Massachusetts Triples Cultural Facilities Fund

Museums and cultural organizations across the state will have access to three times as much money as last year to maintain their buildings. With a $15 million infusion, Gov. Deval Patrick is tripling the size of the Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF). He made this announcement Tuesday at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, a former recipient of one of these grants ($388,000).

The Legislature created the funding mechanism in 2006. It distributes somewhat “unsexy” funding so arts and cultural institutions can fix and upgrade aging structures and venues.

Megan Whilden, director of cultural development for the city of Pittsfield, was one of hundreds of advocates for the boost. She said facility upgrades, including new boilers and roofs, are critical for big institutions like the Museum of Fine Arts or Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston — but also her city's smaller ones.

“So for example in Pittsfield we have Arrowhead, which is Herman Melville’s historic home where he actually wrote 'Moby Dick,' ” Whilden said after attending the governor’s event today in Stockbridge. Whilden said the increase should help drive cultural tourism.

Matt Wilson, executive director of MassCreative, agrees. Wilson led a four-month-long grassroots effort to increase the CFF coffers. More than 200 creative institutions took part by raising their voices, according to Wilson.

"From institutions to mayors and chambers of commerce, they understand both the cultural and economic value that these facilities play in our communities,” Wilson explained.

Two-hundred and sixty-nine Massachusetts arts and cultural institutions have received $54.8 million since the CFF was launched five years ago.

This program aired on November 12, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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Andrea Shea Correspondent, Arts & Culture
Andrea Shea is a correspondent for WBUR's arts & culture reporter.



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