Episode 66: Lynn, Lynn, City of Murals

Al Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Walls, discusses their work to create public art installations in Lynn, MA. He shares how perceptions were torn down as part of this process, bringing people into downtown and changing the image and ethos around this diverse and vibrant city.

Al WilsonAl Wilson is the Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Walls, a creative placemaking agency based in Lynn, Massachusetts whose mission is to activate public space to strengthen communities. In 2016, Al and a robust volunteer committee launched a grass-roots effort to implement four inaugural large scale public art installations in downtown Lynn, a post-industrial city located just 10 miles north of Boston. Inspired by projects in Brooklyn, New York; Philadelphia, PA; Kings Cross, London; and Wynwood, Miami, Al recognized Lynn’s rich history, distinctive architecture, and burgeoning arts and cultural district as the perfect landscape in which to test the creative economy.
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Episode 60: Gateway Cities & Creative Placemaking

Benjamin Forman, Director of the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute at MassINC, says residential property values are higher in communities that have more arts and culture. He says municipal leaders should take stock of that when considering modest public investments in strategies such as Cultural Districts and the economic returns that they yield.

Ben FormanBenjamin Forman has served as MassINC’s research director since 2010. Prior to joining MassINC, he oversaw strategic planning for the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation. He also has experience as a researcher at the Brookings Institution and as a research assistant at Nathan Associates, a global economic development consulting firm.
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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 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”