Creative Economy: Harnessing the power of the arts on M.V.

Vineyard Haven was named a "Top Small Town ArtPlace" by the organization that will speak on October 1. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The Creative Economy Speaker Series, sponsored by Arts Martha’s Vineyard, begins Tuesday, October 21, at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown. Arts Martha’s Vineyard is an organization devoted to fostering the Island arts industry by encouraging cultural tourism and facilitating the collaboration and marketing of arts-related businesses. Every October, they sponsor Fall For the Arts, a Cape and Islands celebration of “local artists, artisans, and culture.”

Now in its second year, the Creative Economy series has invited guests — from as near as the Cape and as far as Chicago — to discuss the business of local arts, plus its place in tourism and the media. Guests to the talks, which will run every Tuesday in October from 11:30 am to 1 pm, are invited to bring a bag lunch to enjoy during the lectures. Coffee and water will be provided, and admission is free.

Oct. 1

Lyz Crane from ArtPlace will start the series with a talk on making small towns into centers of creativity. Her organization, ArtPlace, which is a collaboration of national and regional foundations, federal agencies (including the National Endowment for the Arts), and six of the country’s largest banks, strives to accelerate “creative placemaking” in locales across the country. In April, ArtPlace selected Vineyard Haven as one of “America’s Top Small Town ArtPlaces.” An ArtPlace, according to a press release, recognizes towns “where arts are central to creating the kinds of places where people want to live, work, and visit.”

Oct. 8

Week two of the series will be a discussion of Island media, moderated by a member of the Arts Martha’s Vineyard Steering Committee. Topics will include local media’s relationship with Island arts and culture, and ways to improve coverage of arts-related events. The goal is for media coverage to increase critical conversations about the arts on Martha’s Vineyard.

Oct. 15

On October 15, Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, will speak. A press release reports that Ms. Wall “will present a state-level perspective on the role that arts and culture and creative economy play in Massachusetts tourism and economic development.”

Oct. 22

Two speakers, director of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce Wendy Northcross, and Tom Lynch, town administrator of Barnstable, will discuss creative economy on the regional scale. The duo will describe the approach to arts and culture on the Cape and suggest what Martha’s Vineyard can do to build its identity as an arts destination.

Oct. 29

The speaker series concludes on October 29, with Helena Fruscio, Creative Economy Industry director for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Economic Development. Like Ms. Wall, Ms. Fruscio will offer a state perspective on the creative economy and her work to build this model of industry.

For more information on the Creative Economy Speaker Series and Arts Martha’s Vineyard, contact Jackie Harris at 570-335-7066;