State names Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District

Photo by Tony Omer

It’s official. The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) has designated the downtown area of Tisbury as the Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District. The designation means that Tisbury will be included in MCC lists and the town may use the designation in promotions.

“Because Vineyard Haven is the year-round gateway to the Island, establishing a cultural district is a way of telling everyone who leaves the ferry that they are coming to a special place, a place that celebrates arts and culture. It’s pretty exciting,” Nancy Gardella, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, said prior to Tuesday’s vote. Christine Flynn, a Martha’s Vineyard Commission staffer who headed up the application,  and MJ Bruder Munafo, executive artistic director of the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, represented the Vineyard Haven district at the MCC meeting. Ms. Munafo hosted a tour of the area for MCC representatives last month as part of the application process.

The application included the following description of the district: “There are 220 businesses in the districts, of which 41 are creative economy. Among them are 22 cultural organizations, four interior designers, six architectural firms, and two shipbuilders. More than 40 artists live and work in the town.”

“The cultural district initiative encourages Massachusetts communities to strengthen a sense of place,” according the  MCC website, “while stimulating economic activity, improving the experiences of visitors to our communities, and creating a higher quality of life. For more information, go to