The Massachusetts Cultural Council’s (MCC) board voted to recognize the City of Marlborough’s downtown area as one of the state’s first cultural districts.
The Marlborough Downtown Village Cultural District is one of just 14 districts that have received this designation in 2012, the first year of MCC’s Cultural Districts Initiative. The city, the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation, Marlborough Downtown Village, Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, and Olde Marlborough Inc. have been working together over the past several months to meet MCC’s requirements and complete its rigorous application process, which included a tour of the district in September.
MCC considers a cultural district to be a compact, walkable area with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. The designation will help the city, MEDC, and community organizations enhance and expand arts and culture programs held in the district. It may also foster business and job development in the area, establish the district as a tourist destination, and enhance property values.
“We are excited about this designation. MCC has recognized Marlborough’s rich history and the growth potential for attracting more artists and bringing more cultural events to the Marlborough Downtown Village Cultural District,” said Mary Scott, chairwoman of Marlborough Downtown Village. “The agency was impressed with our beautiful streetscape, including City Hall and the Walker Building, as well as the modern use of the old Central Fire Station, the district’s accessibility, and our diverse restaurants.”
The Marlborough Downtown Village Cultural District runs along Main Street between the Marlborough Public Library and Union Common, and includes the surrounding area. This section of the city features several venues for performances (such as those held throughout the year by the Arts Alliance and Ghost Light Players), historic churches and monuments, the John Brown Bell, and Spring Hill Cemetery. Many of the city’s significant annual events, including the Labor Day Parade, Taste of Marlborough, and Heritage Festival are held in the district.
“The designation formalizes the work already underway over the past couple of years to promote the arts in downtown Marlborough, including the rotating displays of artwork in storefronts and art shows at local businesses,” said Scott.