MCC commits a million dollars to advance Berkshire arts organizations in 2016

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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
Great Barrington
$4,000

Barrington Stage Company, Inc.
Pittsfield
$27,500

Berkshire Choral International
Sheffield
$17,800

Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative
Pittsfield
$2,500

The Berkshire Historical Society, Inc.
Pittsfield
$3,800

The Berkshire Museum
Pittsfield
$21,800

The Berkshire Music School, Inc.
Pittsfield
$6,600

Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Inc.
Great Barrington
$2,500

Berkshire Pulse, Inc.
Great Barrington
$2,500

The Berkshire Theatre Group
Stockbridge
$29,700

Center for EcoTechnology, Inc.
Pittsfield
$39,200

The Cantilena Chamber Choir
Lenox
$2,500

Chester Theatre Company
Chester
$4,100

Chesterwood Museum and Estate
Stockbridge
$7,900

Close Encounters with Music, Inc.
Great Barrington
$3,800

Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute
Williamstown
$56,500

Community Access to the Arts, Inc.
Great Barrington
$7,400

Double Edge Theatre Productions, Inc.
Ashfield
$7,400

Flying Cloud Institute
Great Barrington
$4,500

Hancock Shaker Village, Inc.
Pittsfield
$18,900

Images Cinema
Williamstown
$4,900

IS183 Art School
West Stockbridge
$8,100

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Inc.
Becket
$38,600

The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Inc.
Great Barrington
$11,500

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
North Adams
$49,900

Music in Common, Inc.
Sheffield
$2,500

The Orion Society
Great Barrington
$14,900

Pilgrim Theatre
Ashfield
$2,500

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge
$34,400

Shakespeare & Company
Lenox
$35,800

WAM Theatre, Inc.
Lee
$2,500

Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc.
Lenox
$2,500

Williams College Museum of Art
Williamstown
$11,500

The Local Cultural Council Allocations – 2016

Alford-Egremont Cultural Council
$8,800

Ashfield Cultural Council
$4,400

Becket Cultural Council
$4,400

Chester Cultural Council
$4,400

Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire
$59,100

Dalton Cultural Council
$4,600

Great Barrington Cultural Council
$4,400

Hinsdale-Peru Cultural Council
$8,800

Lee Cultural Council
$4,500

Lenox Cultural Council
$4,400

Mount Washington Cultural Council
$4,400

New Marlborough Cultural Council
$4,400

Otis Cultural Council
$4,400

Pittsfield Cultural Council
$24,800

Richmond Cultural Council
$4,400

Sheffield Cultural Council
$4,400

Stockbridge Cultural Council
$4,400

Tyringham Cultural Council
$4,400

Washington Cultural Council
$4,400

Windsor Cultural Council
$4,400

Special Grant Programs – Youth Outreach in 2016

Barrington Stage Company, Inc., Pittsfield
Grant: $15,000
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
Grant: $15,000
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
Grant: $15,000
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
Grant: $35,000
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
Grant: $19,250
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
Grant: $28,000
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
Grant: $35,000
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
Grant: $35,000
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.

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