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Cultural Facilities Fund Backs Infrastructure Work at Edith Wharton Estate in Lenox

March 15, 2012

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Greg Liakos, Mass. Cultural Council, 617-727-3668, ext. 343
Rebecka B. McDougall, The Mount, 413-551-5115

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have provided a $137,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant to Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc., for Wharton’s 1902 estate and gardens in Lenox, known as The Mount. The estate will use the grant to replace and restore the roofs, cupolas, and chimneys of The Stables, the main visitor center and programming space at The Mount, and restore the roof of The Gatehouse, which serves as office space.

“The Mount is inspired by Edith Wharton's numerous passions and interests, and this grant will help restore the museum to reflect the brilliance of one of our nation’s greatest writers,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones.

Designed and built by Wharton in 1902, the house embodies the principles in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses. The property includes three acres of formal gardens that Wharton, an authority on European landscape design, planned. Programming at The Mount shows Wharton's core interests in the literary arts; interior design and decoration; and garden and landscaping design. Annual exhibits explore themes from Wharton's life and work.

“We are thankful to MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council for this opportunity. The restoration of the Stable and the Gatehouse continues to move The Mount closer to our objective,” said Susan Wissler, Executive Director of The Mount. “Our current vision is to position The Mount as a year-round cultural destination inspired by the passion and achievements of Wharton. We accomplished one part of this vision this summer through our diverse programming and partnerships with other local cultural organizations. Stabilizing and reversing the deterioration on the Stable is the next step, allowing us to host more events in the shoulder seasons and increasing our programming potential.”

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.