Cape Ann participated in the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) statewide cultural district convening which was hosted by the Natick Center for the Arts. Statewide district gatherings occur once or twice a year: the last two were held in Cambridge, and Beverly. Representatives from Gloucester, Rockport and Essex cultural districts were in attendance. (Manchester and Ipswich do not not have a designation at this time. Gloucester could have seven.)
Massachusetts Cultural Council Director, Anita Walker, welcomed the crowd, and introduced officials from Natick and new additions to the MCC staff. Jill Cahill, Gloucester’s Director of Community Development, brought a gift from the Mayor and the City to add to a send-off of thanks and well wishes for Meri Jenkins, longtime MCC leader who managed cities and towns through cultural facilities funding and district designations. Luis Edgardo Cotto and Justina Crawford will be taking over the MCC Community Initiative programs managed by Meri.
The MCC approved five year district renewals for both Rocky Neck and Rockport last year. District renewal for Gloucester’s downtown is underway. Essex received official citations for their renewal at this convening. Here’s a photo of Christopher Stepler, artist and Manager of Essex Shipbuilding Museum, and Lee Spence, former Director. One update they shared was that the successful historic exhibition The Women of Essex – Stories to Share displayed at Essex Town Hall in a renovated bright space on the top floor above the TOHP Burnham Public Library (thanks in part to Cultural Facilities funding) was selected to travel to the NPS regional Visitor Center in Salem.