The Farnsworth Art Museum said in a March 27 news release it has secured the necessary funding to begin major capital improvements to its 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 (NMTC) funds that were allocated by the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corp. of Boston, with the investment of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp.

“The Farnsworth would like to thank CEI Capital Management LLC, the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corp. 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.”

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 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.

NMTC funds will provide support 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 and 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 year-long 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.