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New $3.14M Public Investment Made into 28 Cultural Facilities

Bethann Steiner, Senior Director of Public Affairs

photo of the inside of a black box theater with the pov from the stage. Rows of empty chairs fill the mid and background. 2 theater works roll folding tables across the stage towards the chairs
Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theater at the New England Conservatory.

Today MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council, two state agencies that jointly administer the Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF), announce 28 newly approved CFF grants investing a total of $3,139,000 into cultural facilities and projects throughout the Commonwealth.

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.

The Cultural Facilities Fund is funded annually through the Governor’s Capital Spending Plan. In FY24 the Healey-Driscoll Administration invested $10 million into the CFF, which supports this grant round and the awards announced today.

“Through the Cultural Facilities Fund, our Administration is proud to support the facilities that are the foundation for Massachusetts’ thriving arts and culture sector,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We’re grateful for the partnership of MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council, and we thank the awardees for their efforts to maintain and restore the spaces that mean so much to our state.”

“Investing in museums, theaters, and other cultural facilities across Massachusetts strengthens our community assets, boosts the tourism economy, and creates jobs,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “We are pleased to partner with Mass Cultural Council in administering this important grant program and thank the Healey-Driscoll Administration and legislature for their continued support.”

“The CFF is a special program – it serves as the Commonwealth’s main public investment to help maintain cultural facilities, thereby supporting the efforts of nonprofit organizations and municipalities to keep these important spaces in a state of good repair,” said Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “I’m so pleased to congratulate today’s grantees and encourage eligible entities to consider applying for assistance from the FY24 grant cycle.”

Celebrating 28 New Investments into Massachusetts Cultural Facilities

Twenty-seven capital grants, totaling $3,104,000, and one $35,000 feasibility and technical assistance grant were approved by a vote of the MassDevelopment Board of Directors today, including:

  • The Town of Sandwich received a $200,000 capital grant to support exterior repairs, historic window replacements, and to expand gallery, program, and office space in the future home of the Sandwich Arts Alliance at Town Hall.
  • Berkshire Theatre Group, Inc., located in Pittsfield, received a $153,000 capital grant to help with the installation of solar panels on the Colonial Theatre and warehouse roof.
  • Armenian Museum of America, Inc. in Watertown received a $146,000 capital grant to support a roof replacement project.
  • The Hassanamisco Nipmuc Band, of Grafton, received a $137,000 capital grant to support the interior restoration of the Hassanamisco/Cisco Homestead and Museum, to resume use as a public museum educating visitors about the culture and history of the Nipmuc people and other southern New England tribes.
  • The Cabot Performing Arts Center, Inc., located in Beverly, received a $104,000 capital grant to help with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant renovations to the stage area.

Read the full list of projects approved today

FY24 CFF Application Now Open

Today the agencies also announced the launch of the FY24 CFF application period. Nonprofits, municipalities, and colleges with cultural facilities seeking capital or planning assistance are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is December 14, 2023. Awards are expected to be announced in May 2024.

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 20-year capital needs assessment conducted by a preselected contractor hired by the Cultural Facilities Fund to assess the facility’s structure and its mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and life-safety systems. A green energy planning analysis is also available.

Applicants seeking more information are encouraged to review the FY24 program guidelines, register for a virtual information session on October 18, 2023; and 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.

From 2007 through today, the CFF has awarded $165,152,646 to 1,427 projects across the Commonwealth, employing more than 35,444 architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers. The organizations engaged in this work expect to add 2,992 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 and are popular tourist destinations. 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.

Apply for a Cultural Facilities Fund grant

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