Lynn Named One of the State’s Five Pioneer Cultural Districts

Mayor Kennedy and EDIC Executive Director James Cowdell.

Once dubbed the “City of Firsts,” Lynn is officially living up to its name.

The City joined Rockport, Gloucester’s Rocky Neck, Boston’s Fenway neighborhood and Pittsfield as the state’s first group of designated Cultural Districts, approved by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) at its board meeting Tuesday.

Authorized by an act of the Massachusetts state legislature in 2010 and launched in April 2011, the Cultural Districts Initiative was launched to encourage Massachusetts communities to strengthen creative sectors, while stimulating economic activity.

“Our Cultural Districts Initiative shines a brand new spotlight on the breadth and depth of creative activity happening in every corner of Massachusetts,” said Anita Walker, MCC executive director. “Each of these communities has something very special to offer a visitor — whether they are coming from across town or across the globe. With this designation, these cities can now take their cultural life to a new level.”

More than 100 communities statewide applied in this first round, and Lynn officials were proud to be among the first selected.

“We’re going to celebrate being named one of the historic, first state-designated districts,” said Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, who attended the board meeting, held at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, along with EDIC Executive Director James Cowdell. “It’s a chance for our arts community to blossom and flourish.”

“We are very proud to be one of the first five cities designated as an Arts and Cultural District,” Cowdell said. “Now there are more than 100 cities that will try to follow in our footsteps. We were proud to submit the application on behalf of the City.”

“You’re the role models for those 100 communities that want to know what a Cultural District looks like,” said Walker. “Your hard work and your confidence in your communities paid off, and your presence here today is signature of that success.”

Stopping points within Lynn’s newly designated Central Exchange Cultural District include Lynn Arts, RAW Art Works, the Lynn Museum & Historical Society, the Lynn Auditorium and other artist loft and exhibit space in Central Square.

Each district will have new signage, online profiles on the state’s Office of Travel and Tourism and MCC websites, and other amenities. The goal is to help local arts, humanities and science organizations improve the quality and range of their public programs so that more local families can benefit from them. This will in turn enhance the experience for visitors and attract more tourist dollars and tax revenue.

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