Board unites artists, local government in Adams to spur creative economy

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

MMA Innovation Award winner, From The Beacon, February 2017
 
Adams Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco has said that “getting artists together is like herding cats.” But with the Adams Arts Advisory Board, he said, “we found a way local government can bring people together without it being too fussy.” And it’s getting results.
 
In its first year, the group of volunteers formed by the town to promote public art and support artists from the Berkshires created six separate public art installations and sponsored the “Berkshire Faerie Festival,” which was attended by more than 2,000 people.
 
The board also held workshops for local realtors on how to sell real estate to artists and created a reusable banner that is used to cover the front of blighted houses until the property is sold.
 
Remarkably, the board accomplished all these goals with less than $500 in public funds.
 
“The creative economy is so important to the Commonwealth, and here’s a way to support the creative economy from the ground up,” Mazzucco said. “We found a way local government can get involved with that and spur that.”
 
Weekly meetings have an average attendance of eight to 12 people, exceeding the usual attendance at Adams Select Board meetings, according to the town.
 
While it is a town board, the Adams Arts Advisory Board’s structure leads to it operating more as a volunteer public-private partnership between local government and the artist community.
 
The strategy of having a large group (70), with members from several communities is intended to keep the Adams Arts Advisory Board flat organizationally, focusing on specific goals instead of being a standing committee voting up and down on items that make their way onto the board’s agenda. It also gives the board flexibility to independently start and complete projects.
 
For more information, contact Adams Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco at (413) 743-8300, ext. 102, or tmazzucco@town.adams.ma.us.