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Cultural Facilities Fund Helps Barnstable’s Cahoon Museum Add to Historic Home

March 16, 2012

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Greg Liakos, Mass. Cultural Council, 617-727-3668 x343
Richard Waterhouse, Cahoon Museum of American Art, 508-428-7581

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have provided a $400,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant to the Cahoon Museum of American Art, a Barnstable institution that features the folk paintings of Ralph and Martha Cahoon and a collection of 19th, 20th century, and contemporary American art. The Museum will use the grant toward construction of a 3,500-square-foot addition, which will include a lobby to connect the historic home to the new space, a museum shop, art classrooms, an art storage area, a gallery area, updated restrooms, and an improved parking lot.

“Cape Cod may be best known for its iconic shoreline, but the Museum's dedication to many aspects of American art make it a fine attraction for residents and visitors alike,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We’re pleased to support Cahoon Museum’s expansion.”

“The Cahoon Museum of American Art is honored to receive this grant and it will allow us to expand our current programs and services dramatically,” said Cahoon Museum of American Art Director Richard Waterhouse.

Ralph and Martha Cahoon, who were originally furniture decorators, began exhibiting their folk paintings in the 1950s. Ralph painted scenes featuring sailors and mermaids while Martha painted country scenes and natural motifs. Collectors of their work include Jacqueline Kennedy, Jean Kennedy Smith, Marjorie Merriweather Post, Lily Pulitzer, and members of the Mellon and DuPont families. In 1945, the Cahoons purchased the 1775 Crocker Homestead and restored the property as their home and studio. After Ralph Cahoon’s death in 1982, local art collector Rosemary Rapp bought and transformed the property into the Museum named in the Cahoons’ honor.

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.