Posted on September 11, 2009
Arts leaders from across Massachusetts will gather at the Norman Rockwell Museum Friday, Sept. 18 with Congressman John Olver to highlight the arts sector’s role in the U.S. economic recovery effort. Olver will formally announce the release of more than $1.3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to non-profit arts organizations across Massachusetts. The stimulus funds come from a $50 million ARRA appropriation to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). ARRA funds were then made available to Massachusetts arts organizations via separate programs administered by the NEA, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), and the New England Foundation for the Arts. A full list of arts stimulus grants is below. The announcement begins at 1 p.m.

“The arts sector is a vital contributor to the economic life of Western Massachusetts, and a major component of the creative economy statewide,” said Olver. “These grants will help preserve jobs in this sector while also ensuring that our arts organizations continue to provide public programs that enrich our communities and educate our young people.”

Congressman Olver (D-MA 1st District) is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of its Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development. Joining him for the announcement will be Mass. State Representatives Smitty Pignatelli of Lenox and Rosemary Sandlin of Agawam- members of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development- along with NEA Director of Dance Douglas Sonntag, MCC Executive Director Anita Walker, and Norman Rockwell Museum CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt. Other participants include state Reps. Dan Bosley of North Adams and Chris Speranzo of Pittsfield, MCC Board members Ira Lapidus and Ronald Feldman of Williamstown, local cultural council members from Western Mass., and officials from the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and Berkshire Creative.

Massachusetts cultural nonprofits provide nearly 37,000 jobs and have a total economic impact of over $4.2 billion. But the economic downturn has hurt this dynamic sector: A recent MCC survey of arts organizations that receive state funding found that nearly half have laid off at least one worker since the start of the current recession. Many others are reducing salaries and work hours, and instituting hiring freezes. In the broader nonprofit sector of Greater Boston, more than 4 in 10 organizations are reducing staff or salaries, according to a recent report by the Boston Foundation.

“The inclusion of the arts in ARRA was a welcome acknowledgement that the creative sector is an important part of our economy, and will be an important part of our recovery,” said Walker. “That could not have happened without supporters like Congressman Olver, and we are deeply grateful for that support.”

“Creative workers are a backbone of the Berkshire County economy and the stimulus funds provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and National Endowment for the Arts will help sustain employment and drive economic recovery. We are grateful for Congressman Olver’s leadership in recognizing the importance of the creative sector which drives 25% of the workforce of the Berkshires,” added Laurie Norton Moffatt, CEO/Director of Norman Rockwell Museum and co-founder Berkshire Creative Economy Council.

More information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

On February 17, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Act included an appropriation of $50 million to the NEA to be “distributed in direct grants to fund arts projects and activities which preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn.” On March 24, NEA awarded stimulus funds to the MCC allocated by formula, based on a total distribution of $20 million to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council

The Massachusetts Cultural Council promotes excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.

The MCC is committed to building a central place for arts and culture in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.

NEA Grants to Massachusetts:

Boston Dance Alliance, Inc. Boston $50,000
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Inc. Becket $50,000
Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, Inc. Boston $50,000
Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses, Inc. Dorchester $25,000
Raw Art Works, Inc. Lynn $50,000
Aspect, Inc. Brookline $25,000
Grub Street, Inc. Boston $25,000
City of Somerville, Massachusetts Somerville $25,000
Fitchburg Cultural Alliance, Inc. Fitchburg $25,000
Association of Independents in Radio, Inc. Dorchester $50,000
Center for Independent Documentary, Inc. Sharon $50,000
From the Top, Inc. Boston $50,000
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Inc. Boston $50,000
Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge, Inc. Stockbridge $50,000
Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Inc. Malden $50,000
Emmanuel Music, Inc. Boston $50,000
Handel & Haydn Society Boston $50,000
Boston Academy of Music, Inc. Boston $25,000
Cloud Foundation Boston $50,000
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc. North Adams $50,000
Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School Adams $50,000
Lesley University Cambridge $50,000
Massachusetts College of Art Boston $25,000
Worcester Center for Crafts, Inc. Worcester $50,000
MCC Arts Stimulus Grants (All grants are $10,000) Arlington Center for the Arts, Arlington ArtsBoston, Inc., Boston Bay State Performing Arts, Inc., Boston The Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield Berkshire Theatre Festival, Inc., Stockbridge Boston Center for the Arts, Inc., Boston Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Inc., Boston Community Music School of Springfield, Springfield DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Provincetown Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton Images Cinema, Williamstown Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Inc., Boston Medicine Wheel Productions, Inc., Boston Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell The Nora Theatre Company, Cambridge Provincetown International Film Festival, Provincetown Shakespeare & Company, Lenox South Shore Conservatory, Hingham Spontaneous Celebrations, Inc., Boston The Springfield Museums, Springfield The Theater Offensive, Cambridge Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, Truro Underground Railway Theater, Cambridge Worcester Art Museum, Worcester Zeiterion Theatre, Inc., New Bedford Zumix, Inc., Boston

New England Foundation for the Arts Grants in Massachusetts:

Performing Artist Fee Support
The Colonial Theatre Association, Pittsfield, MA, to present The Acting Co., New York, NY ($4,500) Lawrence Sons of Italy, Lodge 902, Lawrence, MA, to present Circus Smirkus, Greensboro, VT ($2,500) University of Massachusetts, Fine Arts Center, Amherst, MA, to present Zakir Hussain, San Anselmo, CA ($10,000) Worcester Elementary Arts School, Worcester, MA, to present Patricia Campbell, Newtown, CT ($1,301)

Presenter Salary Support
Celebrity Series of Boston, Boston, MA ($15,000) Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion, Boston, MA ($15,000) New World Theater, Amherst, MA ($15,000)