Episode 63: Boston’s Literary District Engages Writers of Today with the City’s Rich Past

In 2014, Boston became the first American city to have a Literary Cultural District. Last year we spoke with Eve Bridburg, Executive Director of GrubStreet and Founder of the Boston Literary District, and Alysia Abbott, Director of the Boston Literary District. They discuss what it takes to support long-term collaboration between organizations of different sizes and missions. Alysia says a big part of her job is sustaining engagement in shared work while providing a partnership flexible enough to withstand institutional needs and transitions.

Eve Bridburg and Alysia AbbottEve Bridburg is the Founder and Executive Director of GrubStreet which has grown into a national literary powerhouse.  Her mission is to work with her team toward building the most inclusive and accessible writing center in the country.  Interested in the connection between civics and the narrative arts, Eve sits on the Executive Committee of the Boston’s Literary Cultural District and is an active partner with the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.
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Episode 53: Unearthing and Cultivating a Hidden Economy

Jessica Allan, former City Planner for Easthampton, MA, discusses the trajectory of the city’s work to identify and cultivate Easthampton’s unique culture and artists, and bring them to the forefront of the local economy.

Jessica AllanJessica Allan has been with MBL Housing & Development since December 2017, and has over 17 years’ experience in land use planning, zoning, and permitting. Prior to joining MBL, Jessica served as the City Planner for Easthampton, MA, where she developed and implemented short and long-term community plans, administered the zoning code, provided permitting assistance to private developers, wrote and managed grants, managed and procured public infrastructure projects, and provided technical planning assistance to various city boards and committees.
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Episode 50: Mission-Driven Commercial Development Afoot in Roxbury

Edmund Barry Gaither, Director of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, says this moment in Roxbury is “a moment of becoming.” He discusses work underway by Elma Lewis Partners and the recently-designated Roxbury Cultural District to use economic development to gift a community with a first-rate cultural and educational institution by 2020.

Edmond Barry GaitherEdmund Barry Gaither is Director of the National Center of Afro-American Artists and its Museum Division, and Special Consultant to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. At the National Center of Afro-American Artists, he developed its museum from a concept to its present operation with collections representing the visual arts of the black world, and an exhibition record of 45 years. At the Museum of Fine Arts, he has served as Adjunct Curator for 11 exhibitions since 1970, as well as administering the long-standing collaborative relationship between the National Center and the MFA.
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Episode 48: Cultural District as Framework for Unifying Community Vision

Wrapped inside the cozy neighborhoods of a leafy mill town in Boston’s Metro West, Maynard’s downtown is a dynamic micro-city. Tim Hess, an architect and former chair of the Maynard Cultural Council, shares the journey undertaken to create what is now Maynard’s Assabet Village Cultural District.

Tim HessTimothy Hess, AIA, CNU-A, SEED
Tim Hess is a member of the Maynard Cultural Council, and chaired that group through state designation of the Assabet Village Cultural District. His place-making approach helped to shape the framework and goals for the District, identifying four place-assets of particular civic value to its identity and cohesion, and outlining a series of special events meant to initiate cycles of exploration, imagination, planning, and investment in those places. Continue reading “Episode 48: Cultural District as Framework for Unifying Community Vision”

Episode 37: Springfield Cultural District Fuels Downtown Growth

A thriving creative sector is one of our Commonwealth’s most powerful economic development assets. Morgan Drewniany, Executive Director of the Springfield Central Cultural District, shares their work in harnessing arts and culture for the future of Springfield.

Morgan DrewnianyMorgan Drewniany is Executive Director of the Springfield Central Cultural District. She attended Hampshire College with a focus on the intersection of environmental chemistry, public health, and social justice. Her passion for serving all of the population, not just those with a high level of education and privilege, brought her to the field of economic development after graduation.

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