By Jonathan Carvalho, APR
Office of the Mayor
New Bedford has selected area native Margo Saulnier to serve as the Cultural Coordinator for the city’s arts and culture community, overseeing the development and implementation of New Bedford’s Cultural Plan.
In recent years, New Bedford’s reputation has grown as the center for arts in the region and as a creative and inviting place for all types of artists to live and work. New Bedford was named the “Seventh Most Artistic City” by Atlantic Monthly, ranked Ninth on Matador Network’s list of Most Creative Towns, and sixth on Bustle’s Best Cities for Young Artists.
The Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund was proposed by Mayor Jon Mitchell in the spring of 2016 and approved by the City Council last year, and consists of half the revenue from the city’s lodging tax, capped at a total of $100,000. Creation of the fund also required the passage of a home rule petition by the state legislature. The petition’s passage in 2017 was led by state Sen. Mark Montigny.
Using monies from the Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, the City selected the New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC) to manage the search for the Cultural Coordinator. Over the summer, the NBEDC conducted a search for a Cultural Coordinator, and after receiving and reviewing applications and conducting interviews, area native Margo Saulnier was selected.
An Acushnet native and New Bedford High School graduate, Margo Saulnier is an experienced creative professional and educator with more than two decades of performing arts and entertainment industry experience. She has consulted on a number of projects in Boston with Celebrity Series of Boston, including three large-scale public outdoor projects: Street Pianos Boston “Play Me I’m Yours” (2013 and 2016), “Le Grand Continental” dance performance in Copley Square (2014), and “Let’s Dance/Bailemos Boston!” (2015) on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. She has managed production and programming for more than 4,000 live shows at the Boston Pops and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Ms. Saulnier is currently a lecturer in the Music Department at Northeastern University’s College of Arts, Media, and Design, focusing primarily on management of music organizations, performing arts administration, and a course she created, Artistic Planning for Venues and Festivals. In 2016, she moderated the panel on women in music management, booking, negotiations and technology for Northeastern’s “Changing the Conversation: Women’s Equality in the Music Industry” Symposium. In 2014, she moderated the arts economics panel for Northeastern’s CREATE Initiative’s Value of Presenting Symposium. She has also participated on panels at the Future of Music Summit, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), and Boston University.
For more than a decade, Ms. Saulnier was involved in artistic planning for the Boston Pops, where she produced the orchestral debuts of Steve Martin, Oleta Adams, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Cowboy Junkies, Melinda Doolittle, Guster, Aimee Mann, Natalie Merchant, My Morning Jacket, Amanda Palmer, Ozomatli, and many others.
She holds a degree in music from Boston University and a master of fine arts degree from Brooklyn College.
“The arts have been an important part of New Bedford’s story, dating back to its whaling days. The Cultural Plan will add to our cultural scene, attracting creativity and investment to the City and improving marketing, programming, and public art,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “I’m pleased that a highly qualified, driven professional, Margo Saulnier, will oversee the plan with both vision and passion to see the best results for New Bedford’s respected arts and culture community.”
“Margo is committed to innovative and interdisciplinary programming, new audience development, community engagement, and making arts accessible to all,” said Derek Santos, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.