The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) today approved a spending plan for the coming year that will invest more than $12 million in grants to nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, education programs, and working artists across the Commonwealth. Upwards of a million dollars of the funds will be invested in the Berkshires through a variety of programs listed below, plus others that do not break down by community. we have included both Chester and some of the Hilltown activities since they are so nearby. This includes only MCC programs, with additional support coming from other programs and agencies. For example, the major Mass MoCA expansion is being funded by a $25 million state capital grant which does not fall under the MCC. It is arguably the largest state grant ever made in the arts and culture field since the state committed $35 million to build the museum in the 1990’s.
The local cultural councils are seeing a small increase, Pittsfield for example goes from $22,470 in 2015 to $24,800 in 2016. These funds are re-granted to smaller local cultural activities that add to the quality of life in each city and town.
MCC’s FY16 spending plan benefits from a $2 million increase to its state appropriation, overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature last month. The increase represented another important step toward restoring funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences that was lost through recession-driven budget cuts. The MCC Board voted unanimously to approve a plan that will invest in the following Berkshire organizations and initiatives:
MCC Organizational Support in the Berkshires – 2016
Aston Magna Foundation for Music
Barrington Stage Company, Inc.
Berkshire Choral International
Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative
The Berkshire Historical Society, Inc.
The Berkshire Museum
The Berkshire Music School, Inc.
Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Inc.
Berkshire Pulse, Inc.
The Berkshire Theatre Group
Center for EcoTechnology, Inc.
The Cantilena Chamber Choir
Chester Theatre Company
Chesterwood Museum and Estate
Close Encounters with Music, Inc.
Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute
Community Access to the Arts, Inc.
Double Edge Theatre Productions, Inc.
Flying Cloud Institute
Hancock Shaker Village, Inc.
IS183 Art School
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Inc.
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Inc.
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
Music in Common, Inc.
The Orion Society
The Norman Rockwell Museum
Shakespeare & Company
WAM Theatre, Inc.
Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc.
Williams College Museum of Art
The Local Cultural Council Allocations – 2016
Alford-Egremont Cultural Council
Ashfield Cultural Council
Becket Cultural Council
Chester Cultural Council
Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire
Dalton Cultural Council
Great Barrington Cultural Council
Hinsdale-Peru Cultural Council
Lee Cultural Council
Lenox Cultural Council
Mount Washington Cultural Council
New Marlborough Cultural Council
Otis Cultural Council
Pittsfield Cultural Council
Richmond Cultural Council
Sheffield Cultural Council
Stockbridge Cultural Council
Tyringham Cultural Council
Washington Cultural Council
Windsor Cultural Council
Special Grant Programs – Youth Outreach in 2016
Barrington Stage Company, Inc., Pittsfield
Playwright Mentoring Project: Our Playwright Mentoring Project (PMP) is an intensive, six month, out-of-school activity that uses theatre as a catalyst to help at-risk youth (ages 13 to 19) learn valuable life skills that can aid them in developing positive self- images.
Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, North Adams
Teen Writing Workshop: Teen Writing Workshop brings together young writers to develop their creative work with the guidance of expert staff. They participate in weekly writing sessions, and have the opportunity to publish their work and share it in public.
Shakespeare & Company, Lenox
Shakespeare in the Courts: For adjudicated youth in the Berkshire County Juvenile Courts system to rehearse and perform a Shakespeare play instead of incarceration or community service, helping the young people develop more consistent positive behaviors.
Creative Economy Grants – Cultural Districts, Adams Arts Program 2016
Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, Pittsfield
Project: Western Massachusetts Film and Media Initiative to improve the infrastructure and viability of the film, television, and media industry in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties through workforce trainings for local residents; networking events and trade conferences; marketing initiatives that attract filmmakers and other media producers to the region; and fostering initiatives that increase film-related tourism and local business revenue.
Double Edge Theatre Productions, Inc., Ashfield
Project: The Hilltowns Outdoor Spectacle to boost economic development, community partnerships and civic pride through a collaboration between artists, tradespeople and community members of the Hill Towns area.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Project: Berkshire Cultural Resource Center to provide presenting and sales opportunities as well as professional development resources for artists, arts professionals, and creative economy workers with the goal of attracting and retaining a creative class of people to the Berkshires while fostering economic stability in downtown North Adams.
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams
Project: Assets for Artists to provide an innovative set of tools to enable low-income artists of all disciplines to advance entrepreneurially and financially through financial education, microenterprise training, home ownership assistance, and access to capital; and help communities throughout Massachusetts attract and retain artists, contributing to the cultural and economic vitality of those communities.
Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development, Pittsfield
Project: Upstreet Creative to increase the number of visitors, new businesses, and active artist spaces in the Upstreet Cultural District; to support writers through mobile pop-up studios and a new residency program; to generate increased revenue for arts-related businesses by enhancing the attractiveness and ease-of-use of the district with public art and creative signage, expanded arts visibility, artist installations, and special events; and to grow a robust economy in Pittsfield through cultural development.