Section 56. The council shall stimulate and encourage the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences within cities and towns by administering the distribution of the Arts Lottery Fund established under the provisions of section fifty-seven to the several cities and towns as hereinafter provided and providing guidance, advice, and assistance to local or regional cultural councils established under the provisions of section fifty-eight.
The council shall receive applications for said funds from local and regional cultural councils and shall determine if applications for funds comply with said guidelines, rules, rulings or regulations. The council, upon the determination of compliance with its guidelines, rules, rulings or regulations, shall certify to the comptroller the payment to the several cities and towns to the extent that monies would be payable to such cities and towns under the provisions of section eighteen C of chapter fifty-eight; provided, however, that the definition of ''persons who reside in the commonwealth'' as contained in clause (3) of paragraph (a) of said section eighteen C shall be construed not to include the population of those cities, towns or consortiums of cities and towns which have not established local or regional cultural councils for the purpose of distributing funds under the provisions of this section; and further provided, however, that the arts lottery funds for the arts shall not be added to the Local Aid Fund pursuant to the provisions of section two D of chapter twenty-nine but shall be separately distributed as provided in section fifty-eight. Arts lottery funds so certified and allocable to a local or regional cultural council shall be deposited with the treasurer of the appropriate city or town and expended as provided in such applications as approved by the council and as provided in section fifty-eight. Funds not so certified shall, at the discretion of the council, be retained for the account of such local or regional cultural council, or expended or distributed by the council for the benefit of such one or more local regional cultural councils as the council may deem appropriate.