Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Gateway Cities are seeing continued progress in implementing creative placemaking strategies just a few weeks after April’s Gateway Cities summit focused on building buy-in and sharing best practices on the economic development concept.
The week following the summit, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse proposed establishing a new position of art, culture, and tourism director in the City of Holyoke. The director would serve as a liaison to Holyoke’s growing arts community to strengthen their ties to the city, as well as attract new artists. Morse told the Springfield Republican that a strong arts and cultural industry will help to revitalize downtown Holyoke. At the April 11th creative placemaking summit, Morse participated in a mayors’ roundtable alongside Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, Worcester City Manager Michael O’Brien, and New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell.
The creative placemaking concept is also making inroads in Fall River, where the Massaachusetts Cultural Council last week announced it would grant $36,000 to various arts and cultural projects in the city. In describing the importance of a strong arts and culture community, state officials highlighted fellow Gateway City Lowell as a place where investment in arts and culture has had an impact on the local economy as a whole. The grants will fund projects in theater, photography, art exhibitions, and a restaurant week.
Finally in Monday’s Lowell Sun, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray reiterated the administration’s support for Gateway Cities investment, including in cultural activities. The Lieutenant Governor was a featured speaker at the Creative Placemaking Summit.
The Creative Placemaking Summit, held in Lowell, featured plenary sessions with local, state and national experts, with a keynote address by Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, author of “Creative Placemaking” a white paper for The Mayor’s Institute on City Design, National Endowment for the Arts. The day also featured practical workshops that explored best practices and common challenges in bringing art and culture-based investments to fruition.