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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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Bay State Receives Arts Grant For Gateway Cities

By Cristina Quinn   |   Thursday, September 15, 2011
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Sept. 15, 2011

BOSTON — Massachusetts cities that don't always get as much attention or investment as Boston are part of a new economic revitalization effort — with the arts at its core.

Boston-based public policy institute MassInc has received a $125,000 grant to explore arts-based growth strategies for Massachusetts' so-called "gateway cities," like Lawrence, Fall River and Springfield.

A map shows Massachusetts' "gateway cities" outside of the Boston Area. (Brookings Institution)

John Schneider is the Executive Vice-President of MassInc. He says bringing the arts into these cities can improve the quality of life in their communities.

"The work that we're doing through this project to really promote the role that arts and culture can have in economic development might help spark some of that that new, creative energy that is needed to think through, 'How can this place be better?' 'How can we grow our economy, how can we rebrand our city? And sort of change the path that we've been on?'" Schneider said.

He cites Lowell and Pittsfield as examples of how cultural events can produce economic activity, such as the Lowell Folk Festival, and Pittsfield's vibrant theatre community.

Pittsfield Mayor Jim Ruberto says arts and culture has helped the city grow over the past several years..

"From an economic standpoint, culture helps create a number of small business opportunities, whether they're retail stores, or whether they're restaurants, and other shops providing services to support its major venues. At the same time, the whole notion of cultural development helps bring a better level of enlightenment to the community," Ruberto said.

Schneider said MassInc will use the grant money for three things, including a public opinion poll to assess the perception of art and its significance in their communities; a summit of civic leaders, entrepreneurs and artists; and ongoing research about the true economic impact artistic efforts have on a community.

"All these cities have these assets that we need to tap into, promote, encourage and nurture. They can generate a different kind of future. We don't even know what that might look like, but we know that in an economy that increasingly puts a premium on creativity and innovation, the arts and cultural institutions of a community are so important to sparking that and promoting that within the city," Schneider said.

Both John Schneider and Mayor Ruberto emphasize that these projects are most successful when the residents are deeply involved and engaged in the process of incorporating the arts into their community.

"Through this kind of programming, people begin to think differently about these communities, and hopefully think more positively. That's another goal that we have, that people begin to see the Gateway Cities as places of opportunities, places that can be fun, places where there are creative things happening, places where people are proud of their cultural heritage," Schneider said.

Although changing public perception of the Gateway Cities — in and outside of the communities will take time, MassInc is confident that the arts is critical to revitalizing the economies of these cities. They hope that Beacon Hill will take notice and share the enthusiasm.

Massachusetts cities that don't always get as much attention or investment as Boston are part of a new economic revitalization effort -- with the arts at its core.

Where You Live: Beverly

By Mickey Coburn   |   Monday, April 4, 2011
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Apr. 4, 2011

For our Where We Live series, WGBH reporters and producers traveled to nine cities and towns looking for stories of economic struggle, renewal and transition throughout Massachusetts. But we know we can't tell the whole story, and that's where you come in. We're asking members of the WGBH community to send us stories, photos or video about the economic changes you see in your town. You can submit your own stories here, and see what else we've collected here.

A dock in Beverly, Mass. Submitted by Mickey Coburn.

"When we moved to Beverly from PA in 1969, we had a city newspaper, Beverly Times; a Marshalls, a Zayres, shoestore in the center of town. The school systems was not terrific but adequate. Very little diversity.

"I was able to open an acting school & little theatre and it thrived. Was gone from the city for a number of years, returning in 2006. Same mayor for eight terms; a plethora of second-hand stores. The terrific medium-size family grocery in downtown is locked up; Montserrat School of Art gives the city a good pulse; some good restaurants.

"The school system doesn't seem to progress too much. Two neighborhood schools were closed, plus the new middle school (the one left is overcrowded) and the high school has been expensively rebuilt.

"Beverly still has minimal diversity. A new group, Main Streets, is trying to make a difference.

"On the weekends, the streets are painfully empty except thankfully for two thriving coffee houses. I take my grandkids over to Salem or up to Newburyport to walk about. We have a great coast, some of which is made private to the wealthy folks who live there. We have many disenfranchised folks — I feel too many, given the size of the town. Because of our major train connection to Boston, many folks (are) attracted to live here, I think.

"People don't seem to come to visit — tourists. They pass through on their way to other North Shore towns. The city has history. Something sorely missing. Not sure what that is."

Brockton Man Will Face Charges After Police Standoff

By Phillip Martin   |   Monday, April 4, 2011
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Apr, 4, 2011

BROCKTON, Mass. — A Brockton man will face charges after engaging in a three-hour standoff with tactical police on Sunday.

David Luke, the father of a self-proclaimed white supremacist, telephoned police On Sunday to say he was heavily armed, and demanded to speak with Boston television reporters. Police were concerned because they had removed weapons from Luke's home two weeks earlier.

A SWAT team surrounded the house on Crescent Street, and cordoned off the area. Police entered the residence a couple of hours later and reported finding Luke in a drug-induced state. No weapons were found.  

Police had been called to David Luke’s home on several occasions following the arrests two years ago of his now 24-year-old son, Keith.

Keith Luke is accused of shooting and killing two Cape Verdean immigrants, and raping and attempting to murder a third.  The murder victims, 20-year-Selma Goncalves and 72-year-old Arlindo Goncalves (no relation), and the rape victim lived in or near the same building as the assailant.

Keith Luke told police he had decided to kill blacks, Latinos and Jews after reading about what he called “the demise of the white race” on a neo-Nazi website. The murders occurred the day after Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation’s first black president.  

Luke infamously appeared in court in 2009 with a jagged swastika newly carved into his forehead. His father, David, told police during the standoff Sunday that he wanted to talk about the crimes that his son is accused of committing.

David Luke was taken away by ambulance and will be charged with threatening police and creating a disturbance.  Two years ago he was charged  with the exact same offense, but was subsequently released. 

About the Authors
Phillip Martin Phillip Martin
Phillip W. D. Martin is the senior investigative reporter for WGBH Radio News and executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions. In the past, he was a supervising senior editor for NPR, an NPR race relations correspondent and one of the senior producers responsible for creating The World radio program in 1995. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1998. Learn more at liftedveils.org.

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