AHA! Awarded $32,000 from Mass. Cultural Council

GateHouse News Service
The AHA! Night 2nd Thursday free Arts and Culture Program in downtown New Bedford has been awarded $32,000 from the Mass. Cultural Council Adams Program for the fifth consecutive year of funding.
AHA! (art history architecture), a fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, is one of 27 programs statewide that will receive a total of $700,000 in MCC grants to stimulate new economic activity, create jobs, and revitalize communities through arts and cultural projects.
“The MCC is a tremendous partner with the City of New Bedford,” said Mayor Scott W. Lang. “They have been extremely supportive in their joint funding of the AHA! program and have been intricately involved in promoting the creative economy in New Bedford.”
“It is particularly exciting to have been chosen from among a large pool of candidates throughout the commonwealth,” said Karie C. Vincent, AHA! Steering Committee chairwoman. “AHA! continues to be a tribute to the heart and soul of New Bedford, its people and businesses.”
Adams-funded projects leverage the assets of the creative economy in Massachusetts communities to generate real income. Adams grants fuel a creative sector that has a $4.2 billion total impact on the state’s economy and provides more than 109,000 jobs, according to the MCC.
“AHA! is honored to have the collaborative work of our 61 partners recognized and supported,” said AHA! Director Lee Heald. “There has been such focus over the past 10 years on generating a vibrant downtown economy and reconstituting Main Street with cultural assets, entrepreneurs and visionaries.”
Other projects receiving Adams Grants this year include the Pioneer Valley’s Museums 10, a cross-promotional effort by seven college museums and galleries and three independent museums in the region; and the Cambridge Science Festival, a project of the MIT Museum that attracts 30,000 annually to the Greater Boston area, and estimates annual visitor spending at $652,000.
“The creative sector is a proven engine for economic development and revitalization,” said Anita Walker, the MCC’s executive director. “This year’s Adams grants will generate real dollars for these communities at a time when innovative strategies to produce wealth and create jobs are sorely needed.”
AHA! is in its 11th year of hosting the free 2nd Thursday arts and culture nights every month. The cooperative venture has expanded from 14 partner organizations at its inception in 1999 to 61 partners today. In 2009, AHA! leveraged $14 for every dollar invested by the state with a total local economic impact of $483,427, according to a study by the UMass Center for Policy Analysis.
AHA! is funded in part by the City of New Bedford, the Mass Cultural Council, the Island Foundation, local business community sponsorships, and partner venue dues. AHA! is a collaborative project of The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. For a full schedule and list of events, go to www.ahanewbedford.org or call 508-996-8253, Ext. 205.
February 17, 2010
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