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May 18, 2023

Fitchburg, Worcester facilities among 11 awardees of $1.3M in cultural grants

Rendering | Courtesy of Fitchburg State University Fitchburg State University's theaterLAB was among 11 Central Mass. cultural projects to receive funding from Mass. Cultural Council.

Fitchburg State University, Creative Hub Worcester, and Southborough Historical Society were among the largest recipients of $7.6 million in Cultural Facilities Fund grants statewide from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

“Massachusetts is fortunate to be home to many museums, theaters, and other arts and culture-based destinations,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera said in a Tuesday press release from MCC. “These institutions are core to our economy – driving tourism, creating jobs, and educating and inspiring countless visitors. MassDevelopment is proud to administer this fund together with the Mass Cultural Council.”

The CFF provides capital and planning grants to nonprofit organizations, colleges, and municipalities that own or operate facilities primarily focused on the arts, humanities, and sciences. CFF awards invest in the acquisition, design, repair, renovation, expansion, and construction of nonprofit and municipal cultural facilities.

Grantees must provide one-to-one matching funds for the awardees, according to the press release.

Central Massachusetts received 11 grants in the funding round, totalling $1.3 million.

Fitchburg State University received $200,000 toward construction of The theaterLAB, a  250-seat black box theater planned on Main Street. The project is  part of a larger renovation of a section of Main Street containing a long-vacant proscenium theater the university plans to bring back to life.

Creative Hub Worcester received $200,000 to transform the former Ionic Avenue Boys Club into a community-based arts space. The facility will offer artist studios, exhibition space, creative classes, an artisan's market, makerspace, and more.

"The Creative Hub Community Arts Center will be an incubator for local creative entrepreneurs and a space for artists to socialize, connect, and celebrate their work," Creative Hub Founders Laura Marotta and Stacy Lord said in an email.

“We are creating a multi-purpose, dynamic arts center where youth, artists, and community members can feel safe and supported in a joyful environment as they explore the processes of art-making and collaboration. Art is a key part of maintaining our mental health and well-being, and everyone should have access to creative opportunities. We are so grateful for the support of MCC in this process,” said Marotta and Lord.

The Southborough Historical Society received $200,000 for the renovation of the Fayville Village Hall at 40-42 Central St., built in 1911, into a history and cultural center.

The American Heritage Museum in Hudson received $200,000 for the renovation of its Vietnam War Gallery to include a new exhibit about prisoners of war.

The Fitchburg Art Museum received $200,000 for a new HVAC system.

Groton Hill Music Center received $152,000 for new lighting and video equipment.

The New Dawn Arts Center received $107,000 for the purchase of the building in which it is located at 84 Main St. in Ashburnham.

Old Sturbridge Village received $31,000 to spruce up its Bixby House.

The EcoTarium in Worcester received $20,000 to perform a 20-year capital needs assessment.

The Stratton Players in Fitchburg received $17,000 to advance renovation plans of its theater.

The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton received $12,500 to perform a 20-year capital needs assessment.

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