OUR VIEW: ArtWorks Saw City's Creative Future

New Bedford Standard-Times Editorial
Fifteen years ago, few in New Bedford would have looked at the empty store fronts and boarded-up windows and seen a bright future for the city.
But some did. In the empty mills they envisioned a place for studio and performing artists to live and work. They saw a city that would be transformed by the creative impulse of a new generation of citizens.
They created ArtWorks and helped artists gain a foothold in this historic old waterfront city, helping to transform it with creativity and innovation that will produce a population better able to tap into its collective talents.
The story is not unique to New Bedford. At a celebration of ArtWorks’ 15th anniversary last week, cultural and community leaders learned about how the creative economy — by far the fastest-growing sector of the economy — had transformed older cities like North Adams (13 factory closings before the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art was opened there) and Pawtucket and Providence, R.I.
And New Bedford is beginning to see the results of its own efforts. State Sen. Mark C.W. Montigny, who successfully pushed the renovation of the old Star Store into a downtown classroom building for UMass Dartmouth and Bristol Community College, said the city’s “renaissance is midstream,” even in the midst of an economic slowdown and a home foreclosure crisis.
New Bedford, along with the rest of communities in SouthCoast, will need to re-emphasize arts education in its classrooms to ensure that the value of this exciting cultural and economic shift is sustainable in the future.
For now, though, it is good to celebrate the efforts of those who believed first in what the future could hold here.
September 21, 2008
Source URL: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080921/OPINION/809210314/-1/NEWS01

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