s Church to become the Otis Cultural Center.
  • Creative Hub Worcester, Inc., Worcester – $200,000 to support the transformation of a historic 1914 community building into the future Creative Hub Community Arts Center.
  • Love Art Collective, Springfield – $174,000 for the acquisition of a new commercial space to create a community center named Block Art Studio.
  • The Sandwich Historical Society, Sandwich – $140,000 for structural renovations, fire/health safety and energy efficiency improvements.
  • Puppet Showplace, Inc., Brookline – $138,000 for new lighting, sound, and projection systems, accessible ramps, and exterior façade renovations.

See the 2023 Funding List

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