BOSTON -- State Rep. Jennifer Benson, D-Lunenburg, has announced state grants totaling $42,000 for nonprofit cultural organizations and schools in the 37th Middlesex District.

The grants support a wide variety of cultural activities and projects that benefit local residents, while supporting jobs in the nonprofit cultural sector. The announcement was made as part of the Massachusetts Cultural Council's statewide funding program that benefits in fiscal 2014 from a $1.6 million increase to its state appropriation approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor in July.

"MCC grants help to ensure that the unique cultural resources in my district and the extraordinary cultural activity across the commonwealth continue to thrive and benefit our citizens today and for years to come," Benson said. "The impact of state support for the arts, humanities and sciences is significant; I'm delighted to announce these new grants."

The grants were part of MCC's $10 million statewide investment in the nonprofit cultural sector. Local recipients awarded include the district's five Cultural Councils as well as Arts Are Essential Inc., The Discovery Museums, both in Acton, and the Worcester Chamber Music Society Inc. in Harvard. The grants came as part of the statewide Cultural Investment Portfolio and Local Cultural Council programs.

The Cultural Investment Portfolio comprises 388 nonprofit arts, humanities and science organizations across Massachusetts.


These organizations connect children and adults to theatre, music, visual arts and film; teach them about history, literature and the natural environment; and introduce them to new languages and cultures. Cultural Investment Portfolio grants must be matched one to one, and range from $2,500 to $55,000.

Local Cultural Councils comprise the most extensive public cultural funding network in the nation. They provide funding to every Massachusetts city and town through 329 local councils and more than 2,300 volunteers. The councils support local arts and history, fund school field trips and sponsor local concerts and exhibitions. Grants to local councils range from $4,250 for the smallest towns to $96,180 for Springfield and $152,020 for Boston, according to a formula that reflects the state's local aid system.