BERKSHIRE EAGLE: 4 Berkshire County cultural organizations get $1.9M in grants for ‘our discretion’

BERKSHIRE EAGLE: 4 Berkshire County cultural organizations get $1.9M in grants for ‘our discretion’


October 3, 2018 —

By Tony Dobrowolski, THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE (Read online at

PITTSFIELD — Four Berkshire County cultural organizations have been selected to participate in a multiyear statewide arts initiative that has provided them with a combined $1.9 million in grant funding intended to give them the financial flexibility to grow and thrive through changing economic conditions.

Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Community Access to the Arts and the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge are among 29 arts and cultural organizations across the state that have been selected to participate in the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative, a $25 million, six-year program.

The new initiative extends a partnership between the Barr Foundation and the Klarman Family Foundation that began in 2012 to strengthen the long-term financial health of 30 Boston-area arts and culture organizations.

Under this current statewide initiative, the participating organizations receive flexible, multiyear operating support grants, in addition to training and technical assistance from TDC, a nonprofit consulting and research firm.

“We have the ability to use this at our discretion in any way we think that will help fuel our organization, which is wonderful,” said Margaret Keller, CATA’s executive director.

Individually, the Norman Rockwell Museum received $612,000; Barrington Stage $525,000; the Mahaiwe $462,000; and CATA $312,000, according to representatives of all four organizations. All four grants are for 36 months, which means that each organization will receive its funding in increments over that three-year time span.

Each Berkshire organization received its funding through separate grants from the Barr Foundation and the Klarman Family Foundation. The exact amount of funding to each Berkshire organization provided in every grant was unavailable Wednesday. But Barr Foundation spokesman Stefan Lander said the Klarman Family Foundation matched the amount of funding to each participant that was awarded by the Barr Foundation.

At the Norman Rockwell Museum, Director/CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt said the funding will be used to help support programs associated with the cultural institution’s 50th anniversary in 2019.

“On the advent of our 50th anniversary, this support will help as we plan for a much-needed expansion of our services, to better share the art of Norman Rockwell and American illustration with the public,” Moffatt said.

In a prepared release, Barrington Stage Company described the grant funding as a “ringing endorsement” of the performing arts company’s work and potential.

The funding will allow Barrington Stage to strengthen its community engagement initiatives in Pittsfield, and to explore innovative ways to develop new work and new audiences, said BSC Artistic Director Julianne Boyd.

“Our ultimate goal is to continue to create strong artistic programming that is both relevant and entertaining and that speaks directly to our diverse and vital community,” Boyd said.

Mahaiwe Executive Director Beryl Jolly said the performing arts center’s inclusion on the initiative occurred at the right time.

“The timing could not be better, as we are poised for a strategic leap to deepen our audience outreach and widen our artistic breath,” Jolly said. “This funding and associated trainings will help us build the steady foundations for innovative work.”

Unlike the three other Berkshire organizations, CATA provides arts workshops in several mediums, including painting, dancing, theater, singing, drumming, juggling, yoga and creative writing. CATA, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, also holds public events and year-round arts exhibitions.

“Each year we are being asked to essentially invest in our organization to deepen that impact and increase our financial strength,” Keller said. “For CATA to be recognized along with the Mahaiwe, Barrington Stage and the Rockwell Museum is tremendously meaningful for us.”

Contact Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski at [email protected] or 413-496-6224.

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