Worcester PopUP: WCC was fortunate to receive a $1.1 million grant for the build out of the Worcester Popup and Black Box performance venue at 20 Franklin Street from the Barr Foundation to whom we are most grateful. The Worcester PopUp is estimated to re-open in the Spring of 2018 and the performance space in 2019.
Salisbury Cultural District: A marketing communications campaign which focused on digital media channels was implemented: a Facebook page was created and unique website launched. A three minute “animatic” of still images streams on the SCD website. Collaborative cultural programming included a Bach Festival in 5 venues throughout the district.
The Worcester Arts Council awarded a total of $106,690 in Local Cultural Council funding to 44 Worcester area artists, organizations, and educational institutions. The 2017 allocation includes two $5,000 Artist Fellowships, awarded to individuals to assist in the funding of their endeavors in the arts, humanities and interpretative sciences. The 2017 WAC Fellows are artist Mark Thomas of Urban Revival BlaQ Ink’D and Ceramic Assemblage artist Jill Watts.
Special Events: City Manager Augustus challenged City staff to create and produce 100 events on the Worcester Common before the end of 2017 with the launch of the #Worcester100 campaign. Cultural programming included Let’s Dance: free dance classes featuring: Salsa Irish, Line and Hip-Hop. The annual Out to Lunch Concert Series and Farmers Market (10 events) displayed the most diverse program of musicians, performers, artisans, and food vendors; Worcester Shakespeare Company and The National Theater of Ghana; Films on the Common attracted hundreds of family friendly audiences; Fall Fest, Make Music Day, and Festival of Lights for skating, food trucks, WPS choruses and the evening’s sideshow performers. The #Worcester100 goal was reached in October 2017.
Public Art: The Worcester Public Art Working Group who is made up of artists and arts activists that support public art initiatives in the City of Worcester hosted a Town Hall meeting which resulted in an interest for: more artist work/live/retail space, public art and funding for artists. PAWG also assisted in the call and selection process of artists and works for the City of Worcester’s Blackstone Gateway Park installations. The Cultural Development Department/WCC are currently working with the city’s Planning and Public Works Department to incorporate art into the city’s streetscape as part of the City of Worcester’s Main Street Re Imagined project. The redesign will embed public art into the reconstruction of Main Street Worcester. WCC hired, Urban Culture Institute to oversee the art design.
Worcester Wayfinding: is a city-wide signage and navigational system incorporating public art, and digital storytelling. Design plans are complete. Installation begins in the spring of 2018. The comprehensive system will include over a dozen unique pieces of public art and, exclusive to Worcester, a digital application allowing users to create trails that define their favorite routes of the city. This crowdsourcing initiative will highlight some of Worcester’s favorite spots while introducing users to parts of the city they have yet to explore.
• Education Committee: WCC in partnership with the Worcester Public Schools and Worcester Educational Development Fund has procured another round of funding from the George I. Alden Trust and additional funds from the Stoddard Foundation to support Culture LEAPS, which are full-grade comprehensive, curriculum-based experiences for students and staff. The partnership was successful in increasing the number of LEAPS from 7-9.
• MASS Creative: an advocacy organization promoting the support of the arts, science and humanities, worked to secure increased funding for the MA Cultural Council and continued funding of the MA Cultural Facilities Fund. Erin Williams as Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition and Troy Siebels represent Central Massachusetts and serve on the board of directors.
• Americans for the Arts and Economic Prosperity Survey5: Results demonstrated that Greater Worcester’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $125.7 million in economic activity and supports 4,062 jobs annually. The survey results show that nonprofit arts and culture organizations spent $64.5 million during fiscal year 2015. Those dollars, in turn, generated $46,052,000 in household income for local residents, $ 3,107,000 in local government revenue and $2,579,000 in state government revenue.
Promoting Arts and Culture
Social Media: WCC maintains very active Social Media campaigns with accounts growing daily, adding new friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The accounts reach an estimated 16,566 with the majority of the demographic representing women age 25-34 followed by women age 35-44. An estimated 1,200 social media posts were created in FY17 to promote the many events and initiatives of the WCC members.
Media Plugs: WCC oversees monthly unique marketing plugs on a variety of outlets including print, radio, local television, and online – with an approximate combined estimated cash value of $116,000. Marketing outlets include: WBUR, NEPR, WNNZ, WICN, WCUW, WCRN, Unity, Go Local Worcester, and Charter TV3. All WCC member organizations through the WCC’s multi-faceted marketing strategies.
Website: WorcesterMass.org attracted 249,877 unique visitors with 5,605,093 page views in FY17. Worcester Culture Coalition home page attracted 38,315 unique page views, affirming the site’s status as a reliable, comprehensive source for cultural happenings in the greater Worcester area. Entry to the WCC website through outside referring sites made up significant amount visitors with top percentage referred from Google search engine, followed by Bing, and Social Web. In FY17 the WCC initiated a complete redesign of the website. The new website scheduled to launch in 2018 will feature a fresh bold design, a new WCC calendar powered by Discover Central MA, a WCC member portal, and a one stop shop for all things arts & culture here in Worcester.
Newsletter: WCC publishes a popular bi-weekly e-newsletter, Arts & Culture Connection, with a distribution of over 35,505 subscribers with an additional 2,659 contacts added in FY17.
WCC is funded in part by: WCC Membership, City of Worcester, The Barr Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council: Adams Arts Program, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, George I. Alden Trust and Stoddard Foundation. In FY17 the Worcester Cultural Coalition officially incorporated as a 501-c3 organization. As a powerful voice for arts & culture in the region, the WCC is proud to serve 70 plus member organizations.