Attending this event?


Inspire. Connect. Empower.

Join us at the free, inaugural Mass Cultural Council Institute on March 17 at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Connect with peers and city and town leadership from every corner of the Commonwealth.

Together we’ll unleash The Power of Culture.

The DCU Center is physically accessible, and the 10am session will be open captioned. We welcome people of all abilities. Please let us know if there are accommodations we can provide.  


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Saturday, March 17


Coffee and Breakfast
Saturday March 17, 2018 9:15am - 10:00am
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Registration/Networking/Resource Fair
Saturday March 17, 2018 9:15am - 10:00am
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Unleashing the Power of Culture, with Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Mass Cultural Council
Saturday March 17, 2018 10:00am - 10:30am
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


All Together Now!
Diversity, equity, inclusion. We use these words as we strive to become more diverse, yet many leaders are uncertain about the steps needed to turn dialogue – and intention – into action. There has never been a more relevant time to think about our efforts. We want to get it right, but how? The desire to increase diversity can translate into the reality of an environment that enables people of different backgrounds to succeed, and varied, mission-advancing perspectives to be heard. This session will highlight information and tools to help leaders make the changes that will lead to more diverse, inclusive, and equitable communities.

avatar for Charles G. Baldwin

Charles G. Baldwin

Program Officer, UP, Mass Cultural Council
Charles G. Baldwin is the Program Officer for the Mass Cultural Council’s Universal Participation (UP) Initiative, which provides resources for organizations seeking to develop inclusive and equitable tools for policy development and community engagement. For 15 years Charles w... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Cole

Jennifer Cole

Executive Director, MetroArts
Jennifer Gilligan Cole is the Executive Director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission where she leads the city’s efforts in art, culture and creative economy. She has over 20 years of experience in organizational leadership and change management.Nationally, Cole serves as a b... Read More →
avatar for David Howse

David Howse

Executive Director, ArtsEmerson
David C. Howse is a recognized speaker and commentator on the arts and socialintegration, and for over a decade has been a leader in the nonprofit arts andculture sector. In his role as Associate Vice President of the Office of the Arts atEmerson College and Executive Director of... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 10:45am - 11:45am
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Artists as Partners
That creative hum you hear in the background in every city and town in the Commonwealth? It's an artist at work. Forging partnerships with artists in your community is integral in championing and investing in cultural experiences that enrich people's lives. Equitable partnerships that increase understanding of how to work together, tackle stereotypical thinking, take creative risks and trust that the results will be more than you hoped for.

avatar for Laura Baring-Gould

Laura Baring-Gould

Sculptor Laura Baring-Gould creates large-scale public sculptures, epic ephemeral installations, and small intimate objects that create wonder in the palm of a hand. A love of universal shapes, as well as a fascination with elemental materials that include bronze, honey, salt, beeswax, paper, water, copper and light form the common bond within her projects. Her projects have been sponsored by the National Park Service, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the DeCordova Museum... Read More →
avatar for Leslie Ferrin

Leslie Ferrin

Owner and Director, Ferrin Contemporary
avatar for Cherie Mittenthal

Cherie Mittenthal

Executive Artistic Director, Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill
Cherie Mittenthal received her MFA from the State University of New York, Purchase College and a BFA from the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford. She has been the Executive Director of Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill since 2002 and last year became the Exe... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 10:45am - 11:45am
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Breaking into City Hall
Where do I go to get the permit for my public event? Who should I contact to invite the select board to an event? Does the Mayor know what we are doing? Working with municipalities to help move your cultural agenda along can be difficult, but knowing the right approach and who to talk to can make a world of difference. This session will give you tips and tools to better navigate City/Town Hall, and get you working more collaboratively with your municipal officials.

Saturday March 17, 2018 10:45am - 11:45am
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Telling Your Story and Making it Count
Who knew? Your city/town has so much to share with the world. It is rich with arts, culture and history, but how do you let people know? The power of evaluation is key to unlocking these treasures. Counting, surveying, and researching will give you the tools you need to tell your story, increase public awareness and empower your community to celebrate its uniqueness. This session will help you identify the necessary information you need to tell your story and promote your city/town.

avatar for Pacey Foster

Pacey Foster

Associate Professor, Management, UMass Boston
Pacey Foster is Associate Professor of Management at UMass Boston. He received his Ph.D. from the Wallace E. Carroll School of Management at Boston College and his research focuses on social networks, and economic and regional dynamics in the creative economy. In 2016, Professor... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 10:45am - 11:45am
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


What's Your Agenda?
Have a cultural plan? An arts agenda? What is the vision of your municipality? Having an agenda for arts and culture planning helps support the cultural sector in your community. It deliberately includes arts and culture programming in the strategic plan for a community and gives it a level playing field. This session will talk about the creation of cultural plans, and how cities and towns have developed and rolled out these plans to benefit their communities, both economically and creatively.

avatar for Julie Burros

Julie Burros

Chief of Arts and Culture, City of Boston
Julie Burros is the Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston, a cabinet level position reporting directly to Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The Arts Cabinet includes the Boston Public Library and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. She leads Boston Creates, the cultural pla... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Raitt

Jennifer Raitt

Director, Planning and Community Development, Town of Arlington
Jennifer Raitt is the Director of Planning and Community Development for the Town of Arlington. For the past 22 years, she has worked in the fields of Housing, Community Development, and Planning to advance a range of initiatives from creating affordable housing in urban and subu... Read More →
avatar for Erin Williams

Erin Williams

Cultural Development Officer, City of Worcester
Erin Williams is a playwright, theater director, dramaturge, Cultural Development Officer for the City of Worcester and Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition. The Coalition is a unique public private partnership which shines a spotlight on the creative activity p... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 10:45am - 11:45am
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Saturday March 17, 2018 12:00pm - 1:00pm
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Regional Meet & Greet
Come meet others working in the cultural sector in your area. Network and share information, find out what your colleagues and peers are doing in neighboring communities, partner on programming, share resources and come away ideas on future connections and collaborations.

Saturday March 17, 2018 1:15pm - 1:45pm
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


A Sense of Place
A sense of place describes our relationship with places, expressed in different dimensions of human life: emotions, biographies, imagination, stories, and personal experiences. All of us have a place we call home, a place we work, places that we have memories of--a community. When arts and culture are at the center of placemaking, we create community.

avatar for Jennifer Audley

Jennifer Audley

Chair, Montague Cultural Council
The welcoming and enthusiastic arts community in Turners Falls inspired Jen Audley to put down roots in Franklin County a decade ago. She came to Western Mass from Cambridge, where she'd organized neighborhood block parties, pursued interests in art-making and local history, and... Read More →
avatar for Aviva Kapust

Aviva Kapust

Executive Director, Village of Arts and Humanities
Aviva Kapust is the Executive Director of the Village of Arts and Humanities (the Village), a multifaceted organization dedicated to community revitalization through the arts. Kapust joined the Village in 2010 as programs director, and previously worked as an art director and cre... Read More →
avatar for Giles Li

Giles Li

Executive Director, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
Giles Li is the Executive Director of Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC), a family-centered social service agency with locations in Boston and Quincy.Giles was named the winner of the statewide 2017 Excellence in Leadership award from the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 1:45pm - 2:45pm
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Amplifying Youth Voices
Our youth have tremendous capacity to be a visible and audible part of developing safe and thriving communities throughout the Commonwealth. Are you tapped into young people? Are they included in the decisions you make about programs that are designed to serve them? Join this session, moderated by the outspoken and wonderful literary performer Regie Gibson, to find out more about organizations that are youth-led, including youth members of a local cultural council. We all have a voice. How we use it is what matters.

avatar for Tal Dassau

Tal Dassau

Youth Member, Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council
Tal Dassau is a sophomore at Acton-Boxborough Regional High school. She enjoys computer programming, reading, and writing. For her young age she has achieved a multitude of accomplishments in academics and sports. Academically, Tal has earned high honor roll consistently for the... Read More →
avatar for Natalie Dawn

Natalie Dawn

Youth Member, Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council
Natalie Dawn is a sophomore at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School and is a youth member of the Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council. She is part of her high school’s yearbook club and the InterAct club. In her free time, Natalie enjoys reading, gardening, and cooking. She also... Read More →
avatar for Regie Gibson

Regie Gibson

Literary Performer
Literary performer Regie Gibson has lectured and performed widely in the U.S., Cuba & Europe. Regie has performed with and composed texts for the Boston City Singers, the Mystic Chorale and the Handel+Haydn Society. He’s been published in Poetry Magazine, Harvard’s Divinity M... Read More →
avatar for Dawry Ruiz

Dawry Ruiz

Independent Artist; Youth Member, ZUMIX
Dawry Ruiz is a local Boston artist who uses the mediums of rapping, spoken word poetry, filmmaking, and photography. He uses his experiences of being a person of color in America and his ideas of going against the grain as inspiration for his art. He has previously interned in C... Read More →
avatar for Madeleine Steczynski

Madeleine Steczynski

Co-Founder and Executive Director, ZUMIX
Madeleine Steczynski founded ZUMIX in her home in 1991, engaging young people in music and creative technology, and giving them safe space to escape escalating city violence. Together with teen council, staff, and board, she has grown ZUMIX from a kitchen table project into a vit... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 1:45pm - 2:45pm
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Building on a Foundation
You have ideas, an agenda, and a plan. Now you need to focus on how this work becomes a visible part of your communities’ everyday experience, not just for now, but for years to come. What does it take to develop, grow and maintain an arts and cultural agenda over time? Hear from people doing this work who believe in the remarkable community social and economic benefits of arts and culture. This session gets to the heart of sustaining an arts agenda, and will help you think more tactically and broadly about who to collaborate with in your community to achieve your goals.

avatar for Gary Roberts

Gary Roberts

Chair, Medford Arts Council
Gary Roberts is a higher education administrator and an active volunteer for several arts and cultural organizations in the Boston-area. He currently works at the MIT Sloan School of Management as the Director of Faculty and Research Services. Gary has served as the chair of the... Read More →
avatar for Margo Saulnier

Margo Saulnier

Arts & Culture Strategist, City of New Bedford
Margo Saulnier is an experienced creative professional and educator who is committed to making arts accessible to all. She is currently the Arts and Culture Strategist for the City of New Bedford and a lecturer in the Music Department at Northeastern University's College of Arts... Read More →
avatar for Laura Zabel

Laura Zabel

Executive Director, Springboard for the Arts
Laura Zabel is the Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts, which operates Creative Exchange, a national platform for sharing free toolkits, resources, and profiles to help artists and citizens collaborate on replicating successful and engaging community projects. An econo... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 1:45pm - 2:45pm
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


It’s About People!
Organizations large and small go through growing pains, and managing the process can be overwhelming. Transitions and partnerships are key components to the success and sustainability of organizations. This session will give you practical information on how to manage transitions, create a plan and communicate that plan to the necessary parties to ensure a smooth hand-off.

avatar for Meri Jenkins

Meri Jenkins

Manager, Cultural Districts Initiative, Mass Cultural Council
Meri Jenkins is Manager of the Massachusetts Cultural Districts Initiative, and co-Manager of the Community Initiative, programs of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the state arts agency. The programs are designed to promote the use of cultural assets in economic and community... Read More →
avatar for Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D.

Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción
Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D., is the CEO of IBA-Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, a community development corporation dedicated to empowering and engaging individuals and families to improve their lives through high-quality affordable housing, education, and arts programs.  Through her leadership, IBA has become the largest Latino-led nonprofit organization in Greater Boston.In 2009, Dr. Calderón-Rosado was selected for the prestigious Barr Foundation Fellowship... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 1:45pm - 2:45pm
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Lights, Camera, Action!
Are you longing for the spotlight? Acting your heart out and still not getting attention? Attend this session to understand how to create the impact you intend, make people sit up and take notice, and take action to support your work. Reframe your approach, rethink your tactics, and leave feeling refreshed.

avatar for Jose Nieto

Jose Nieto

Creative Director, ThinkArgus
Jose leads creative development at ThinkArgus, with a focus on branding, art direction, and content creation. Before joining ThinkArgus, Jose was principal of SquareZero, an award-winning graphic design studio specializing on cultural, publishing, and education clients, and princ... Read More →

Saturday March 17, 2018 1:45pm - 2:45pm
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States


Closing Session
You’ve spent the day at the Institute, come share highlights and discuss what the next chapter will be once you flex the Power of Culture in your community.

Saturday March 17, 2018 3:00pm - 3:30pm
DCU Center 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608, United States