MassDevelopment has announced $340,000 in grants to 11 organizations to complete art and other creative-industry projects in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities.
The initial round of these Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Creative Catalyst Grant awards will support locally initiated, public-facing projects that advance arts- and culture-based economic development and neighborhood revitalization.
The awards are funded by the Barr Foundation, which in 2019 awarded MassDevelopment a $500,000 grant to create new arts-based programming through the agency’s Transformative Development Initiative. MassDevelopment also contributed funding in order to support additional projects.
MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss said the awards “will empower Gateway City stakeholders to revitalize underused spaces, build community, and advance their neighborhoods as regional centers of arts and culture. We thank our partners at the Barr Foundation for their continued support and commitment to fostering the arts and creative economy across Massachusetts.”
Barr Foundation Director of Arts & Creativity San San Wong said the projects “will create more equitable access to arts across the Commonwealth. Dovetailing well with TDI’s economic revitalization efforts, they promise greater vibrancy, cultural diversity, and social infrastructure in communities.”
MassDevelopment’s TDI Creative Catalyst Grant program is a competitive grant program through which individuals and organizations in current and graduated TDI districts can apply for grants ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 to support projects that enhance local arts and culture infrastructure. The program was developed following feedback from stakeholders in Gateway Cities and staff from MassDevelopment and the Barr Foundation about the need for new, flexible implementation funding to support projects that: (1) test a concept new to the TDI district, and (2) catalyze activities that will strengthen the capacity of the arts and culture ecosystem within the community.
In this initial round, current TDI districts – in the cities of Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Fitchburg, Lawrence, Springfield, and Worcester (Main South) – as well as graduated TDI districts – in the cities of Brockton, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lynn, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Revere, and Worcester (Theatre District) – were eligible to apply. Today’s awards include funding to support public art, community theatres, public markets and gardens, artist spaces, and more.
MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative works with cross-sector partnerships to engage community members, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment. During the program’s first three and a half years, MassDevelopment has invested $13.5 million in the TDI districts through tools such as technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs, and fellows who work in the districts. That investment has directly influenced over $39.8 million and assisted an additional $80.6 million of public and private investments in the districts. In addition to the Creative Catalyst Grant program, the Barr Foundation’s $500,000 grant to MassDevelopment’s TDI program is also funding additional capacity in New Bedford to support a planning phase focused on creative-industry development and arts and culture infrastructure.
The following organizations received TDI Creative Catalyst Grant program awards:
Brockton Arts Inc., Brockton – $25,000
MAMUSE – Art to the City
TheatreZone, Inc. (DBA Apollinaire Theatre Company), Chelsea – $30,000
Chelsea Community Theatre at the Chelsea Theatre Works
YEAH! (Youth Experiencing Art and Hope), Fall River – $40,000
Connectivity as a Catalyst for Community Change
NewVue Communities, Fitchburg – $25,000
Fitchburg Arts Collective Studio Space
The Switchboard, Haverhill – $25,000
Switchboard Artist Residency Program
Paper City Clothing Company, Holyoke – $35,000
Urbana Art Studio
Downtown Lynn Cultural District, Lynn – $30,000
City of Revere, Revere – $40,000
Summer Nights at Sandler Square: An Open Air Night Market Pilot
Art for the Soul Gallery, Springfield – $25,000
Creative Quarantine Springfield Pilot
Springfield Cultural Partnership Incorporated, Springfield – $25,000
Springfield Creative Leaders Mentorship Program
Regional Environmental Council, Worcester – $40,000
Main South Grown: Celebrating Food & Gardens in Main South
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.