NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 22, 2013

Newburyport pitched as a cultural mecca

NEWBURYPORT – City officials and local cultural leaders yesterday found themselves in the unusual position of having to “prove” that this city offers cultural resources and artistic opportunity.

Many recognize Newburyport to be a vibrant center of arts, music and literature but representatives of the Massachusetts Cultural Council were in town yesterday as part of its formal procedure to consider bestowing written recognition of this community as a “cultural district.”

Cultural Council members must make a formal recommendation before the city can be so recognized and thus Mayor Donna Holaday, Chamber of Commerce President Ann Ormond and City Councilor Allison Heartquist were among about a dozen who led the state “evaluators” on a tour of the downtown cultural sites.

They visited the Firehouse Center for the Arts, the Art Association headquarters, dance and voice studios in the Tannery, outdoor music venues and numerous shops and businesses.

Local leaders talked up the town as if explaining themselves to newcomers as they endeavored to advance the cause of cultural tourism.

Those who participated said there are benefits to being formally recognized.

Meri Jenkins, program manager for the Massachusetts Cultural District Initiative, said, “If Newburyport is approved as one of the state’s cultural districts, it will be part of our initiative to spread the word about the state. This city would be profiled in promotional material to Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and many other countries.”

As to the Cultural Council question of what makes the city unique, Jack Welch, representing the drama community, said, “Newburyport as a city shaped in part by its waterfront and its long maritime history.”

Mayor Donna Holaday added, “Another dimension that makes the city special is the preservation effort that went on to save the historic downtown. Many cities took down their old buildings but this city is recognized as among the first in the country to choose restoration as part of renewal.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Special Features