The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s (AFCC) Creative Exchange is being bolstered thanks to $400,000 in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
An additional $50,000 grant from the Cape Cod Foundation will further strengthen the program, which provides professional development and networking opportunities to local artists and creative workers.
State Sen. Julian Cyr was instrumental in securing the federal dollars to support the Cape’s creative economy, filing an amendment to the Legislature’s $4 billion ARPA and surplus tax revenue spending bill, which Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law in December.
“These are once-in-a-generation funds that are meant to help us rebuild and repair and build more resilient communities,” Cyr said. “When you look at what powers Cape Cod and the Islands’ economy, it is not solely tourism and our gorgeous beaches and natural beauty. The fabric of our community is its creativity and innovation. Whether it’s taking in a concert in Hyannis or strolling through the galleries in Wellfleet or watching a drag show in Provincetown, the arts are the real lifeblood of our community and our economy.”
“We are honored to make this investment in the Creative Exchange program which the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod is uniquely positioned to lead,” said Kristin O’Malley, President and CEO of The Cape Cod Foundation. “One of our ongoing strategies is to support capacity-building initiatives that help nonprofits reach the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity. This investment will expand the capacity and impact of the Arts Foundation and individual artists. Both are vital to the vibrancy of our community.”
“We are so grateful to both the Cape Cod Foundation and Senator Cyr, who made this funding possible. This will go directly to support artists in our region who have been directly impacted by the pandemic,” said AFCC Executive Director Julie Wake. “The Cape Cod Foundation, Senator Cyr, and our entire legislative delegation have been incredibly supportive of arts and culture in our region, especially since the start of the pandemic. This is just the latest example of that support and of their understanding of the critical role that arts and culture play on Cape Cod.”
Wake said that with this funding the arts will be strengthened after nearly two years in which COVID-19 halted in-person shows temporarily; led to reductions in capacity; and forced organizations to restructure their operations to protect the health and safety of their staff and patrons.
The ARPA funding will be spread out over three years and go directly to assist artists in Barnstable County through the AFCC’s Creative Exchange. Launched in 2016, the program started off as a one-day professional development conference for local creatives. The program has since grown and is now poised to take the next step in its evolution.