Salisbury Cultural District receives state approval

Click image to enlarge.

May 20, 2015
For Immediate Release: Worcester, MA
Salisbury Cultural District receives state approval
Contact: Erin Williams,

Click image to view pdf.

Tuesday, May 19th the Massachusetts Cultural Council board of directors approved state designation for the Worcester Salisbury Cultural District (SCD). To qualify for designation a proposed district is a specific geographical area that has a concentration of cultural facilities activities and assets. The Salisbury Cultural District is conveniently located near Interstates I-190 and I-290 adjacent to the city’s historic Lincoln Square. Within a two block radius of this Lincoln Square keystone a dozen historically significant cultural and civic buildings stand. “Worcester is fortunate to have so many stellar cultural institutions, artists, colleges and beautiful parks which bring our city to life. The Salisbury Cultural District is a beautiful example of a walkable cultural district. We look forward to creating additional districts in the years ahead,” says City Manager, Ed Augustus. The SCD includes Worcester Art Museum; the American Antiquarian Society; Tuckerman Hall (home to the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra); the historic Salisbury Mansion; and the main campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI); Institute Park (with its Levenson Concert Stage and Gazebo) and Salisbury Pond (a historic mill pond fed by Mill Brook, one of the water sources for the Blackstone Canal which once connected Worcester to Providence, RI). The district is home to six Houses of Worship (including the Armenian Church of our Savior, the oldest Armenian congregation in America); 17 restaurants; 6 specialty galleries/gift shops; over 50 adaptively re-used properties; and 10 National Historic Register buildings. These entities collectively host over 1000 community events annually.

Nearby attractions include the Worcester Center for Crafts, Bancroft Tower, the Sprinkler Factory (home to artist lofts and galleries), Worcester’s historic Northworks (Washburn & Moen) mill and Rural Cemetery, as well as Worcester State University’s Sagamore Road Studios and WPI’s Life Science incubator labs at Gateway Park.

Anita Walker, executive director of The Massachusetts Cultural Council notes that “cultural districts attract artists and cultural enterprise, encourage business and job development and establish the district as a tourist destination. It must be a walkable compact area that is easily identifiable to visitors and residents and serves as a center of cultural artistic and economic activity. The proposed Salisbury Cultural District meets all of the necessary criteria.”

Museum is very excited to lead this partnership and looks forward to bringing the arts and culture to life in new ways, “ Matthias Waschek, executive director of the Worcester Art Museum . “The district features artist studios, creative incubators, architecturally significant buildings, important cultural collections, and an impressive array of world-renowned facilities for the advancement of arts, education, creativity, hospitality and culture. ”said Erin Williams, Cultural Development Officer for the City of Worcester. “Around every corner Worcester’s vibrant past and visions for its creative future are revealed. The arts aren’t merely nice, they are necessary.”

The District takes its name from the Salisbury family, whose history as merchants, entrepreneurs, gentlemen-farmers, founders and benefactors of arts, cultural and civic institutions in Worcester is unparalleled and dates back to 1767. The district includes both the relocated historic Salisbury Mansion and Salisbury House, as well as several of the institutions the Salisbury family played a significant role in nurturing - the Worcester Art Museum (WAM), Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and the American Antiquarian Society (AAS). Additionally, Rural Cemetery (New England’s second oldest) is the final resting place of many of Worcester’s early and prominent citizens, including three generations of the Salisbury family.

With sidewalks, crosswalks, bicycle paths, lighting, ample shade trees, historic buildings and an attractive natural and built environment, the district is safely and pleasantly walkable. It includes a diverse array of dining options - from fine dining to family friendly snacking, as well as an assortment of boutique gift shops, galleries and maker spaces. Nearby hotel lodging, parking and public bus transportation is conveniently available.

Executive Office of Economic Development
Cultural Development Division

Worcester City Hall, 455 Main Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01608
Telephone: (508) 799-1400 Fax: (508) 799-1406