Why support a Cultural District for Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA’s first Cultural Festival concluded Sunday, after five consecutive days of artistic performances and fun events staged throughout the Franklin downtown area.

Franklin Cultural Festival

It’s great to see another family oriented celebration in Franklin taking its place on a roster of quite a number of annual festivals and events hosted in this Massachusetts town of some 32,000. Here’s just a partial list of the events in town that Franklin residents already enjoy every year: summertime Concerts on the Common, the Strawberry Festival, the 4th of July Celebration, the Feast of St. Rocco, the Harvest Festival, and the Holiday Stroll.

Cultural districts help communities thrive

But the importance of this new Festival to the Franklin community extends well beyond the inauguration of another fun thing to do in town.  The Franklin Cultural Festival is a key component of a joint effort by town officials, local businesses and Franklin educational institutions to have a Franklin Cultural District in the downtown area officially recognized (or “designated”) by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) under its Cultural Districts Initiative.


The goal of the MCC’s Cultural District Initiative is to help artists, cultural organizations, and arts-related businesses to locate and thrive in the approximately 30 designated cultural districts that already exist throughout the Bay State. The Initiative seeks to spur economic growth and foster tourism in each district, helping promote the reuse and revitalization of older urban centers while increasing property values throughout the communities in which each district is located.

MCC designated cultural districts can receive support and assistance under certain programs established or identified by the MCC and draw on existing cultural resources to encourage artists to live and work in the host communities.

If Franklin is successful in getting an officially designated district, it could become another major step forward in the ongoing revitalization of the Franklin downtown area.

Can’t have a cultural district without a lot of “culture” already in place

The key to a successful effort in obtaining official designation of a cultural district is demonstrable community participation in the arts. The Franklin community has many valuable building blocks already in place that will support a vibrant culture district and should help the Franklin Cultural District get designation from the MCC.

These resources include educational institutions such as the Dean College School of the Arts and Dean’s respected Palladino School of Dance.

Franklin’s downtown is also home to the nationally recognized Franklin School for the Performing Arts.

Franklin School for the Performing Arts

Franklin School for the Performing Arts

Having a Franklin Cultural District in place should encourage some of the students at these educational institutions to decide to stay in town after graduation and practice their crafts locally.

Other supports for a Franklin Cultural District

Franklin is home to performance venues such as the Black Box Theater, the Circle of Friends Coffee House, and the Main Stage Theater at Dean College. In addition, the Franklin Town Common is eminently walk-able from the downtown area and hosts summertime concerts and many annual community events. The auditorium at the new Franklin High School is stunning and should be an asset to the community for years to come.

All these venues would help sustain the Franklin Cultural District by giving performing artists stages on which to put their talents on display.

Tourism and business good for Franklin

Franklin abounds with good places to eat and drink, which is important for the tourism aspect of the proposed Franklin Cultural District. Here are the eateries scheduled to participate in the “Taste of Franklin” event Sunday during the Franklin Cultural Festival in Franklin, MA.


The Franklin Historical Museum is another asset to the downtown’s intellectual life and is a good tourist destination.

If you are looking for more proof of an economic rationale for a Franklin Cultural District, Jane’s Frames is a stalwart of the arts in the heart of downtown Franklin. The Franklin Art Center opened in town within the last five years and has become a successful supporter of the visual arts in Franklin. The Franklin Art Center was instrumental in the recent establishment of the Franklin Sculpture Park.

A Franklin Cultural District should encourage more such arts-related businesses to open in Franklin, MA.

Increasing the appeal of Franklin as a place in which to live and grow

This post has reviewed some of the significant cultural resources that exist in Franklin, Massachusetts.  These help make Franklin, MA a great place to call home!

The Franklin Cultural District would help tie all those cultural resources together and augment their beneficial impact on the Franklin community. Having a designated Franklin Cultural District would also further cement Franklin’s growing recognition among Massachusetts home buyers as a “destination community” on the I-495 corridor. The District would help Franklin compete for business and attract more educated, affluent home buyers. Franklin residents have so many reasons to support the establishment of a Franklin Cultural District!

Contact Franklin broker Warren Reynolds for help with buying or selling a home in Franklin, Massachusetts!

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