Large adult studio under construction in AAN's new Nantucket Visual Arts Center.
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AAN Gets Matching Grant to Complete Nantucket Visual Arts Center

The Artists Association of Nantucket (AAN) has received a $480,000 capital grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. This grant is awarded to cultural organizations for facilities projects with demonstrated benefit to the local economy and transformative impact to the community served. The matching grant will be used to complete the construction of Nantucket’s first Visual Arts Center at 24 Amelia Drive.

“We are over the moon to have received this prestigious grant,” said AAN Executive Director Cecil Barron Jensen. “The Visual Arts Center is a transformative project for our organization and we really cannot wait to open the doors to Nantucket’s wonderful new educational facility this spring.”

AAN purchased the 9,000 square-foot building at 24 Amelia Drive in December 2013. Over the last year, the organization has renovated the facility to provide three floors of studio space for classes in the visual arts.

Working on drywall in AAN's new Nantucket Visual Arts Center.
Working on drywall in AAN’s new Nantucket Visual Arts Center.

“The dry wall is mostly up in the building, and we can now imagine the sunny studios taking their final shape. There will be ample room for instruction in drawing, painting, ceramics, mixed media, and print-making,” said Jensen. “We are also pleased to be able to provide space for expanded visiting artists workshops, an artist-in-residence apartment, and even space for exhibiting works by students, artists, and faculty.”

The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund is a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. It was created as part of a major economic stimulus bill that was approved by the Massachusetts Legislature in July 2006. To date, the Fund has awarded $82.7 million in grants to cultural organizations across Massachusetts.

“CFF grants are powerful catalysts for projects that benefit communities in all regions of the Commonwealth,” said Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. “They help us sustain a robust nonprofit cultural sector that drives tourism, our state’s third largest industry.”

The Fund aims to increase investment from both the public sector and the private sector to support the sound planning and development of cultural facilities. All grants from the Fund must be matched with cash contributions from the private sector.

The goal of AAN’s Capital Campaign for the Visual Arts Center is $3.5 million. To date the organization has successfully raised over $2 million. The matching grant will significantly help as the organization reaches out to a wider community of members, supporters, and friends for fund-raising help.

“The support of the Fund and the Massachusetts Cultural Council is truly meaningful at this time and it has the ability to launch AAN toward the successful completion of its campaign in 2015,” said Jensen.

The exterior of AAN's new Nantucket Visual Arts Center.
The exterior of AAN’s new Nantucket Visual Arts Center.

The $480,000 grant to AAN is among the largest awarded to the South East region this year. 2015 grant recipients include such prestigious and renowned institutions as Boston Ballet, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts and locally recognized arts organizations including Falmouth Artist Guild, The Cultural Center of Cape Cod, and Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill.

“As AAN prepares to open the new building in the late spring, we will be reaching out to Nantucket’s greater community to help us meet this match. We will have diverse giving options for all of Nantucket to participate, with the wonderful encouragement of doubling their dollars. There is so much motivation in that: a $50 dollar gift from a community member means $100 total dollars for AAN. This grant is AAN’s opportunity to reach out to Nantucket’s community with a focus on participation. We want everyone involved, to enjoy this new educational space and to strengthen our year-round and seasonal community through the visual arts. ”

To learn more about the AAN, visit the website at For information about the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund grant, please call 508-228-0722

Articles by Date from 2012