A new incentive program is aiming to help boost not only the economy, but Pittsfield's arts community as well. Our Madeleine Rivera has more.
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. – “Now I have this Artsbucks burning a hole in my pocket.”
Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi isn't introducing some new form of currency. He's talking about his city's latest and artistic initiative to boost the local economy.
Allen Harris, President of Berkshire Money Management, said, "The incentive we thought was what people might need to see. They're out, they're walking around, seeing some art that they might like, they can picture it in their house, but they just need that little nudge to make that purchase, so we decided we'd present that nudge to them."
That nudge came in the form of Artsbucks. Harris' company, Berkshire Money Management, will provide a $100 rebate if customers buy a work of art worth $200 or more.
“If we can stimulate this, if we can support our local artists, I think it's a wonderful thing," Bianchi said.
“Artists are a really important part of our economy and specifically our creative economy. They add a lot to our communities. They're a local producer. They are themselves a local small business,” said Megan Whilden, Pittsfield Director of Cultural Development.
Local artists and galleries present their work during the city's First Fridays Artswalk.
The Artswalk is a great way to showcase the diverse talent of the artists in Berkshire County. At the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, a lot of the works you see on display are available for sale.
Harris said, “Nothing gathers a crowd like a crowd. And the more people you have, I think the more traveled the streets will be for the Artswalk.”
And that is exactly what city officials hope will happen next month when Artsbucks go into circulation.
“This gives us an opportunity to really support them, to highlight and to bring new people in to see the wonderful work they're making,” Whilden said.
In order to take advantage of Artsbucks, you can buy from any participating artist or gallery during the month of October. Your $100 voucher must be redeemed by November 15th.
For more information on the Artsbucks initiative, visit www.firstfridaysartswalk.com.