Adams Art Committee receives MCC grant

Haverhill’s Adams Arts Committee was awarded $40,000 by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) to support an inventive project for economic development.

Haverhill’s Adams Arts Committee was awarded $40,000. by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) to support an inventive project for economic development. The “Haverhill Downtown Arts and Culture Project” is a one-year pilot program developed by an unusual civic partnership that will utilize the arts to revitalize downtown Haverhill. The partnership includes the City of Haverhill, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, Haverhill’s Five Cultural Treasures, Team Haverhill, the Haverhill Cultural Council (HCC), and other “cultural stakeholders” who will support this unique endeavor. “The creative economy is a driver of economic growth and represents 10 to 12 percent of the region’s private sector employment, according to the North Shore Creative Economy Market Analysis Action Plan released in 2008”, said Senator Steven A. Baddour (D-Methuen). “This grant will help fund a unique and exciting partnership that makes the most of the creative economy to help revitalize downtown Haverhill.”

The Haverhill Downtown Arts and Culture Project will assist the success of existing downtown, cultural initiatives—such as the GHCC’s Kidsfest, Team Haverhill’s Essex Street Gateway Mural, and the HCC’s 16-wk performing arts series—and cross-promote Haverhill’s “Cultural Treasures” (Winnekenni Castle, Whittier’s Birthplace, Buttonwoods Museum, Firefighting Museum, Tattersall Farm) with downtown businesses. The project will also create an online cultural calendar, monthly newsletters, and a centralized database of arts & cultural organizations and individuals. “Obtaining an Adams Arts Grant is another milestone in the ongoing Renaissance of Downtown Haverhill,” noted Mayor Fiorentini. “This grant will help bolster our arts economy in conjunction with our cultural attractions, our Restaurant Row and our riverfront, which is beneficial for the economic development of the entire city.”

“Arts and culture are playing a key role in Haverhill’s revitalization,” said Anita Walker, MCC’s Executive Director. “This Adams grant will advance these efforts by strengthening the capacity of the city’s leading cultural institutions to engage audiences and draw new visitors downtown.” One of the project partners, Team Haverhill, will be further recognized by the MCC as a winner of a 2011 Commonwealth Award to be presented at the State House on February 9.

The MCC’s Adams Arts Program was created by the State Legislature in 2004 to fund projects that create jobs and income, and those which leverage the assets of the creative sector – artists, cultural organizations, and arts-related businesses. Cities as diverse as Boston, Lowell, Salem, New Bedford, and Pittsfield have been awarded these grants to tap into the creative economy. The HCC first introduced the City to the Adams Arts Program in 2007. Two years ago, Haverhill was awarded a “planning grant”, which funded an objective analysis of the city’s cultural strengths and weaknesses.