Awarded $187,000 state grant after signing lease for new home

MCC Executive Director Anita Walker, Linda ShoemakerMCC Executive Director Anita Walker, left, with Linda Shoemaker.

Updated, June 2: Arlington Center for the Arts' $25,000 match challenge has been met, ahead of schedule, with more than 140 individual gifts, totaling $25,418, Executive Director Linda Shoemaker announced Friday, June 2. 

To continue the momentum, members of ACA's board and staff have issued a new $10,000 challenge during June.

"I want to extend a big thank you to each and every one of you who helped us meet this challenge," Shoemaker wrote in a news release. "The "New ACA" is a giant step closer, thanks to your generous support."

She urged supporters to chip in again and meet the latest challenge.

The ACA, securing its new home on the third and fourth floors of the Senior Center after signing a lease with the Redevelopment Board, received word May 18 that it has been awarded a $187,000 Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund Grant. 

ACA was one of 61 projects funded under the state effort in this year’s grant cycle. Awards were announced on Thursday, May 18, at a reception with Governor Charlie Baker and leaders of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and MassDevelopment, who jointly administer the fund.

"We are so honored and excited to receive this grant,” Linda Shoemaker, executive director of the center, said in a news release. "The Arlington community has been very generous in supporting ACA's fund-raising effort towards the new building, and this infusion of matching funds from the Cultural Facilities Fund takes us a giant step closer to realizing our plans for the new ACA." 

Capital effort continues

The Arlington Center for the Arts has been engaged in a capital campaign since last May, when the town voted to return the center's 28-year home at the Gibbs building to school use to accommodate the town's growing school enrollment.

ACA Future Fund logo

Plans for the new ACA, on the third and fourth floors of the Central School (above the Senior Center) include a gallery and performance space, five classrooms, and artist studios. The renovation is expected to cost $600,000. Since last May, the capital campaign has raised approximately $250,000. To stay on track, ACA is working to raise another $50,000 by June 30, and another $100,000 by the end of the December.

"We couldn't be more excited to receive this vote of confidence from the Cultural Facilities Fund," says Shoemaker. "The funding is hugely important, of course. We’re on a very short timeline for an organization of our size, and this money will help us start the renovation on time and should help to inspire further support for the project.

"But there's something more, too. A Cultural Facilities Fund grant raises the bar for ACA -- and for Arlington as a whole. This recognition says to us that we're headed in the right direction, that ACA is and will continue to be a valuable cultural institution in Arlington, and that our community is increasingly seen as a vibrant, attractive destination for the arts."

The Cultural Facilities Fund grant program is co-administered by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and MassDevelopment. 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Fund, which has invested over $100 million in over 700 cultural facilities projects throughout the state.

See all projects funded here >> Read the full state cultural council news release about all projects >>

This year’s Capital Grant recipients in the Greater Boston region include: Arlington Center for the Arts, Artists for Humanity, Boston Ballet, Boston Children’s Museum, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Center for the Arts at the Armory, Somerville, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Harvard Semitic Museum, Huntington Theater Company, Institute of Contemporary Art, and several others.

Lease agreed to 

At the May 15 meeting, Shoemaker updated the board about fund-raising, which she said was "moving along very well," and said an architect, Johnson Roberts Associates of Somerville, had been hired. An initial schematic design will be under review soon by the town building inspector.

She gave no current total funds raised that night but said the target was to hit $300,000 by end of June, when the must vacate the Foster Street property as renovation of the former Gibbs School begins. The center is also trying to attract matching funds for a $25,000 challenge grant reported first by YourArlington in mid-April.

The center's summer camps will be held at Arlington High School. She said she estimated completion of the center's part of the Senior Center next February.

Before the board voted, 5-0, to agree to the center's lease, Planning Director Jenny Raitt noted the number of parking spaces, already many fewer than at the Foster Street site, had been lowered.

Asked about this, Raitt wrote in an email May 18 that the lease provides 20 dedicated parking spaces at the Senior Center/Central School.

"The town is currently seeking bids for the reconstruction of the Central School driveway," she wrote. "As part of the reconstruction and redesign, we lose a handful of parking spaces for two reasons: we are installing an EV [electric vehicle] space and two ADA spaces both in the rear of the building.

"A ramp will be installed on the side entrance of the building that will go directly to the two accessible spaces. All of these changes mean a little less overall parking."

Bids for the work due Thursday, May 25, and Raitt hopes the work will begin in late June or early July.

Board members had no questions about the lease. Member Eugene Benson called the prospect of the center's new home "exciting."

ACA's "Future Fund" Capital Campaign continues. Those wishing to support the campaign can contribute online at, by mail to 41 Foster Street, or by phone 781-648-6220.

April 16, 2017: Anonymous donor offers $25,000 challenge grant for ACA fund

Dec. 23, 2016: Arts-center fund push is ahead of schedule, with more to raise

To donate, click here >> 

This news summary was published Thursday, May 18, 2017, and updated June 2.