Episode 21: When Arts & Culture Have a Seat in City Hall

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Erin Williams, Cultural Development Officer for the City of Worcester and Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, discusses what’s possible when arts & culture has a seat in City Hall, and what can be gained by integrating the arts into city strategies.

Erin WilliamsErin I. Williams is the Cultural Development Officer for the City of Worcester, MA and the Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, the unified voice of the Greater Worcester, MA creative community. The Coalition is a unique public private partnership which shines a spotlight on the creative activity produced in the region and supports creative placemaking through such initiatives as the WOOPass, Worcester Wayfinding signage program and #MakeArtEverywhere campaign and public events such as Out to Lunch Concert Series. With Erin’s leadership, the Worcester Cultural Coalition was presented the Commonwealth Award for Creative Economy Catalyst. In July, 2012 Richard Florida named Worcester as one of the top 20 creative cities in the U.S in The Rise of the Creative Class.

Erin currently serves on Central Massachusetts Creative Economy Network, is a founding board member of MASSCreative, board member of Discover Central.

She was previously employed by the Massachusetts Cultural Council where she provided oversight and technical assistance to 90 local communities in Central MA. She assisted in strategic planning and capacity building efforts for the Communities Department and is a consultant in the area of creative placemaking.

Erin was the founding director and trustee of the 1794 Meetinghouse performing arts and cultural center in New Salem, Massachusetts and the founding director of the Big Small Theater in Philadelphia. She is a playwright, theater director and dramaturg. She holds a Smith Scholar degree, graduating magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College. She also studied as a Theater for Social Change major at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Erin is a frequent speaker on the role of arts and culture in community building and is a firm believer that creativity sparks the economy and builds community.

One of the Worcester wayfinding pieces

Cultural Development Highlights – FY16 (PDF)

Read Episode Transcript.

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