Mass Cultural Council, in partnership with other state agencies, has identified programs and resources that benefit cultural districts. There are state-wide and national marketing opportunities; there are Mass Cultural Council programs for developing cultural economic development strategies, artist live/work space and cultural facilities planning and construction. There are mapping resources available as well as educational opportunities from other communities in the Commonwealth and around the country.
The following is a partial list of programs and services available to cultural districts:
Massachusetts Office of Business Development
- “One Stop” Access to Business Resource Team
- Film Tax Credit
- Abandoned Building Renovation Tax Credit
- Economic Development Incentive Program
Department of Housing and Community Development
Contact: Carol Wolfe
Search site using: “Office of Sustainable Communities” or “Massachusetts Downtown Initiative”
- Office of Sustainable Communities: assistance with planning, community and economic development and land use and growth management
- Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI): assistance supporting downtown and town/city center revitalization efforts, including consultant services targeting specific issues (e.g., wayfinding, BIDs, cultural districts)
Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Historic Parkways and open spaces
- Popular Event Venues
- Historic Curatorship program
- Facilitating partnerships with “friends” groups and stakeholders, leveraging energy, finances and community connections.
- Historic facilities and landscapes
Mass Cultural Council
- Carolyn Cole, Cultural District Program Officer
- Lisa Simmons, Communities Program Manager
- Jay Paget, MA Cultural Facilities Fund Program Director
Cultural Facilities Fund: construction grants and technical assistance for a range of cultural facilities.
Local Cultural Council Program: grassroots cultural funding supporting community-based projects.
Contact: Katherine Stevens
Mass Humanities provides matching project grants (up to $5,000) for applicants interested in creating public humanities programming that explores the meaning of place and the special character or identity of a community or place. One model that has often been used is bringing different segments of a community together with a humanities scholar (public historian, folklorist/anthropologist, architectural or landscape historian, etc.) to explore the identity of a specific place.
Massachusetts Historical Commission
Contact: Michael Steinitz, Director, Preservation Planning Division Website:
- Assistance in documenting historic properties and in listing properties in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Assistance in developing local bylaws and ordinances to protect historic properties, sites and districts.
- Assistance in developing design guidelines and rehabilitation standards.
- Survey and Planning matching grant program for historic preservation planning activities.
- State and Federal historic preservation tax incentives for rehabilitation of qualified income-producing properties.
- Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund matching grant program for preservation of qualified municipal and non-profit owned historic properties and sites.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
- Assistance with sign placement on state road or highways directing people to cultural districts
- Federal transportation enhancement grants i.e. pedestrian, bicycle, beautification
- MassDOT “Complete Streets” design standards
- Scenic byways programs (federal designation)
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
- Posting of information about cultural districts on Consumer and Travel Industry Sections of web site.
- Posting of districts’ travel-related organizations and businesses to the Consumer Section of the site.
- Promoting cultural districts via MOTT’s arts and history e-newsletters.
- Meeting with cultural district organizations and businesses to provide information about how to access MOTT programs and resources and to provide cultural districts insights into marketing individually and collectively to domestic and international visitors.