The Berkshires and Western Massachusetts were a major winner when Governor Deval Patrick announced $7.4 million in grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF). Close to $1.5 million will come directly to those of us in the Western part of the states, 58% or $853,000 of that in the Berkshires alone.
The overall funds go to support a variety of building projects for nonprofit arts, heritage, and science organizations across the Commonwealth.
These grants go a long way to providing construction jobs and enhancing the ability of the cultural institutions to serve their local citizens while attracting further tourism through larger or improved facilities.
Overall, the new CFF investment will support repairs, improvements, and expansions for 54 cultural organizations that plan to invest nearly $275 million in their projects. Grants will range from $14,000 to $250,000. A full list of new grants can be found online and below.
“These grants will create new jobs in arts, culture, and tourism — three pillars of our state’s creative economy. These investments will support our cultural organizations and allow them to serve the public with quality programs that will enrich our communities for generations to come.” – Governor Duval Patrick.
CFF fuels a nonprofit creative sector that employs 27,100 people, spends $2.1 billion annually, and generates another $2.5 billion of economic activity across Massachusetts, according to a recent study by the New England Foundation for the Arts.
Organizations that received past CFF grants are spending more than $800 million on their building projects, and providing more than 11,000 building jobs, including architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers. They also plan to add more than 1,150 new permanent jobs after their capital projects are complete.
CFF grants have also helped restore many of our nation’s most historic landmarks and treasures, which in turn have brought more cultural tourists to Massachusetts. In 2008 and 2009, more than 14 million people visited organizations receiving these grants; nearly one third came from out-of-state.
State Senator Stephen Brewer of Barre spoke about the value of CFF investments for one of those organizations in his Central Mass. district. “Old Sturbridge Village has been a staple in the community for many years and is a driving force for visitors to the area,” said Brewer, who chairs the Senate Ways & Means Committee. “I applaud the Village for its hard work and the many improvements they have already made to make the visitor experience one to remember. The infrastructure improvements that will be made possible by this grant will ensure that the buildings, roads, and structures here will be preserved for generations of visitors to come.”
“We thank the Governor for his commitment to investing in our nonprofit cultural sector through CFF,” said Anita Walker, MCC Executive Director. “We are also grateful to Senator Brewer and his colleagues in the Legislature for providing the authority for these investments. Support for this program is strong because it is real economic stimulus for a sector that adds so much to our quality of life.”
“From Cape Cod to the Berkshires, investing in the Commonwealth’s cultural institutions makes economic sense,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “Working to maintain and improve these facilities will continue to draw visitors to Massachusetts and provide creative outlets and activities for residents. I thank Governor Patrick and the Legislature for their support of this program; MassDevelopment is pleased to partner with the Cultural Council on issuing these grants.”
Here are the grants made to Western Massachusetts:
Chesterwood Museum and Estate, Stockbridge
Restoration of Daniel Chester French’s Studio
About the Facility: Chesterwood Museum and Estate is comprised of the country home, studio, and gardens of Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, including the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. The studio, built in 1898, is in dire need of repairs.
About the Project: The Cultural Facilities Fund awarded Chesterwood Museum and Estate $250,000 to undertake a comprehensive restoration of the interior, exterior, and structural supports of Daniel Chester French’s Studio.
Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc., Lenox
About the Facility: Designed and built in 1902, the Mount is the estate and gardens of Edith Wharton. In addition to being a historic site and center for culture, the Gilded Age mansion is also a National Trust for Historic Preservation landmark.
About the Project: The Cultural Facilities Fund awarded Edith Wharton Restoration $137,000 to replace and fully restore the roofs, cupolas, and chimneys of the Stables, the Mount’s primary visitor center and programming space, and the Gatehouse, the year-round administrative office space.
Holyoke Public Library, Holyoke
Renovation and Expansion
About the Facility: The Holyoke Public Library owns and operates the Holyoke History Room & Archives, focusing on Holyoke’s unique history of industry and immigration. Since 2005, the History Room & Archives has been housed at Holyoke Community College due to detrimental environmental conditions in the library.
About the Project: The Cultural Facilities Fund awarded the Holyoke Public Library $248,000 to renovate and expand the facility in order to return the Holyoke History Room & Archives to its original home in the library. The work includes the restoration and partial relocation of the Graziani murals depicting Holyoke history.
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington
About the Facility: The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center presents music, dance, theater, and film in a 101-year-old, 700-seat theater. Most of the theater has been newly restored with the expertise of architect Hugh Hardy, but additional improvements need to be made to bring the facility up to 21st-century standards for a theatrical venue.
About the Project: The Cultural Facilities Fund awarded the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center $100,000 to support capital improvements. The project includes safety upgrades, facility repair and maintenance, and the purchase of sound and lighting equipment.
Northampton Community Music Center, Inc., Northampton
Renovation and Expansion of Lower Level
About the Facility: Northampton Community Music Center is a music school that fosters the love and pursuit of music through quality music education, performances, and activities accessible to all. The Center is housed in the historic South Street School Building, constructed in 1891.
About the Project: The Cultural Facilities Fund awarded Northampton Community Music Center $100,000 to renovate and expand the lower level of its facility to create 3,500 additional square feet for teaching, performing, and storage.
The Samuel Harrison Society, Inc., Pittsfield
Restoration of the Samuel Harrison Homestead
About the Facility: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Samuel Harrison Homestead is the birthplace of Reverend Samuel Harrison, an officer and chaplain for the Mass 54th Regiment, the all black volunteer unit that fought for the Union in the Civil War.
About the Project: The Cultural Facilities Fund awarded the Samuel Harrison Society $63,000 to restore the Samuel Harrison Homestead and create an African-American house museum and archive upon completion.
The Springfield Museums, Springfield
G.W.V.S. Art Museum
About the Facility: The G.W.V.S. Art Museum, built in 1895, is one of five of the Springfield Museums. Fashioned after an elegant Italian villa, the museum houses a fine collection of 19th-century Chinese, Japanese, and Middle Eastern art, as well as a selection of 19th-century American paintings.
About the Project: The Cultural Facilities Fund awarded the Springfield Museums $250,000 for improvements to the G.W.V.S. Art Museum. The project includes the installation of climate modification and the repair of the museum’s roof and skylights.
Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown
Visitor, Exhibition, and Conference Center
About the Facility: The Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, located on a 140-acre campus in the Berkshires, is both an art museum and a center for research and higher education.
About the Project: The Cultural Facilities Fund awarded the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute $250,000 to design, construct, and equip a new 47,500 square foot Visitor, Exhibition, and Conference Center. The center will include special exhibition galleries, upgraded visitor amenities, and much-needed space for conferences and symposia.
Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown
Scene Shop Facility
About the Facility: Williamstown Theatre Festival is a summer-long festival held on the campus of Williams College in the Berkshires. The organization strives to attract top talent, cultivate young artists, and produce reinterpreted versions of classics and new plays from gifted playwrights.
About the Project: The Cultural Facilities Fund awarded Williamstown Theatre Festival $53,000 to renovate and outfit a new scene shop facility. The work will focus on general renovations and accessibility for the carpentry shop, metal shop, paint shop, office space, and prop storage.