A TEDx North Adams event would not be complete without a talk about the integral role the arts play in the region, especially when the theme is “community.” And no one is more qualified to share her big ideas on the subject than MCLA’s own Dr. Lisa Donovan, professor of arts management.
The force behind the creation of the Berkshire Cultural Assets (BCAN) Network and multiple related projects, Donovan works to harness the power of regional relationship networks to support youth and tap into the incredible assets the region has. She delved into this during the second TEDx North Adams event, presented in February 2019.
“We seek to build creative capacity. To support students’ appreciation for arts and culture, to engage students in creative problem-solving skills building resilience, divergent thinking, critical thinking skills, problem solving and idea generation—these are the skills of innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, and they are skills needed for workforce,” Donovan said.
She asked the audience, “How many cultural institutions do you imagine we have here in Berkshire County? 20? 30? 40? We have over 50 significant cultural organizations in this area–50 high-caliber arts and culture organizations! Many of them are known across the country and internationally for the work they do.”
According to Donovan, this is a moment in time when Berkshire County has an opportunity to shine as residents and organizations work together to take full advantage of its artistic assets, and serve as a national model for regional collaboration in rural areas by intentionally aligning our work and thinking like a region.
“Rural regions are special places that can flourish with the arts at the center,” she said.
Donovan urges the community to maximize its unique resources by thinking like a region, rather than individual municipalities, to ensure that every young resident has equitable access to the arts. “If we start to think like a region, about what we want to accomplish together, we can make things happen,” she said.
TEDx North Adams was organized by MCLA alumni Ben Lamb ’07 and Keifer Gammell ’11.