Creative District

The Melrose Creative Alliance is working in partnership with the City of Melrose toward an official MA state-designated Arts & Cultural District for downtown Melrose. 

What is an Arts & Cultural District?

Similar to a historic district or a business district, the Arts & Cultural District is a walkable and defined area of Melrose that boasts a robust array of creative arts and cultural assets. The district is geographically inclusive! Even if your creative or cultural practice’s physical address is outside the marked district boundaries, the Melrose Creative Alliance will include, promote and elevate your work equally! “One Creative Community, Open to All”

What is an Arts & Cultural Asset?

Arts and cultural assets can include our community’s arts organizations, cultural and civic organizations, public art, individual artists, musicians, performers, writers, open spaces, creative businesses, cafes, and arts supporting organizations. Did you know that Melrose has over 180 of such assets?

Why?

Establishing an arts and cultural district in Melrose carries significant community benefit, including access to new and increased pools of funding and other resources for the arts, placemaking opportunities, ability to attract more creative businesses, and more.

Where are we in the process?

We need to put several ducks in a row for a successful application:

Map Melrose arts and cultural assets
We have done the research and have a working database of hundreds of arts and cultural assets in Melrose.
The majority of these assets fall within a reasonably walkable area in the center of Melrose, but a Melrose Cultural District can and will be inclusive of all creative producers located in Melrose.

Convene stakeholder meetings
The Melrose Arts Summit in March 2022 was the first step toward a series of stakeholder meetings. The Summit helped us understand what types of priorities we should focus on, where a District effort might fit among priorities, and who might begin to step up to help. The 2023 Summit was the second of these community stakeholder gatherings, where we further clarified our goals and vision for an Arts and Cultural District.

Managing Partnership
A designated district requires a formal Managing Partnership to raise funds, program and manage the district. The partnership must include specific ‘types’ of arts & cultural leaders, including City and business representatives. The Melrose Creative Alliance satisfies these requirements, and we are incorporated as an official 501(c)(3) under the Community Coalition of Melrose. We welcome anyone who would like to be included in the partnership. The Alliance meets monthly on the first Friday of each month at 8:30am at MMTV studios.

Meet with MA Cultural Council
Early in this process, we began zoom conversations with representatives from the MA Cultural Council to help guide our efforts. We will soon invite them to tour Melrose and meet with stakeholders to continue the process, including the March 11 Arts & Culture Summit.

Formal application
When we are certain we have met the requirements, the City of Melrose will be ready to submit a formal application with the State! In his 2023 State of the City address, Mayor Paul Brodeur championed the Arts and Cultural District and committed to advancing a request to City Council to increase funding to the Melrose Messina Fund for the Arts. We are grateful for Mayor Brodeur’s support of arts and culture in Melrose and proud to partner on this work.

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