Three institutions in the city are getting a $300,000 boost from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, announced state Rep. Antonio F. D. Cabral on Friday.
The MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors approved the grants Thursday for three projects planned for the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Zeiterion Performing Arts Center and the Cape Verdean Association of New Bedford.
“We’re delighted to support these exciting New Bedford projects as part of our ongoing investment in the city’s burgeoning cultural economy,” said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council executive director, in a statement. “Thanks to Rep. Cabral, who as House Bonding Committee chair has been a steadfast supporter of the CFF alongside Sen. (Mark) Montigny and their colleagues in the New Bedford legislative delegation.”
The New Bedford Whaling Museum is set to receive a $170,000 capital grant to construct an urban greenspace on the museum’s campus, which will facilitate an outdoor gallery and public programming, according to a news release.
The greenspace is the soon-to-be-expanded Capt. Paul Cuffe Park. The museum hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in late March, and construction is under way.
The new Capt. Paul Cuffe Park will elevate the current park facing Union Street to the level of the doorstep of the Johnnycake Hill building behind it, the Wattles Jacobs Education Center. The work will connect what are now the high and low sides of the parcel, enlarging the available space and making it easier to access.
Cuffe, whose story began in the late 18th century, had roles as sea captain, philanthropist, community leader, civil rights activist and abolitionist.
The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center will receive a $100,000 capital grant to restore its marquee.
In 2015, the theater began renovations, including fixing leaks, repairing the white terracotta decorations and bricks on the building’s exterior. In later phases, doors and windows will be replaced, and the marquee above the entrance will hang once more.
The Cape Verdean Association of New Bedford was awarded a $30,000 feasibility and technical assistance grant, to plan for the restoration of the Strand Theater in the gateway to the “International Marketplace” in New Bedford to house the Cape Verdean Cultural Center.
In WHALE’s first foray into the city’s North End, it has partnered with the Cape Verdean Association to restore and renovate the group’s home in an old vaudeville theater. The building, built in 1896, has had a lot of patchwork repairs and is used for small-scale music and cultural performances.
The building, with a scorched ceiling from a fire in the early 1990s, was bought by the group in 1992 as a place to promote and maintain Cape Verdean culture.
WHALE and the association plan to replace the Italianate facade of the theater, the blueprints for which have been stored all this time in New Bedford City Hall.
“New Bedford’s creative economy is attracting visitors and talent from across the country— these capital investments will further bolster our reputation as a hub of cultural activity,” said Cabral in a statement. “The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the anchor of our City’s downtown, while the Zeiterion has transformed itself into an entertainment destination. Thanks to the feasibility grant, the Strand Theater’s planned restoration will allow our Cape Verdean community to truly flourish.”
Original story here.