Millionaire former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is moving his video game company 38 Studios to downtown Providence from Maynard, Massachusetts, thanks to a $75 million loan guarantee to the company from the state of Rhode Island. The firm, which was founded in 2006 and has yet to produce any products, announced yesterday that it had signed a lease on the six-story building at 1 Empire Plaza, opposite AS220.
The loan guarantee came about because Republican Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri had a “chance meeting” (according to the Providence Journal) with outspoken Republican Schilling at a fund-raiser at Schilling’s Medfield, Massachusetts, house last March. 38 Studios says it “expects to base 450 employees in Providence by 2012.”
Maybe the rest of the state needs to figure out ways to bump into Carcieri at parties. Because earlier this year, Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts successfully fought Carcieri’s plan to cut state arts funding. And the Providence Journal reported Sept. 1 that Carcieri plans to use $32.9 million in federal funds aimed at saving teaching jobs and protecting school program to instead plug an estimated $38 million deficit in this year’s Rhode Island budget.
AS220 artistic director Umberto Crenca says in the 38 Studios press release: “I am very excited about the commitment of 38 Studios to locate in downtown Providence. The clustering of creative and digital industries so close to internationally recognized schools such as RISD, Brown, JWU, and URI can be the trigger that propels Providence into its future. The city’s diversity, historic architecture and strong arts and culture have helped it to create a high quality of life that is attractive to creative types. Richard Florida’s predictions are coming to pass: Creative people are drawn to interesting, dynamic and diverse communities; creative industries are drawn to talent and a new economic model is born.”
April 1, 2010: MA, RI subsidize millionaires, cut the arts.