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Berkshire Cultural Non-Profits Receive Part of $5 Million Grant

Six cultural non-profits in Berkshire County are receiving awards as part of the the latest round of cultural funding grants from the state of Massachusetts. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Earlier this week Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced 5 million dollars in matching grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund have been distribuited to 57 cultural non-profits across the Commonwealth. The program is designed to support non-profits by providing money for improvement, upkeep, and expansion efforts.

Greg Liakos, of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, explains that many patrons of the arts might sometimes take the facilities that cultural centers use for granted…

Awards in the program run from a minimum of $7,000 up to $250,000. In Berkshire County, funding ranged from a $12,237 grant to the Sandisfield Arts Center for light and sound equipment, and a handicapped-accessible lift, to a $176,750 grant to the Berkshire Museum – the largest award in Western Massachusetts.

Van Shields, executive director of the museum, says that the funding will help with the installation of a new, handicapped accessible elevator.

Other projects around Berkshire County include almost $38,000 to the Berkshire Historical Society to make improvements at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead, $30,000 will head to the City of North Adams to assist in planning with the Mohawk Theater project, Images Cinema in Williamstown will receive over $16,000 to upgrade its sound and video systems, and the Becket Arts Center of the Hilltowns is receiving $15,000 for planning and market analysis.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council assists with projects throughout the year, but this $5 million initiative is part of the Governor’s annual fiscal plan. Greg Liakos explains…

Proposals are solicited by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and MassDevelopment.

According to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Cultural Facilities Funds supports over $800 million in building projects, “providing more than 11,000 building jobs to architects, engineers, contractors, and carpenters.” The improvements made will help support over 1,150 new jobs in non-profits across the Commonwealth.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.