Community Leadership Institute visits Fitchburg Art Museum

Emerging Leaders Learn about the Importance of the Creative Economy

On Thursday, May 25, 2017 the Community Leadership Institute class of 2017 visited Fitchburg Art Museum where the class spent the day learning about the creative economy and its importance to the growth and development for local communities and the region. Over the course of the day the class heard from Matt Wilson, Executive Director at MassCreative, and met with several local community leaders including Mayor Stephen DiNatale of the City of Fitchburg, Nick Capasso, Director of the Fitchburg Art Museum, Sharon Bernard, Director of the Fitchburg Public Library and Steve Duvarney, President of Duvarney & Company Jewelers.

Dr. Mike Greenwood, business professor at Fitchburg State University and chairman of the Institute steering committee, helped facilitate the creative economy session which explored current creative economy initiatives, trends, challenges and opportunities.  The goal of the session was to give participants an understanding of the role that the creative economy has in contributing to eco nomic growth and how community leaders can become involved in supporting efforts to grow arts and culture in North Central Massachusetts.

The program included a presentation from Matt Wilson on arts, culture and advocating for this crucial part of society. His presentation was then followed by a panel of local representatives including, Nick Capasso, Mayor Steve DiNatale, and Lisa Dutton-Swain and Marc Dohan of NewVue Communities. The panel discussed Fitchburg’s plan to renovate the downtown area, and have the creative economy help downtown businesses blossom. Also, the panel discussed the ways in which Fitchburg highlights arts and culture, using institutions like the Fitchburg Art Museum, the Fitchburg Public Library and Fitchburg State University. Arts and culture is not only a want of the Fitchburg community, but it is a necessity in order for the city to grow and improve.

Following the panel, the Community Leadership Institute class went on a tour of downtown Fitchburg lead by Nick Capasso, Director of the Fitchburg Art Museum. The class saw some of Fitchburg’s most important cultural assets including the Fay Club, the Arc of Opportunity mural, Gallery Sitka, Fitchburg Public Library, the “Before I Die” public art wall, “the Immigrant” sculpture by Nora Valdez, and the BF Brown School. The importance of seeing these arts and culture venues in the downtown was to understand the positive influence the creative economy can have on a city, and the ways in which art can bring a community together. Art not only is beautiful to the eye, but is beneficial towards a community’s leadership, education and economic growth.

“Our emerging creative economy can play a vital role in the economic growth of North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. “It is important that these future leaders understand that our cultural assets are helping to shape our region’s unique identity and appeal, contributing to our quality of life and helping to revitalize our downtowns.”

This was the second to last meeting of the nine month long program. Next month will conclude the program with the wrap up session and graduation ceremony at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber’s 2017 Annual Business Meeting & Luncheon held on June 15, 2017 at Great Wolf Lodge New England. For more information on the Community Leadership Institute contact Maria McCaffrey, Events and Programs Manager, at 978.353.7600 ext. 235 or at

The Community Leadership Institute was started in 1989 by the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce who recognized the significance of effective leadership to a community’s vibrancy. The Chamber set out to develop a community leadership program that could cultivate a diverse network of regional leaders who are prepared and motivated to strengthen and improve the region. Over 250 business and community leaders have graduated from the Community Leadership Institute since its inception.