GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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July 1, 2013

Rocky Neck arts center lands $154K grant

The Rocky Neck Art Colony has received an injection of cash and a strong show of support through the Massachusetts Cultural Council to go toward the purchase of its first permanent home, a former church building on Wonson Street.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced that the art colony received an award of $154,006 from the state’s Cultural Facilities Fund, which supports new capital projects for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations.

The money will go toward the acquisition and development of the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, located at 6 Wonson St. and housed in an 1877 church building.

State Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante applauded the work of those who are leading this effort.

“The award of this grant is a credit to the Rocky Neck community, who continue the tradition and its unique distinction as being the nation’s oldest art colony,” said Ferrante. “The Rocky Neck community — in particular the work of Karen Tibbetts and Karen Ristuben — has been an amazing leader over the past two years in the establishment of the Rocky Neck Cultural District and the arts programming to accompany and define the district.”

In March of 2012, the Rocky Neck Art Colony was among the first five cultural districts to win state Cultural Council approval as a recognized cultural district. The council also recognized a Rockport Cultural District in that first wave, and has since granted similar designations to an Essex River Cultural District and, earlier this year, to a Gloucester Harbortown District covering the city’s downtown.

“We are absolutely thrilled and grateful that the state -- through the Massachusetts Cultural Council -- has supported this community project,” said Ristuben, president of the Rocky Neck Art Colony. “It’s a fantastic validation of the project. It is the headquarters of the Rocky Neck Art Colony as well as the newly designated Rocky Neck Cultural District.”

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