Plymouth’s First Cultural District
Looking ahead to 2020, our cultural assets in the town of Plymouth will play a very important role in the events and programs of the 400th anniversary. Plymouth 400, supported by the Town Manager’s office, has been instrumental in moving forward a bid for a Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) Cultural District in Plymouth. A Cultural District Committee made up of some of the anchor cultural organizations in town is working through the application process of securing this Cultural District Designation. This District will highlight the thriving art, music, dance, theater, and culinary scene in downtown Plymouth and will attract artists and cultural enterprises to the area, further establishing downtown Plymouth as a cultural tourism destination.
What is a Cultural District?
A cultural district, as stated by the MCC, is “a specific geographical area in a city or town that has a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. It is a walkable area that is easily identifiable to visitors and residents and serves as a center of cultural, artistic, and economic activity.”
The MCC’s definition of a “cultural asset” aims to promote the economic health of our artists, performers, historic venues, and businesses that support them. According to the MCC, a cultural asset includes anything from a performing arts venue to a coffee shop with local art on the walls. Within the proposed Plymouth District, we have identified over 120 entities that include visual and performing art organizations, museums, tours, historic landmarks and monuments, restaurants and retail establishments that promote the cultural economy by showing local artists works, crafts and hosting local musicians to perform on a regular basis.
What’s so great about a Cultural District?
The Massachusetts state law that created Cultural Districts in 2010 states that this iniative aims to:
Attract artists and cultural enterprises
Encourage business and job development
Establish the district as a tourist destination
Preserve and reuse historic buildings
Enhance property values
Foster local cultural development
How many Culural District Designations are there in MA?
Currently, there are 26 Cultural Districts in MA. From Hyannis to Springfield to Lowell to Pittsfield, these districts are scattered throughout the Commonwealth, and help enhance the experience for visitors and thus attract more tourist dollars and tax revenue. They also attract artists, cultural organizations, and entrepreneurs of all kinds; enhancing property values and making communities more attractive.
What does a Cultural District actually do?
Once the application process is complete and the MCC officially approves Plymouth’s Cultural District, the district partners (any business or organization within the district who wishes to be involved) will be responsible for working with the Plymouth Cultural District Committee to promote events that are already happening within the district and help to create new cultural events for the community. These cultural events can be anything from a public art class to a film festival to a farmers market and craft fair. One of the main reasons downtown Plymouth is such a perfect candidate for a MCC Cultural District is because of all the cultural programs, events, festivals, concerts, and parades that already happen here- a Cultural District Designation will simply take all of these events to the next level by encouraging all of the District’s organzations to work together.
How can I get involved?
Come to the Cultural District open community meeting on October 22, at 7PM at the Spire Center. This meeting will serve as an introduction to the proposed cultural district and its extensive list of cultural assets, with a brainstorming session to discuss possible events, programs, and marketing. Meri Jenkins, Program Manager at the MCC, will be in attendance to share her experiences with other cultural districts in Massachusetts, and offer guidance and feedback on Plymouth’s proposed district programs and events.
Contact Sheila Fey at Plymouth 400, Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Plymouth’s First Cultural District