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Cultural District of Great Barrington

What is the purpose of a Massachusetts Cultural District?

In 2010, a Cultural District initiative was authorized by an act of the MA state legislature. The goals as defined by the legislative statute are:

Attract Artists and Cultural Enterprises

Encourage Business and Job Development

Establish the District as a Tourist Destination

Preserve and Reuse Historic Buildings

Enhance Property Values

Foster Local Cultural Development

Where are the other Cultural Districts?

There are currently 43 recognized cultural districts in Massachusetts, designated by the Mass Cultural Council. Designation began in 2011, after an act of the state legislature in 2010.

In the Berkshires: North Adams, Williamstown, Pittsfield

WHAT IS A CULTURAL DISTRICT?

Cultural Districts should be compact, walk-able areas with a high concentration of cultural activity. They have well defined borders and once designated, signage is placed at entry points.

Great Barrington's proposed map:

PROPOSED MAP SUBMITTED TO MCC

WHY SEEK DESIGNATION?

Cultural District designation does not come with guaranteed funding. There are other reasons to establish a district, including:

INCREASED COMMUNICATION WITHIN THE DISTRICT...
  • more knowledge about others' programming means more cross-promotion
  • more cross promotion means more conversations with visitors
  • this can lead to repeat visits and longer stays!
OPPORTUNITIES TO COLLABORATE ON PROGRAMMING...
  • common themes can be discovered and enhanced
  • partners from outside the District can consider pop-up performances and exhibits
  • new partnerships may be developed
OPPORTUNITIES TO COOPERATE ON MARKETING...
  • sharing cost for space in local, regional and national publications becomes more affordable
  • combined public relations efforts can grab more attention
  • sharing social media content will amplify our message
PARTNERSHIPS WITH ENTITIES OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT...
  • other Berkshire County Cultural Districts have plans to co-market

IN YOUR OWN WORDS:

"Great Barrington has all the elements in place to create a cultural district....the characteristics needed are cultural venues, varied restaurants and distinctive stores all within walking distance."

- Kelley Vickery

Berkshire International Film Festival

"Great Barrington truly is one of America's greatest small towns--and the arts are at the heart of what makes our community unique. Designation as a cultural district will help draw more attention to our town's exceptional culturing offerings--and to the inclusive model of culture that CATA and Great Barrington embodies."

-Margaret Keller

Community Access to the Arts

"BPL would benefit from GB being designated a cultural district because of the increased visibility that comes from being a cultural district. Cultural tourism is increasing across the country and the world and many tourists are interested in visiting cities and towns with a varied offering of cultural activities."

-Tristan Wilson

Berkshire Playwrights Lab

At the end of the day, this is all about increased visibility and recognition.

WHAT DOES IT COST?

There is NO application fee for Cultural Districts.

______

Businesses and organizations within the district DO NOT pay dues or membership fees.

______

The town WILL be expected to pay for the creation of 4 signs to be placed at various entry points of the district.

sample of Mass Cultural District signage

WHAT WORK IS INVOLVED?

Our District will be what we make of it.

Cultural District Designation is an "EVENT", but being a Cultural District is an ongoing initiative.

______

A working group, or "partnership", will be formed to manage the application process as well as activity after designation occurs.

______

Regular meetings should occur to discuss progress and goals, and annual reports are filed with MCC.

______

Other Massachusetts Cultural Districts have chosen to:

CREATE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
SHARE CALENDARS
ADD NEW FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
APPLY FOR GRANTS TOGETHER

There are already so many great things happening, lets make sure more people know about it!

_______

WHAT IS OUR VISION?

Time to brainstorm!

Time to brainstorm!

FEBRUARY 27th PUBLIC MEETING

Credits:

Created with images by Eric.Ray - "outdoor cafe" • fred_fiii - "spotlight" • Jeffrey - "Say Hello" • Tyler Nix - "Fall is in the Air" • rawpixel - "paper business finance" • Republica - "looking glass binoculars magnifying tourist attraction closeup"

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