Mass Cultural Council logo
Home / Blog / Communities / Council Approves 50th State-Designated Cultural District

Council Approves 50th State-Designated Cultural District

Bethann Steiner, Communications Director

Fall River Waterfront Cultural District Approved; 50 Distinct Hubs of Cultural, Artistic and Economic Activity Now Authorized Statewide

C.A.N. Art Music Festival in 2017.
Musicians performing at the 2017 C.A.N. Art Music Festival in Fall River.

The governing board of the Mass Cultural Council has approved the proposed Fall River Waterfront Cultural District. This state designation will help stimulate new arts and cultural activity and attract creative businesses for the City.

“Congratulations to Fall River, Mass Cultural Council’s 50th Cultural District,” said Anita Walker, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “With this designation the City becomes eligible for additional economic development resources for municipalities, including state tax credits and grant funding.”

“I am honored that the Mass Cultural Council has named Fall River as their 50th Cultural District,” said Mayor Paul E. Coogan. “The financial support opportunities and additional resources for the arts and culture community will allow our waterfront to continue to improve and expand.”

Mass Cultural Council administers Cultural Districts on behalf of the Commonwealth, established in 2011 through an act of the state Legislature. This initiative enables state-designated Cultural Districts to drive economic growth, strengthen the influence of distinctive local character, and improve the quality of life across Massachusetts in our communities.

The Fall River Waterfront Cultural District is in the City’s waterfront. The boundaries run along the shore of the Taunton River, bordered by Commonwealth Landing to the north, following Davol Street in the east, and ending in the area of Columbia Street to the south. These boundaries were drawn to include important cultural assets such as the Gates of the City, the Maritime Museum at Battleship Cove, Fall River Heritage State Park, Borden Light Marina, and Veterans Memorial Bicentennial Park.

“Over many generations, Fall River’s diverse community has developed a unique, rich culture, making the City a natural addition to the Cultural District program,” said State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Thank you to the many organizations, including Mass Cultural Council and the Creative Arts Network, that made this possible, and congratulations to the City of Fall River.”

Fall River’s Creative Arts Network, Inc. (C.A.N.) shepherded this initiative locally, securing municipal support and Council approval, over a five-year timeframe.

“Creative Arts Network, is pleased to have played a pivotal role in securing this critical designation for the City of Fall River. C.A.N.-sustained leadership over the past five years insured the successful approval of a Cultural District that will greatly contribute to the development and economic revitalization of Fall River’s waterfront,” said David and Sandra Dennis, Co-Founders, Creative Arts Network.

“I am pleased that the Mass Cultural Council has approved the Fall River Waterfront Cultural District, located in the House District I represent,” said State Representative Alan Silvia (D- Fall River). “This will ensure economic growth to the development of our waterfront, providing our community with an improved quality of life. Thank you to all who have assisted in making this possible, including Mass Cultural Council and C.A.N. Congratulations, Fall River.”

“We thank the Mass Cultural Council and the Creative Arts Network for their tireless work to enable Fall River’s waterfront to receive this state Cultural District designation and the $5,000 grant,” said State Representative Carole Fiola (D- Fall River). “This will greatly enhance the work and vision we have for our gorgeous waterfront.”

“This is another great step forward for Fall River,” said State Representative Paul A. Schmid, III (D- Westport). As we prepare for Southcoast Rail, the establishment of a state-designated Cultural District is a versatile way to ensure economic growth.”

Mass Cultural Council now supports 50 state-designated Cultural Districts from the Berkshires to Bristol County. A geographic balance in the location of state-designated Cultural Districts exists, as they are in the Berkshires, the Pioneer Valley, Worcester County, MetroWest, Metro Boston, North of Boston, Southern Mass., and the Cape and Islands.

“Simply by viewing a map of Massachusetts’ state-designated Cultural Districts one can see the power of culture working in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Walker.

The Council was originally scheduled to vote on this proposal in March at a business meeting to be held at The Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River. That meeting was postponed due to COVID-related social distancing measures. Today’s Council meeting took place online; however, it was important to approve the designation before the end of the month so Fall River Waterfront Cultural District would be eligible to receive its FY20 grant of $5,000.

Mass Cultural Council will visit Fall River and convene a celebratory reception for the Fall River Waterfront Cultural District with City leaders, C.A.N., and other cultural organizations and creative individuals in the future when public events are deemed safe for all.

Back to Top