MassDevelopment Awards TDI Creative Catalyst Grants

A mural in Worcester's Main South neighborhood, funded by a Creative Catalyst grant awarded to the Regional Environmental Council / Photo courtesy of Kevin La.

Boston – MassDevelopment has awarded $500,000 in grants to seven organizations for public-facing projects that support arts and culture-based economic development and neighborhood revitalization such as new shared spaces, public art programs, collaborative workshops, and more. The funding was awarded through the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Creative Catalyst Grant program, a competitive opportunity for eligible gateway cities.

Awarded projects:

La Colaborativa, Inc. will use $40,000 in grant funds for personnel, program expenses and supplies, and marketing materials for a community-based commercial kitchen located at its new headquarters and food pantry at 63 Sixth St. in Chelsea. The communal kitchen space will prepare and serve healthy meals to the community, host meal prep demonstrations, offer nutrition courses, and empower community chefs to build job readiness skills.

Apollinaire Theatre Company will use $80,000 in grant funds to hire additional staff for Teatro Chelsea, the community theatre project it launched in 2020, who can provide the infrastructure needed to foster sustainability and future growth, continue to create a regional hub for Latinx artists, and hold a free bilingual three-week performance event in summer 2023 in downtown Chelsea.

The Neighborhood Developers, Inc. will utilize $100,000 to collaborate with the City of Revere’s Revere on the Move (ROTM) program and Women Encouraging Empowerment (WEE) to utilize themes of healthy eating and active living for a place-based project with four interconnected elements, all which improve, utilize, and/or activate public spaces within the Revere TDI District. The project aims to ensure that the Shirley Avenue neighborhood welcomes families and residents of all ages and cultural backgrounds with a vibrant business district, mercados, open spaces, accessible housing, and economic opportunities.

The Arts and Justice Collective is a proposed cluster of leaders from The Cordial Eye Gallery and Artist Space, Inc., Amplify POC Cape Cod, Cape Cod Voices, and Belonging Books, which are four nonprofit and mission-driven organizations in Barnstable County that specialize in art, culture, and equity with the ultimate goal of creating an art and social justice hub in downtown Hyannis. The $90,000 in grant funds will be used for three projects to help establish space for the hub that can serve as a location where organizations involved can host programs, collaborate, support one another, share resources, and create more holistic and intersectional experiences for community members.

The Fall River Arts & Culture Coalition (FRACC) Ignition Fund: Artist Recovery Grants is a pilot project bringing a creative multifaceted approach to Fall River’s economic recovery from the pandemic. The $40,000 was awarded for a project that will include four workshops focused on grant writing, project planning, and finance that will be open to every FRACC member and will help address the current needs of underserved artists recovering from the ongoing pandemic. As part of the workshops, One Southcoast Chamber Inc. will provide access to educational tools and resources, technical assistance, one-on-one consultation, and new pathways to capital and project funds.

The Lawrence Arts Collective: Deepening Engagement in Our Community is a pilot artist-in-residence program aimed at strengthening community relationships, putting Lawrence on the contemporary art map, and driving economic growth. With the support of the Lawrence Mayor’s Office and the Lawrence Partnership, the following organizations will host an artist-in-residence: Essex Art Center, Izizwe’s Dance Studio, and Ateneo Dominicano de Nueva Inglaterra. The Lawrence Art Collective will use $75,000 in grant funds for artist stipends, marketing and publicity, documentation, and other project-related expenses.

Leveraging a partnership with the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), the Holyoke hARTwork is a proposed project that will provide entrepreneurial training to empower people to see art as a business. New England Farm Workers’ Council Inc. plans to utilize an existing space at 225 High St. – in the heart of the Holyoke TDI district – to hold art classes and gallery events. The $75,000 in grant funds will be used for buildout, rent expenses, stipends for artists, grants for participating youth, and a part-time project coordinator.

“These grant recipients help connect residents and visitors to the rich cultures in our gateway cities,” said MassDevelopment president and CEO, Dan Rivera. “MassDevelopment is excited to award these TDI Creative Catalyst Grants to projects that will energize neighborhoods and foster dynamic local economies.”