MCLA Berkshire Cultural Resource Center Receives MCC Grant


North Adams, Mass. -- The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) today announced that Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is a recipient of statewide funding in 2011 from the MCC's Adams Arts Program for the Creative Economy.

The $32,000 awarded to MCLA is part of $765,500 in Adams program funding MCC will invest this year to help revitalize communities and generate new economic activity through arts, science, and history projects across the state.

"From Haverhill to Hancock, arts and culture are a vital force for community vitality," said Anita Walker, MCC's executive director. "Our arts, history, and science organizations are also a source of jobs and a key element of our tourism economy in Massachusetts. MCC's Adams grants help this dynamic sector grow and thrive."

"We are honored to continue our strong relationship and close partnership with MCC," said Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA. "To receive level funding through the program really reflects the importance and impact of the work that we are doing, and doing successfully."

The funds will be used to support MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC), a collaborative project of MCLA, MASS MoCA, and the City of North Adams based at MCLA Gallery 51 on Main Street in North Adams. It provides professional development training, resources, and support for the creative economy in Berkshire County, and enhances access to cultural programming for artists, arts managers, and audiences in Berkshire County.

North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said, "The partnership behind the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center is a key component of the program's success. North Adams has emerged as a center for the creative economy thanks to the great work taking place at MASS MoCA, as well as through the efforts of the individual artists, and cultural professionals who live and work in our community. We also have a great resource in MCLA, through their growth in enrollment, expansion of programs, and commitment to downtown revitalization."

With this funding, MCLA's BCRC will present exhibitions and public programs at MCLA Gallery 51, support the preparation and training of early career arts managers through the Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP), deliver free professional development programs to artists and cultural professionals through the Tricks of the Trade seminar series, and increase economic activity in the downtown business district through the annual DownStreet Art program. In 2011, BCRC will also continue to serve as a coordinating hub for other community-based and cultural initiatives.

"MCLA's Gallery 51 and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center are important parts of our strategy to serve our students, and the community," said Mary K. Grant, president of MCLA. "These programs bring energy, vitality, and most of all, people, downtown. Gallery openings are true community celebrations, and DownStreet Art is a dynamic and engaging program that uses the power and potential of art to connect with local residents and the thousands of cultural tourists who visit our region every year. We are so excited to be at the forefront of this exciting and energizing project, and grateful to the board, leadership, and staff of MCC for recognizing this work, and for being engaged and supportive partners of this innovative and important work."

The Adams Arts Program is the oldest and farthest reaching program of its kind in the nation, supporting projects that harness the unique assets of the Commonwealth and the creativity of its residents. Adams grants support a creative sector that has a $4 billion total impact on the state's economy and provides more than 100,000 jobs. The program has invested more than $9.2 million in nearly 100 projects since 1997.