Council, Grant Support Creative Economy

By Jen ThomasPrint Story | Email Story
Rep. Daniel Bosley discusses the impact of the creative economy on the Berkshires at a Thursday press conference.
Stockbridge - As part of the continuing cultural renaissance of the county, members of the Berkshire legislature, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and business and community leaders announced Thursday two components to help move the creative economy forward. Held at the Norman Rockwell Museum, the simultaneous announcement of a $100,000 MCC grant and the official formation of the Berkshire Creative Economy Council signals a commitment in the region to expanding and investing in the “creative cluster” - which includes nonprofit institutions, individual artists and commercial businesses that produce and distribute creative products and services. Officials feel this investment in the Berkshires’ creative efforts will stimulate job creation and economic growth. “The key to our economy is innovation and creativity,” said Rep. Daniel Bosley (D-North Adams), the House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “We have a creative economy here and it enriches our lives, makes our lives better because we live out here.And, it’s a great place to be.” The announcements come following a March unveiling of the Berkshire Creative Economy Report, which outlined a strategy for developing and maintaining the Berkshires’ growing creative economy. The co-chairwomen of the Berkshire Creative Economy Project - Ellen Spear, president and CEO of Hancock Shaker Village and Laurie Norton Moffatt, director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum - have created the Council from the project’s steering committee of entrepreneurs, artists and educators from the both profit and nonprofit sectors. The mission of the Berkshire Creative Economy Council (or Berkshire Creative) is to “spark innovative collaborations between artists, designers, cultural institutions and businesses with the goal of stimulating new job growth and economic opportunity in the region.” “The creative economy is about financing and capitalizing on Berkshire County’s unique strengths,” said Norton Moffatt. She said those strengths included the “sheer size and scope of the creative cluster,” the balance of rural beauty with proximity to cities and links to other key industries, like tourism, technology, education. The $100,000 MCC Adams Art Program grant will be used to support the Berkshire Creative’s efforts to stimulate economic development through the advancement of the creative cluster. “You’ve worked relentlessly, creating a vision for this region and I’m hoping this investment will help fuel that vision, make a reality, bring your vision to life,” said Anita Walker, the executive director for the MCC to the residents of Berkshire County. “You are a model for the state and your work is incredibly important for Massachusetts and this region.” Rep. Christopher Speranzo (D-Pittsfield), Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli (D-Lenox) and Sen. Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) attended the press conference. “Art means business in the Berkshires. This was the key finding of the Berkshire Creative Economy Project. Creativity is a core competency and competitive advantage of a vibrant Berkshire economy that is recognized internationally for its creative brand,” said Norton Moffatt. Jen Thomas may be reached via email at jthomas@iberkshires.com or at (413) 663-3384, ext. 23
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Norman Rockwell Museum Celebrates 50th with Founders Day


Norman Rockwell offered to hang his art in the newly rescued Old Corner House in Stockbridge, which would eventually become the first Normal Rockwell Museum.

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum will host Founders Day, welcoming Berkshire County residents for free in celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the opening of The Old Corner House, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 19.

Family and friends of Rosamond Sherwood wanted to honor her memory and her contribution as one of the three Stockbridge women who in 1967 helped rescue the then 200-year-old building that would later become the original Norman Rockwell Museum.

"Rosamond Sherwood, with Norma Ogden and Patricia Deely, led an effort to save this historic building and helped rescue the Old Corner House from demolition in 1967," said Laurie Norton Moffatt, director/CEO of Norman Rockwell Museum. "When the board was looking for programs and exhibitions for the house museum, which would include displays from the Stockbridge Historical Society, Rockwell generously offered, 'Would you like to hang some of my pictures?'"

The doors to the Old Corner House opened for business in May 1969 and a few years later the building originally intended as a home for the Stockbridge Historical Society would become known as the Norman Rockwell Museum.

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