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MassDevelopment Awards $455,000 in Commonwealth Places Funding for 20 Placemaking Projects

July 24, 2020


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Louisa Stone, MassDevelopment, 857-283-3340 (cell)
lstone@massdevelopment.com

MassDevelopment has awarded up to $455,000 for 20 projects through the fourth round of the Commonwealth Places program, a statewide initiative that leverages public support for placemaking projects in Massachusetts. The program funds place-based, community-driven projects that revitalize downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts, such as art installations, public space improvements, markets, and more.

“Behind each of these projects is a goal to spur economic activity in the community by creating a unique ‘place’ that draws people in to dine, shop, experience arts and culture, or otherwise spend time,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment is pleased to support these efforts with funding from our Commonwealth Places program.”

Created in 2016, Commonwealth Places aims to engage and mobilize community members to make individual contributions for placemaking projects, with the incentive of a funding match from MassDevelopment if the crowdfunding goal is reached. Through its first three rounds, Commonwealth Places has launched 64 projects in Massachusetts, with communities crowdfunding more than $2.3 million and MassDevelopment providing more than $1.8 million in matching funds. Previous projects have included main street improvement projects in HyannisNorth Adams, and Wakefield; neighborhood-wide public art installations in LynnSalem, and Worcester; and pop-up retail activations in AshlandBrockton, and Lowell, among others.

In October 2019, MassDevelopment announced the availability of funding for the fourth round of Commonwealth Places and subsequently worked with applicants to amend the scope and timelines of proposed projects to incorporate COVID-19 concerns where applicable. All grantees and projects will be required to follow the mandatory safety standards and protocols of the Commonwealth’s Reopening Massachusetts plan.

MassDevelopment is also currently accepting applications for its special Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places, which is being made available to help nonprofits and other community groups prepare public spaces and commercial districts for residents and visitors.

The following organizations will be awarded Commonwealth Places funding:

Double Edge Theatre (Ashfield) – $25,000
Collective Visions


Double Edge Theatre has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create outdoor art installations this year on the organization’s farm in Ashfield. This programming, titled “Collective Visions: 6 Feet Apart, All Together,” will guide a limited number of visitors on walks along the farm’s outdoor areas and will feature live music, performances, and storytelling. Throughout the coming year, the organization will also collaborate closely with the Town of Ashfield and local businesses on strategies to connect its art patrons with the village center, such as by featuring advertisements and discount codes for local businesses in the theatre’s marketing materials and aligning key performances and exhibits with planned community events.

In 2017, Double Edge Theatre crowdfunded $56,671 and received a $50,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment for “Collaborative Imaginings,” a project to convert vacant and underused farm buildings into new spaces for the performing arts.

MassDevelopment will provide $12,500 now to help the Double Edge Theatre implement the project; if the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $25,000, the project will win the remaining $12,500 of its matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Jewelry City Steampunk Festival (Attleboro) – $15,000
Steampunk MakerSpace

The organizers behind the Jewelry City Steampunk Festival will launch a crowdfunding campaign to activate and transform an underutilized property in Attleboro next year into Steampunk MakerSpace, a pop-up makerspace where visitors can access 3D printers, sewing machines, and other equipment in a collaborative setting. The makerspace seeks to build on the successful programming and community building of the annual Jewelry City Steampunk Festival and draw residents and visitors to spend time in the neighborhood.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $15,000, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Asian Community Development Corporation (Boston) – $7,500
Hudson Street Stoop

The Asian Community Development Corporation (CDC) will launch a crowdfunding campaign to transform One Greenway Park in Boston’s Chinatown next year into an activated and inclusive neighborhood “stoop,” where it will offer regular programming. At the park, the organization will use campaign funds to implement a large site-specific, interactive swing sculpture created by a community-selected artist.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $7,500, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

PROVA! Inc. (Brockton) – $32,000
PROVA! Summer 2020

PROVA! Inc. will launch a crowdfunding campaign for a third season of its outdoor event space and pop-up beer garden in downtown Brockton next year. In 2018, organizers crowdfunded $84,440 and received a $50,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment to launch PROVA! on an underutilized property in Brockton, and operated the event successfully again in 2019.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $32,000, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Central Square Business Improvement District (Cambridge) – $15,000
Starlight

The Central Square Business Improvement District (BID) has launched a crowdfunding campaign for Starlight, a project that will temporarily transform a city-owned parking lot this year into a public space for outdoor commerce, dining, performance, worship, and more.

MassDevelopment will provide $7,500 now to help the Central Square BID implement the project; if the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $15,000, the project will win the remaining $7,500 of its matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Town of Canton (Canton) – $15,000
T in Bloom

The Town of Canton will launch a crowdfunding campaign for T in Bloom, a public art project convening community members and a nationally renowned artist, Olek, to create, assemble, and install crocheted patterns on the Canton MBTA footbridge. The Fuller Craft Museum and the Attleboro Arts Museum will offer crochet workshops and other programming next year to engage community members in the creation of this artwork.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $15,000, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Town of Danvers (Danvers) – $8,000
Poppin’ Up on Maple Street

The Town of Danvers will launch a crowdfunding campaign for Poppin’ Up on Maple Street, a project transforming a 3,000-square-foot town-owned parking plaza in downtown Danvers this year into a pop-up parklet for public outdoor dining and programming.

MassDevelopment will provide $4,000 now to help the Town of Danvers implement the project; if the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $8,000, the project will win the remaining $4,000 of its matching grant from MassDevelopment.

ReImagine North of Main (Fitchburg) – $20,000
ReActivate Mill Street

ReImagine North of Main will launch a crowdfunding campaign for ReActivate Mill Street, a project to transform an alleyway in downtown Fitchburg this year into a unique temporary gathering and event space using low-cost, flexible design solutions. In 2019, organizers crowdfunded $50,296 and received a $40,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment for Activate Mill Street, a successful first iteration of this project. This year, ReImagine North of Main seeks to continue the placemaking momentum downtown with an expansion of mural panels along Main Street, a new canopy shade for the deck stage, additional lighting, and improvements to existing event infrastructure.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $20,000, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Holyoke Farmers Market (Holyoke) – $5,000
Holyoke Farmers Market Expansion

Holyoke Farmers Market will receive a $5,000 grant from MassDevelopment to comply with the Commonwealth’s Reopening Massachusetts plan this year and create a new match program for customers accessing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Holyoke Farmers Market will use funds to buy personal protective equipment for employees and equipment and signage to support social distancing at the market space. In addition, funds will be used to start a “SNAP Match Program” through which the market will match up to $15 of all SNAP purchases, allowing customers to buy additional food.

Beyond Walls (Lynn) – $50,000
Truth B Told

Beyond Walls in Lynn will launch a crowdfunding campaign for Truth B Told, a word- and art-based storytelling campaign that gives voice to the COVID-19 experience for Lynn youth, ages five through 21. The project will feature a web-based platform for youth to submit art virtually, and will culminate in a celebration of community and public art in late summer or early fall 2020, in compliance with the Commonwealth’s Reopening Massachusetts plan.

This is Beyond Walls’ fourth Commonwealth Places campaign. In 2017, Beyond Walls crowdfunded $80,665 and received a $50,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment for its summer 2017 mural festival and other significant art and lighting installations; in 2018, it crowdfunded $93,487 and received a $50,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment for its summer 2018 mural festival; and in 2019, it crowdfunded $63,904 and received a $50,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment for a temporary waterfront park in Lynn.

MassDevelopment will provide $25,000 now to help Beyond Walls implement the project; if the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000, the project will win the remaining $25,000 of its matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Town of Milford (Milford) – $42,500
Community Rejuvenation of Draper Park

The Town of Milford and Tillrock Consulting will launch a crowdfunding campaign for the Community Rejuvenation of Draper Park, a project transforming Draper Park in downtown Milford this year into a welcoming community space honoring veterans that residents and visitors can use for outdoor events and other activities.

MassDevelopment will provide $21,250 now to help the Town of Milford and Tillrock Consulting implement the project; if the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $42,500, the project will win the remaining $21,250 of its matching grant from MassDevelopment.

The Performing Arts Collective, INC. (New Bedford) – $10,000
The Performing Arts Collectives Makes a Space

The Performing Arts Collective, INC. will launch a crowdfunding campaign to establish a new space for the Performing Arts Collective in New Bedford’s South End this year. Funding will cover the build-out of a backstage space and reception area, new speakers and lighting, and portable platforms for pop-up community events.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $10,000, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

NAMAzing Initiative (North Adams) – $25,000
The Over Pass Under Way

NAMAzing Initiative will launch a crowdfunding campaign for The Overpass Under Way project, which aims to transform the area underneath a Route 2 overpass next year into an outdoor community space with walking paths, seating areas, lighting and mural installations, and strategic planting. The project will create a corridor connecting North Adams’ downtown area with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

This is NAMAzing Initiative’s third Commonwealth Places campaign. In 2017, NAMAzing Initiative crowdfunded $35,871 and received a $25,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment for a placemaking initiative to reinvigorate Eagle Street in North Adams’ downtown, and in 2019, the organization crowdfunded $15,250 and received a $12,500 matching grant from MassDevelopment to implement several placemaking projects along North Adams’ Ashland Street Corridor.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $25,000, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Town of Orange (Orange) – $12,500
Activating Downtown Orange

The Town of Orange will launch a crowdfunding campaign to activate downtown Orange’s waterfront area next year by installing outdoor picnic tables, seating, and public art installations. The project aims to transform the waterfront into a destination for the public to spend time and make downtown Orange more accessible to visitors.

In 2016, the Town of Orange crowdfunded $9,773 and received a $9,500 matching grant from MassDevelopment to create a pocket park on East Main Street featuring new benches, lighting, and elevated garden boxes, as well as a walkway connecting the park to the front steps of a local food co-op.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $12,500, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Culture House (Peabody) – $10,000
CultureHouse Peabody

Culture House will launch a crowdfunding campaign for CultureHouse Peabody, a project that will attract visitors to downtown Peabody next year by creating a pop-up community space where the public can work, socialize, and visit. Project funding will be used for the build-out of the space and programming and operational costs.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $10,000, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

North Shore Community Development Coalition (Salem) – $25,000
Casa De Abuela

North Shore Community Development Coalition (CDC) will receive a $25,000 grant from MassDevelopment to assist small businesses in Salem’s Point neighborhood with reopening and recovery efforts this year. The organization will use funding to provide technical assistance to small business owners, establish a voucher program for small businesses, and develop creative solutions to reopening in compliance with the Commonwealth’s Reopening Massachusetts plan. The organization will also provide stipends to artists for the creation of public safety awareness visuals, music, videos, and more.

In 2019, the organization crowdfunded $42,150 and received a $40,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment to make streetscape improvements to Congress Street, a corridor in Salem’s Point neighborhood.

Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (Shelburne Falls) – $30,000
Making Downtown Shine

The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association will launch a crowdfunding campaign for Making Downtown Shine, a project that establishes an economic recovery fund for small businesses in Shelburne Falls and implements a downtown revitalization project this year. Funding will be used to help business owners pay rent or mortgages, adapt to reopening protocols, and obtain needed permitting for signage and outdoor venues. The organization will also use funding to install lighting and decorations along the Iron Bridge to attract tourism during the winter months.

MassDevelopment will provide $15,000 now to help the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association implement the project; if the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $30,000, the project will win the remaining $15,000 of its matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Mystic River Watershed Association (Somerville) – $7,500
Blessing of the Bay Boathouse

The Mystic River Watershed Association will launch a crowdfunding campaign for Blessing of the Bay Boathouse, a project that will use art generated at community workshops and other events to improve the boathouses’ façade and provide increased opportunities for programming next year.

In 2018, the Mystic River Watershed Association, the Medford Arts Council, and the Pickup Music Project crowdfunded $7,125 and received a $9,500 matching grant from MassDevelopment to activate an underused park in Medford with a new interactive sound structure for children and adults of all ages to enjoy.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $7,500, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

Common Wealth Murals (Springfield) – $50,000
Fresh Paint Springfield 2020

Common Wealth Murals will launch a crowdfunding campaign for Fresh Paint Springfield 2020, a project that will include the installation of two murals, in downtown Springfield and Mason Square, and establish a training program for local artists to learn best practices and techniques in community-engaged parachute cloth mural-making, which will result in an additional six to 10 community murals.

In 2019, the Springfield Cultural Partnership and Fresh Paint Springfield crowdfunded $50,744 and received a $50,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment to support a weeklong mural festival in downtown Springfield.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000, the project will win a matching grant from MassDevelopment.

POW! WOW! Worcester (Worcester) – $50,000
POW! WOW! Worcester 2020-2021

POW! WOW! Worcester will launch a crowdfunding campaign for POW! WOW! Worcester 2020-2021, a project that will implement a series of storefront activation projects and a mural at the Regional Environment Council’s YouthGROW Farm this year as well as a mural festival in 2021. The project aims to support small businesses in their recovery efforts by enhancing storefronts and public realm spaces.

In 2017, POW! WOW! Worcester crowdfunded $55,283 and received a $50,000 matching grant to install 11 large-scale interior and exterior murals at the Elm Park Community School. In 2018, POW! WOW! Worcester crowdfunded $57,750 and received a $50,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment to fund large-scale murals, art installations, immersive experiences, tours, and events as part of the third annual art week in Worcester.

MassDevelopment will provide $25,000 now to help POW! WOW! Worcester implement the project; if the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000, the project will win the remaining $25,000 of its matching grant from MassDevelopment.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.