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

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. Continue reading “Episode 21: When Arts & Culture Have a Seat in City Hall”