Farnsworth Art Museum to Begin Vital Capital Improvements Project

Farnsworth Art Museum

The Farnsworth Art Museum is pleased to announce it has secured the necessary funding to begin major capital improvements to their Rockland and Cushing properties. The project received financing through Maine’s New Markets Tax Incentive Program allocated by CEI Capital Management, LLC, and federal New Markets Tax Credit funds that were allocated by the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, of Boston, with the investment of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.

“The Farnsworth would like to thank CEI Capital Management LLC, the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation and U.S. Bancorp CDC for their investment, and for recognizing the Farnsworth Art Museum as the economic engine for this community,” said Christopher J. Brownawell, Director of the museum. “The allocation of these funds will allow the Farnsworth to undertake vital capital improvements to almost all of our properties, ensuring stability for the museum for years to come. In addition, this funding will make available one of our most important free community educational programs, Stories of the Land and its People, to even more students than its already sizeable 260 Midcoast public school students per year.”

Said U.S. Senator Angus King:

“The Farnsworth Museum is a cornerstone of Rockland and the creative economy of the Midcoast. These improvements, made possible by the New Markets Tax Credits programs, will allow the museum to maintain and expand its important role in the local economy and the culture of the community. This is great news for the City of Rockland and the Midcoast region as a whole.”

The NMTC Program was established by Congress in 2000 to spur new or increased investments into operating businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities. The NMTC Program attracts investment capital to low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their Federal income tax return in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial institutions called Community Development Entities (CDEs). Maine’s New Markets Capital Investment Program was modeled on the successful federal program.

CEI Capital Management CEO Charlie Spies commented:

“The care and maintenance of the Farnsworth Art Museum is the sort of project the New Markets program was intended to support: providing needed liquidity for the sustainability of an important community centerpiece. The health of the Farnsworth is critical to continue the diversification of an otherwise shallow economy, supporting the arts, tourism and the traditional fisheries industries in an economically fragile region.”

“The Farnsworth Art Museum is not only a nationally recognized museum and leading arts institution for the community, it is an economic pillar of the region, drawing thousands of tourists and millions of dollars to Rockland each year,” said MHIC President Joe Flatley. “New Markets financing is key to supporting the museum’s capital improvement plan and to promoting the sustainability and growth of Rockland’s and the region’s economy.”

U.S.B. CDC provided much of the actual financing.

“Preserving this nation’s artistic treasures was important to U.S. Bank because we believe that a nation that knows its history is better prepared to progress not just in art but in business as well,” said Laura Vowell, Vice President of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. “The history and the great artists’ works housed at the Farnsworth must be protected and made available to Maine residents and visitors for decades to come.”

NMTC funds will provide the funding for multiple projects including new roofs for both the museum’s Morehouse Wing and the main museum building, new boilers for both the main museum as well as the Wyeth Center, and a complete conversion from heating oil to liquid propane. Funding has also been allocated to the continuation of the museum’s educational program Stories of the Land and its People. Now in its fourth year, the Stories of the Land and its People project has expanded from 140 to 260 local students. Participating schools include fourth and seventh grade classes from Appleton, Hope, Islesboro, Lincolnville, and Rockland’s South School and District Middle School. This yearlong arts integrated initiative for midcoast public schools has students working with museum educators, professional artists, classroom teachers, art teachers, and community members to tell the story of their community through art.

The Farnsworth Art Museum celebrates Maine’s ongoing role in American art. It offers a nationally recognized collection of works from many of America’s greatest artists, with 20,000 square feet of gallery space and over 15,000 works in the collection. The Farnsworth has one of the largest public collections of works by sculptor Louise Nevelson, while its Wyeth Center features works of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. The National Register-listed Farnsworth Homestead; the Olson House, a National Historic Landmark; and Julia’s Gallery for Young Artists complete the museum complex.

CEI Capital Management creates and preserves jobs and improves quality of life in rural, low income communities by providing access to project capital through New Markets Tax Credits. Over 10 years CEI Capital Management has placed nearly $800 million in 81 different projects across the U.S. In addition to fiscal soundness, CEI Capital Management evaluates each project according to its benefit to the local community, economic gain and positive impact on the environment. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of CEI, the Maine-based nonprofit community development financial institution which was among the founders of this important federal economic development program. For more information, visit ceimaine.org/CCML.

MHIC is a private, nonprofit lender and investor specializing in financing affordable housing and community development throughout New England. It was founded in 1990 by a consortium of banks and other corporate investors to fill a critical gap in meeting the credit needs of developers who could not get financing for certain projects from traditional lenders. To date, MHIC has provided more than $2.09 billion in financing. That financing represents the preservation or creation of nearly 19,600 housing units and more than 4 million square feet of commercial space.