Franklin County’s already vibrant creative economy is getting a big boost thanks to Fostering Art and Culture Projects supported by federal and state funding.
The Fostering Art and Culture Project (FACP) recognizes that art and culture enhance the lives of all area residents and visitors and supports the work of area artists, non-profit art organizations, and art-related businesses. After doing behind-the-scenes work for a few years gathering information about the local creative economy, FACP is this year sponsoring five pilot projects across the county, updating its website, and conducting research into the many formal and informal ways that artists in the county support themselves and each other. The funding comes from two congressionally-directed federal sources, thanks to the work of Congressman John W. Olver (D-Amherst) – $167,000 from the US Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) to support marketing projects, and $30,000 from the US Department of Transportation Massachusetts Regional Traveler Information Center (RTIC)
to support website enhancement – and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Adams Grant for $48,000 to support implementation of the pilot projects.
FACP has hired several experienced area professionals to implement its projects. FACP’s staff includes: Project Coordinator Becky George who focuses on networking and organizing events, Lisa Davol whose work focuses on website development and producing a newsletter, and Amy Shapiro who manages the evaluation of the Partnership’s projects. In addition, Leo Hwang-Carlos from Greenfield Community College continues as the project chair, and Chris Pappas from Open the Door marketing has been retained as a consultant. Each of the staff bring extensive skills and vision from their work with Franklin County organizations. Becky George is the Greenfield Business Association Coordinator and Marketing & Membership Director for Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Davol is the director of the Turners Falls RiverCulture Project, and Amy Shapiro is the Business Assistance Director of the Franklin County Community Development Corporation. Leo Hwang-Carlos is the Associate Dean of Humanities at GCC, and is integrating research into the creative economy of Franklin County into his doctoral work at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.