BOSTON, MA — In May, the MassDevelopment Board of Directors approved $9,302,400 in new grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF), a state program that provides capital and planning grants to nonprofits, colleges, and municipalities that own or operate facilities primarily focused on the arts, humanities, and sciences. As part of the funding round, the Friends of the Paragon Carousel and the Hull Artists Studio Connection received $120,000 and $22,000 respectively.
“The investments made by the MCC will bring much needed cash-flow in our local economies and serve as another draw to our Main Street businesses,” said Senator O’Connor (R-Weymouth). “The grant funding represents a great opportunity for both the Friends of the Paragon Carousel and the Hull Artists.”
- Friends of the Paragon Carousel — $120,000 Capital Grant for the restoration of the historic Clock Tower Building.
- Hull Artists Studio Connection — $22,000 Feasibility Grant for the conversion of a vacant DCR-owned building into a regional arts center for classroom, meeting spaces, gallery, and workspaces.
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.
Over 13 years the CFF has awarded $129 million to 1,063 projects across the Commonwealth, employing more than 29,350 architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers. The nonprofit organizations engaged in this work expect to add 2,500 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. They are popular tourist destinations: more than six million people visited these sites in the past year, one-third from out of state. The CFF has also spurred private investment, leveraging about $2.8 billion in spending on their building projects. Finally, CFF grants contribute to cultural preservation by helping to restore and expand many of our nation’s most treasured historical landmarks.
MassDevelopment and Mass Cultural Council jointly administer the CFF, and an Advisory Committee appointed by the Governor provides oversight to its operation. The program is funded through $10 million from the state’s Fiscal Year 2020 capital spending plan, authorized by the state Legislature and allocated by the Governor.
Moving forward, the CFF is viewed as an important economic revitalization tool for the cultural sector. Cultural organizations have been financially devastated by closures and cancellations related to COVID-19, reporting more than a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue loss and thousands of jobs impacted
“As Massachusetts moves to reopen and loosen social distancing measures, the cultural sector will require technical assistance from experts to understand public expectations and ensure health and safety during group events, as well as capital assistance to invest in the facilities, retrofit equipment, and allow responsible reopening to proceed,” said Anita Walker, MCC Executive Director. “Massachusetts is fortunate to have the CFF as an existing tool for our post-COVID reopening strategy and plans.”
Senator Patrick O’Connor represents the Plymouth and Norfolk district, which includes the towns of Cohasset, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Norwell, Scituate, and Weymouth. Sen. O’Connor and his staff may be reached at the State House via telephone at 617-722-1646 or by email at Patrick.O’[email protected]