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Apple Tree Arts Restores Old Grafton Town House as Performing Arts Center with $250,000 Cultural Facilities Grant

March 1, 2012

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Greg Liakos, Mass. Cultural Council, (617) 727-3668 x343
Donna Blanchard, Apple Tree Arts, 508-839-4286

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have provided a $250,000 Cultural Facilities Fund Capital Grant to Apple Tree Arts in Grafton, a nonprofit community school for the arts. The organization will use the grant to restore the Old Grafton Town House at One Grafton Common, creating a performing arts center on the second and third floors. The center will serve as a venue for community and children's theater productions, and concerts. Apple Tree Arts has moved its business office to newly renovated space in the building.

“This beautiful and historic space has a second chance to become a central gathering place for Grafton,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “Apple Tree Arts has a vision for the town house, filling it with music and theater, and we look forward to hearing and seeing the organization’s work come to fruition.”

In recent years, restoration work on the building included renovating the roof, chimneys, dormers, gutters, and fire escapes. The project’s most recent phase improved the building’s accessibility.

“Apple Tree Arts is thrilled that MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have honored this organization's vital mission: to ‘Create Culture and Community on the Common,’” said Apple Tree Arts Executive Director Donna Blanchard. “The inspiration and direction we give our community's youth today will create the ideas that lead the world tomorrow.”

Founded in 1989, Apple Tree Arts serves more than 3,000 people of all ages annually throughout south central Worcester County. The organization provides a wide range of performances, along with community musical and theater arts events, throughout the year. Educational programs include music for children as well as private instrumental and voice instruction.

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council administer the Cultural Facilities Fund, an initiative of the Commonwealth to increase public and private investment in cultural facilities throughout the state. Created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2006, the Fund offers capital grants, feasibility and technical assistance grants, and systems replacement grants for eligible nonprofits engaged in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. The Fund has awarded more than $44 million in grants to more than 200 cultural organizations across Massachusetts. For more information, visit the MassDevelopment and Massachusetts Cultural Council websites.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed more than 300 projects generating investment of $3.8 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 10,000 jobs (2,547 permanent and 8,129 construction), and build or rehabilitate more than 1,000 residential units.