The arts took center stage in Vineyard Haven this week as three cultural organizations received grants from the state. Selectmen also voted to approve creating an application to form the Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District.
On Monday, the Vineyard Playhouse, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center were awarded capital grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. Of the 10 projects funded in the southeast region, three are in Vineyard Haven.
The Vineyard Playhouse received a $100,00 grant for the ongoing renovation and restoration of its historic 1833 building. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum was awarded a $191,000 grant to be used toward renovation of the Vineyard Haven Marine Hospital building, where the museum will be moving in the future, as well as to develop final designs for the space. The newest arts space in town, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, was awarded a $17,200 grant to purchase equipment.
“It’s an exciting time to be in Vineyard Haven,” said Ann Smith, chairman of the Arts MV steering committee, during Tuesday’s selectmen meeting. Selectmen unanimously approved a resolution to apply for cultural district status, which would link arts and cultural organizations with local businesses under one geographic umbrella. There are 14 other cultural districts in Massachusetts.
The proposed area extends approximately a half-mile from the harborfront, prompting some to express concern about a “downtown-centric” district at the expense of artists whose galleries are outside the walkable area. As a remedy, suggestions were made to create a gallery within the district to feature works by non-downtown artists and to work towards creating multiple cultural districts on the Island.