Tisbury receives designation for Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District

Proudly exhibiting the new Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District sign are, from left, Martha's Vineyard Commission planner Christine Flynn; Tisbury selectmen Tristan Israel, Jon Snyder, and Melinda Loberg; and Vineyard Playhouse artistic and executive director MJ Bruder Munafo. — Photo by Janet Hefler

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) recently approved the designation of the Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District. Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande announced the news at the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night and presented the selectmen with a new sign provided by the MCC.

The designation is part of a state-wide program the MCC launched in April 2011. Arts Martha’s Vineyard (formerly the Martha’s Vineyard Arts and Culture Collaborative), spearheaded the local cultural district initiative.

Selectman chairman Jon Snyder thanked Martha’s Vineyard Commission planner Christine Flynn and Vineyard Playhouse artistic and executive director MJ Bruder Munafo, who were instrumental in the district’s designation, for all of their hard work.

Ms. Flynn said the process took about a year and a half. Over the last several months, the cultural district’s organizers put together the application, created a map, put together a business inventory, and held several public hearings.

The Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District links institutions like the Vineyard Playhouse, the Bunch of Grapes bookstore, the Vineyard Haven Library and the MV Film Center together with art galleries and local arts-related businesses into one unified area.

“We feel very fortunate to have the leadership of the board of selectmen, who provided their support,” Ms. Flynn said. “This has been a great cooperative effort between the public and private and nonprofit sectors, and a great partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which has done a lot to invest in Vineyard Haven as well as the Island.”

The Vineyard Haven Cultural District will have a searchable online presence among other designated districts on state-sponsored websites and be included in marketing materials.

“We look forward to working with the Massachusetts Cultural Council and continuing our partnership,” Ms. Flynn said.