The Office of External Relations is a proud member of the recently launched Amherst Center Cultural District. The district, which overlays a majority of the Amherst Business Improvement District, includes many local cultural treasures, including the Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst History Museum, Amherst Cinema, and the Jones Library. The cultural district designation was made in a May vote by the board of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Amherst is one of 34-state designated cultural districts.
The designation allows Amherst access to state resources, including statewide and national marketing opportunities, programs for developing cultural economic development strategies, and cultural facilities planning and construction.
Given the advantages of being a college town, Amherst was a natural fit for a cultural district designation. On average over 500,000 people annually visit the the institutions listed above. With the partnership of Amherst's cultural attractions outside of the district, that number nearly doubles. Arts and culture are and have been a significant economic driver to the town. With increased focus on marketing and arts-related events within the district, the Amherst Center Cultural District can go a long way toward positioning ourselves as a regional arts destination.
Our office hopes to contribute to a vibrant district by creating pathways for our faculty, staff, and students to participate in off-campus cultural activity. While there have been many instances of town-gown collaboration in the form of art exhibitions and concerts, we'd like to help to see those efforts grow and supplement an already rich calendar of events. Some of these ideas are being explored at our UTAC Culture, Arts & Living subcommittee - the Art Bridge and XTCA exhibitions are examples - which will be sure to partner with the Cultural District over the coming months and years.