For a third consecutive year, New Bedford’s AHA! (Art-History-Architecture) project has been awarded a significant cultural economic grant from the Commonwealth’s Mass Cultural Council (MCC). The award of a $60,000 Adams Grant to New Bedford’s AHA! Project as well as $3,000 planning grant to the City of New Bedford for work on the Creative Economy was announced at a February 8th ceremony at the UMass Dartmouth Star Store.
Mayor Scott W. Lang, speaking at the awards ceremony said, “Clearly this is a moment of pride for all the downtown AHA! partners and the City of New Bedford.” The City has provided a significant match for the three Adams Grants.
Also speaking at the ceremony were AHA! Steering Committee members and staff as well as Christina Hogan, Program Coordinator, John and Abigail Adams Art Program at the Mass Cultural Council, and Dan Hunter, Executive Director of MAASH (Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences and Humanities). They praised what has been accomplished and looked ahead at the excitement of continued success and new initiatives in 2007.
AHA! is a collaborative nonprofit project that coordinates with over thirty arts related businesses and organizations downtown every 2nd Thursday night. The project began in July 1999 and presented its 92nd evening this February marking a significant track record of continuity and growth. The AHA! concept and the project’s ongoing ability to present the city’s diverse range of cultural venues and downtown businesses in a fresh and compelling way has made it a leading model for cultural economic projects across the state.
Projects in cities such as Lowell, Hyannis, and Brockton have looked to the work of AHA! specifically as they have created their own monthly downtown culture nights. The MCC has worked closely with AHA! since its start with a focus on stimulating income and fostering fruitful partnerships between arts institutions, businesses, and local governments.
“Many thanks to the generous support of the Mass. Cultural Council. The creative economy is a critical component of the city’s overall economy, and we look forward to doing as much as possible in this vital area in 2007,” said Matthew A. Morrissey, Executive Director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.