New Bedford receives $550,000 under new arts and economic development program
December 14, 2020 : The Standard-Times
New Bedford will be the first city to receive state funding as part of a new, multiyear program aiming to build sustainable arts infrastructure and support economic growth in gateway cities across the commonwealth.
TDI Creative Cities, the new program under MassDevelopment's Transformative Development Initiative (TDI), will direct $550,000 to New Bedford from 2021 to 2022 to support local arts and culture partnerships.
TDI, a program that launched in 2015, was created to engage partners and community members to implement local economic development initiatives and spur public and private investment. New Bedford was designated as a TDI district from 2015 to 2019.
“Our vibrant arts and culture scene has long been a driver of growth in our city, and expansion of that landscape will support economic development in the city while enhancing quality of life for all our residents," said Mayor Jon Mitchell.
MassDevelopment is the state's finance and development agency that works with businesses, nonprofits and communities to stimulate economic growth. In 2020, the agency financed or managed 341 projects across the state.
Since its launch, TDI facilitated $17.8 million in investments to TDI districts, including New Bedford, according to MassDevelopment.
“Arts and culture are major economic drivers in Massachusetts – particularly in our Gateway Cities, which are home to vibrant neighborhoods, cultural institutions, and creative communities,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss.
In New Bedford, TDI Creative Cities has five "key strategies," according to a press release: provide staff support for the city's key arts and culture leaders; fund local projects that forge partnerships; develop partnerships; train participants to become leaders; and strengthen the city's perception as the home to a "thriving, creative" economy.
The initiative was made possible by a $1.3 million grant from the Barr Foundation.
The New Bedford arts community has received an injection of more than $1 million in recent years, with a large part coming from the Boston-based Barr Foundation and the Barr-Klarman foundation.