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Foundation Leads Cultural Planning for Worcester

The City of Worcester, having demonstrated a strong commitment to arts & culture, has partnered with Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the Worcester Cultural Coalition to develop a Worcester Cultural Plan. With funding by the Barr Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Worcester Cultural Coalition, the city of Worcester has signaled its commitment to this important endeavor.

The Cultural Plan is a foundational document for municipal cultural planning and service delivery in Worcester. It will enable the City to take full advantage of the opportunities for quality of life and economic development that a robust arts, culture and creative sector can bring, will provide the City with a clear direction regarding its arts and cultural resources, and will contribute to the realization of the city’s Master Plan and Strategic Plan.

“Arts and culture are essential to the success and vibrancy of any city not only because they create jobs and drive economies, but also because of what the arts and creative sector contributes to residents’ quality of life,” said Edward M. Augustus Jr., Worcester City Manager. “This plan, when paired with Worcester’s Master Plan and Strategic Plan will enrich the efforts of the city, the region, local businesses, corporations, nonprofits and individuals who work in and are a part of the local arts and humanities sector.”

Already making an impact through its first round of grants, the Foundation’s Creative Worcester Initiative, funded by the Barr Foundation, was singled out by city officials for its success in engaging local organizations to identify Worcester’s distinctive arts and cultural resources and invest in these assets to enhance the city’s quality of life.

The preliminary themes drafted for the Cultural Plan include:

1) Public realm and infrastructure design/activation: Building a city with attractive, active and connected public spaces that support multiple forms of mobility and cultural expression.

2) Diversity, equity and inclusion: Embracing cultural and creative expressions and ways of life meaningful to all Worcester residents while generating equitable opportunity and access to resources.

3) Creativity and innovation: Providing resources and a supportive environment for creative exploration across all sectors of the community.

4) Internal and external community image : Identifying and fostering a creative, healthy image of the city to both residents and visitors.

5) Youth and family engagement: Creating a vibrant arts and culture scene which encourages children and families to participate.

“As the Foundation has already shown with its Creative Spark and Creative Engagement grant making programs, the development of the Cultural Plan is only the first step towards refocusing the ways in which the City invests in arts and culture,” said Ann T. Lisi, President and CEO of Greater Worcester Community Foundation. “As the city enters into unprecedented economic growth, this plan will only further build upon the immense creative talents and resources that make up our community and make it equitable for everyone.”

“A public survey has been issued to encourage all Worcester residents and those who work in Worcester to lift their ideas as to how arts, culture and creativity can support a city that is vibrant, inclusive, and engaging,” noted Erin I. Williams, Cultural Development Officer of the city and Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition. The Cultural Plan Survey is available at www.worcesterculture.org .

A Cultural Advisory Committee will meet in late October to discuss initial findings regarding the plan with the intention of the Cultural Plan being shared with city officials by the end of 2018.



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