Emily Ruddock has been named the director of the Downtown Lynn Cultural District. Ruddock will assume the role on May 1, engaging Lynn residents and visitors in a revitalized urban experience that has arts and culture at its core.
“This is my dream job,” said Ruddock. “I’ve always wanted to be an advocate for the arts and connect that with city planning and economic development efforts. I want to make this district a vibrant, exciting place that people want to be a part of.”
Lynn joined Rockport, Gloucester’s Rocky Neck, Boston’s Fenway neighborhood and Pittsfield in 2012 as the state’s first group of designated Cultural Districts, approved by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). Authorized by an act of the Massachusetts state legislature in 2010, the Cultural Districts Initiative was launched to encourage Massachusetts communities to strengthen creative sectors, while stimulating economic activity. There are now 19 Cultural Districts statewide.
Stopping points within the Downtown Lynn Cultural District include Lynn Arts, RAW Art Works, the Lynn Museum & Historical Society, the Lynn Auditorium and other artist loft and exhibit spaces in Central Square.
“Having organizations like Lynn Arts, Arts After Hours, RAW Art Works and several other organizations right downtown means a great deal in terms of already having a solid foundation to work from,” said Ruddock. “I’m thrilled to help drive traffic to all the organizations and businesses in the district.”
Ruddock will work directly with Kate Luchini, executive director or the Lynn Museum, to build a strong arts coalition. She is planning to organize more events downtown, expand Third Thursdays and encourage more interaction between local artists and community members, from hosting regular open studio hours to offering music, dance or art lessons. She will also be coordinating a large arts festival to attract area communities to the city.
Ruddock recently earned her master’s in public administration at Syracuse University, with a focus on non-profit management, policy implementation and social innovation. A highlight of her graduate studies was collaborating with the South Salina Business District—the commercial core of Syracuse— to create a business plan in support of its neighborhood redevelopment efforts.
“I’ve been incredibly impressed here in Lynn by the number of businesses and nonprofits that have been working together and collaborating with the city to develop events and an identity for this district,” said Ruddock. “I’m excited to meet more of the stakeholders and to be part of this unique and innovative project.”
A native of Massachusetts, Ruddock counts experiences such as the Boston Symphony Children’s Series and the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild’s High School Drama Festival for helping her appreciate art, build self-esteem and encourage her educational and professional successes. Prior to earning her master’s, she worked for more than eight years at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Ky.)—one of the few regional companies in the country that operates three diverse theatres under one roof. She co-created and co-produced the theater’s first artist-focused program, The Late Seating, which ran to sell- out houses for five years. She also launched Actors Apprentice and Intern Company Alumni Network and left as the as the manager of foundation and government relations. She was also selected to serve on the re-visioning committee for Louisville’s Fund for the Arts. Her husband, Brian, is a theatrical lighting designer and professor.