Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC) is pleased to announce that it has received a $220,000 capital grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. This prestigious grant is awarded to cultural organizations for facilities projects with demonstrated benefit to the local economy and transformative impact to the community served.
The grant will be used to fund Phase 2 construction and improvements at THE BLACK BOX, FPAC’s new theater, music and event venue located at 15 West Central Street in downtown Franklin. “We are thrilled by the news of this award and excited for the anticipated project renovations to make accessible the facility’s second floor, complete the building’s exterior, and provide state-of-the-art lighting and sound,” noted FPAC Executive Director Raye Lynn Mercer.
"I was pleased to work with the Franklin Performing Arts Company and the Massachusetts Cultural Council to bring these critical funds to our area, and I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead," said Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin). "Having a viable performing arts facility in our town center will breathe new life into the downtown area and be an economic boost for the other businesses. We have long valued the arts and cultural resources in our town, and this grant furthers our efforts to continue to make Franklin a great place to live, work and play."
FPAC celebrated the grand opening of THE BLACK BOX in September 2014 with a 24th season kick-off headlined by Tony Award winner Beth Leavel and Broadway star Alexander Gemignani. With the new venue, FPAC’s production season has expanded to include five musicals, three plays and a summer festival. FPAC has also introduced Jazz, Children’s, Cabaret, New England Artists, and Artists-in-Residence Series, in addition to the company’s longstanding free Family Concert Series, helping to establish the venue as a suburban hub for great music.
The multi-use design of THE BLACK BOX fills a need for theater, meeting and event space, and improvements to the facility’s accessibility and second-floor renovations enhance the venue’s flexibility and function. In Franklin, THE BLACK BOX provides a noteworthy cultural and community-oriented facility to anchor several town-supported renovation, building and revitalization initiatives that comprise a multi-million dollar Downtown Improvement Project.
“The Franklin Performing Arts Company’s new theater has quickly established itself as a cultural destination in our community and across MetroWest,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “This well-deserved grant will advance arts, culture and creativity in our community and complement ongoing downtown revitalization efforts. I am proud that the Massachusetts Cultural Council has recognized this state-of-the-art facility as a true asset for downtown Franklin and the Commonwealth.”
The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) is a capital grant program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, administered collaboratively by MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. To date, the Cultural Facilities Fund has made 601 grant commitments totaling $82.7 million to 350 cultural organizations from every region of the state.
The 2015 CFF capital budget appropriation allocated $15 million for this round of funding for the acquisition, design, repair, renovation, expansion or construction of nonprofit cultural facilities across Massachusetts. The $220,000 capital grant to FPAC is the largest awarded to cultural organizations in the MetroWest region this year. Statewide, 2015 CFF grant recipients include such prestigious and renowned institutions as Boston Ballet, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts and New England Conservatory.
“We’re pleased to be among some of the finest cultural organizations in the Commonwealth being awarded grants this year,” stated Alan Mercer, Director of Advancement at FPAC. “While the funding is so appreciated, to be a recipient of this grant is an endorsement of our credibility as a valuable cultural asset to our community and the Commonwealth.”
Founded in 1991, the nonprofit FPAC supports educational arts experiences, quality entertainment and outstanding performance opportunities for professional artists, community performers and students of the arts. With a focus on youth development and a commitment to live music, FPAC productions draw performers and audiences from more than 120 communities across the Boston MetroWest region, western Massachusetts and the New England states. For more information, call (508) 528-3370 or visit online at www.fpaconline.com or www.theblackboxonline.com.