Thank you all for participating in the Mass Cultural Council Institute – Unleashing the Power of Culture - on March 17th. Five hundred of you came from cities and towns across the state to meet your colleagues, learn from others and understand your importance as an economic driver in your communities. What incredible energy you brought with you and we here at the Mass Cultural Council are so inspired by the work that you are doing day in and day out to weave the Power of Culture into the fabric of your communities. Thank You!


avatar for Meri Jenkins

Meri Jenkins

Mass Cultural Council
Manager, Cultural Districts Initiative

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 development efforts in communities throughout the Commonwealth. Jenkins has worked at the Council since 2000, and was the architect of the Massachusetts Cultural Districts Initiative. She has cultivated numerous dialogues among diverse stakeholders on the topics of creative place-making, sector capacity, and cultural tourism; developed educational programs, symposium, and conferences; and designed technical assistance initiatives to support the development of the field. During her tenure at the Council and as Manager of the Adams Arts Program, she has had responsibility for the dispersal of $13 million in grant awards to more than 100 projects involving 1200 organizations. Since 2011, she has cultivated 43 cultural districts from inception to state designation. Prior to moving to the United States in 1999, Jenkins was the Principal Manager of Business in the Arts South UK - an organization that developed mutually beneficial relationships between the commercial and cultural sectors, and has 30 years of experience managing a variety of cultural organizations both in the United States and in the United Kingdom. A through line in all her work has been to reach under-served populations. She believes that government - be it federal, state or local - support for cultural organizations, artists and entrepreneurs is an investment that enables access for all, improves quality of life, allows for economic growth, and has far reaching consequences for the well-being of a community. A visual and theatre artist, Jenkins brings an empathetic approach and a deep understanding of what it means to be in the creative life to her work.