For additional information, please contact:
Director of Economic Development, 1Berkshire
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1Berkshire, Assets for Artists & Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Launch Creative Economy COVID-19 Impact Survey
October 7, 2020 – Berkshire County, MA – 1Berkshire, MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program, and Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation are seeking information from the leadership of creative economy institutions, businesses, and organizations, as well as from individual artists and creatives in the Berkshires. This effort aims to focus on the specific trends, challenges, needs, and opportunities related to the creative economy in the Berkshires, and also to help inform further strategic actions to support and bolster this core sector of our regional economic landscape.
Benjamin Lamb, director of economic development at 1Berkshire, stated, “As we look at how the region moves through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now working to build in a new layer of our Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 that directly addresses the new, emergent, and highlighted needs raised through the pandemic.” He continued: “With so much of our economy being driven by the Creative Cluster outlined in our Blueprint, we really need to know what is being experienced at all levels within the creative economy so we can address those needs in a robust way collectively.”
Organizations involved in this partnership have been addressing the needs of the creative economy for years, but through the COVID-19 pandemic it became clear that collaborating on a robust data collection process would be key to strategic action going forward. These efforts include but are not limited to informing a COVID-19 addendum to the Berkshire Blueprint 2.0, targeted advocacy to state and national organizations, and tactical work with key stakeholders in the region to build the necessary physical and organizational infrastructure to support the Creative Economy and community engagement through the arts in the region.
Blair Benjamin, director of Assets for Artists, noted, “We know that artists and creative businesses have been among the hardest hit by this financial and public health crisis, but current data, and actual stories, will help us make the case in Boston for continued investment in arts businesses at this critical time, and will help economic development leaders to formulate new strategies to re-strengthen this important sector of the Berkshire economy.”
From individual artists to cornerstone creative and cultural institutions, this survey aims to collect meaningful information across the spectrum of participants in the Creative Cluster. The information garnered will be distilled and included in a new Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 COVID-19 Addendum, and will also be used by the partnering organizations to take tactical actions and approaches that support this sector in our region.
Peter Taylor, president of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, stated, “Our region’s abundant arts and cultural activities and organizations drive tourism, boost the economy and strengthen community engagement. We encourage all the nonprofits, arts-related businesses and self-employed workers who form the powerful engine of our creative economy to make their voices heard and help chart a path forward by completing this survey.”
This survey is currently live and accepting responses. The organizations ask that participants complete the survey by Friday, Oct. 16, so that they can begin using the information as soon as possible. The survey should take between 7-10 minutes to complete. To access the survey, please go to https://forms.gle/1zrbgoosJzQmCZSG8 and for more information or questions, contact the 1Berkshire Economic Development team at EconomicDev@1berkshire.com.
1Berkshire is a county-wide organization focused on economic development and promotion of the region as a preferred place to visit, to live, and to grow a business. It provides programs that connect businesses with each other and with potential customers and works to develop future leaders and support entrepreneurs. For more information, visit 1Berkshire.com.
About Assets for Artists
Assets for Artists is a program of MASS MoCA dedicated to helping artists in all disciplines strengthen their financial and business capacity to sustain a lifetime of creative excellence. Learn more at www.assetsforartists.org.
About Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
For more than 30 years, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has strengthened communities through philanthropy and leadership in northwest Litchfield County, Conn.; Berkshire County, Mass.; and Columbia County and northeast Dutchess County, N.Y. A nonprofit public charity with over 550 individual funds, the foundation has distributed over $170 million across the region through grants and scholarships to nonprofits and individuals. Learn more at www.berkshiretaconic.org.