Flavia Montenegro-Menezes of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning and Jean Forward of the Anthropology Department are among 11 UMass system faculty awarded $259,900 from the President’s Creative Economy Initiatives Fund.
Announced July 23 by President Robert L. Caret, the grants support projects that promote the arts, culture and other creative enterprises in Massachusetts.
Montenegro-Menezes received $27,000 for her project, “Participatory Asset Mapping: Sustainable Planning and Development in Holyoke,” which will develop a tested and transferable approach to integrating locally unique cultural assets into urban and regional planning. Beyond the immediate benefits to Holyoke, the broader goal is to demonstrate how cultural asset mapping can enhance the planning process while better integrating community strengths and concerns.
Forward was awarded $24,000 to work with Native American tribal communities in the state to establish a Massachusetts Native American Trail. The project will allow Native American communities to present their history, heritage and contemporary culture largely in their own words.
“The Creative Economy Initiatives Fund underscores the University’s commitment to enhancing the social and cultural fabric of Massachusetts,” said Caret. “These projects add to the quality of life in the Commonwealth and to its attractiveness as a place to live and work.”
The fund, created in 2007, provides seed funding for faculty research and scholarly activities in the arts, humanities, and social sciences as a way to strengthen and expand the creative and cultural resources of the Commonwealth. In its seven years of existence, the fund has made 65 awards totaling more than $1.8 million. It has supported the preservation of the W.E.B. Du Bois boyhood home in Great Barrington and established the Lowell Youth Orchestra and a permanent Jack Kerouac education and tourism site in Lowell. It also has supported the creation of a women artisans cooperative in New Bedford and a workers upholstery co-op in Springfield, and sponsored numerous dance and theatre performances in Boston and Amherst.
Photos: Flavia Montenegro-Menezes (left) and Jean Forward