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UMass Lowell Profs Win President’s Initiative Funds


UML Awarded $65K for ‘Creative Economy’ 

LOWELL ߝ University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson announced the 2007 President’s Initiatives Funds directing $250,000 in seed money for programs that support contributions of the arts, humanities and social sciences. UMass Lowell professors won two of the seven awards granted that will go to support the “Creative Economy.”

“Societal well-being requires more than a focus on the business sector and emerging industries,” says Wilson.  “Support for diversity, multiculturism, human rights, wise and just public policy and vibrant cultural initiatives are all areas where the University’s faculty can make important contributions to our state.”

Twenty proposals were submitted to the President’s office from four UMass campuses.  The President’s Initiatives Funds complement the President’s Science and Technology Initiatives, which have provided scholarship funding in science and technology for four years.

Prof. Robert Forrant of UML’s Regional Economic and Social Development Department was awarded $35,000 to support an arts and culture economic impact student and outreach efforts to strengthen relationships between UML and Lowell residents.  Forrant’s proposal will collect and interpret key economic data related to local cultural programming.  His proposal was submitted in collaboration with the Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) and the Revolving Museum.

“The University as an institution and its members as a community can undoubtedly play larger roles in the cultural sector, to the mutual advantage of all concerned,” says Forrant.

The second winning UML proposal was submitted by members of the English department to expand the successful Urban Village Arts Series (UVAS) to become a central component in the cultural life of the city.  UVAS, a free monthly event held in the 120-seat National Park Visitor Center theatre features a variety of novelists, nonfiction writers, sculptors, filmmakers, painters, poets, musicians and other artists.  The proposal received a $30,000 award.

“The support of the Creative Economy grant helps us create another generation of active participants in the creative economy of Lowell ߝ participants who are needed to create a truly sustainable urban arts scene,” says Prof. Anthony Szczesiul of UML’s English Dept. 

UMass Lowell’s Executive Director of Community Outreach, Paul Marion, points to successful cultural events supported by the University as examples of the tangible, long-term economic benefits to a community.

“UMass Lowell has quickly taken a leadership position supporting and studying creative economy efforts, but the tradition of support has spanned many years,” says Marion.  “Culture is an economic driver, and each artist, for example, is a small business.  Our research, scholarship and outreach can help people working in the creative economy become entrepreneurs, achieve commercial success and build on Lowell’s rich cultural history.” 

UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education.

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