Arts need government advocate to help grow local jobs

By Rhonda J. Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Herb Weiss has worked for 14 years to transform and revitalize the historic mill town of Pawtucket through a dynamic infusion of the arts into the economic-development fabric of the city. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



NEWSMAKERS

Arts need government advocate to help grow local jobs

COURTESY PATTY ZACKS
ART HUB: Herb Weiss was originally hired in 1999 to verify artists belonged in Pawtucket’s then-nascent arts district. As artists began turning to him for help, his role became helping the local arts community grow.

By Rhonda J. Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 9/9/13

(Updated, Sept. 10, 10:01 a.m.)

Herb Weiss has worked for 14 years to transform and revitalize the historic mill town of Pawtucket through a dynamic infusion of the arts into the economic-development fabric of the city.

As economic-development and cultural-affairs officer for the city, his creative vision has helped Pawtucket blossom into a community of working artists and arts organizations that continues to be a factor in creating and attracting new business.

With the fall arts-festival season launching into high gear, Weiss is on the leading edge. The Pawtucket Arts Festival has grown into a three-week celebration, from Sept. 6-29, with activities that include Chinese dragon-boat races, a film festival, a concert by the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Zydeco music, the Taste of the Valley food festival, plays at the renowned Gamm Theater, and of course, a spotlight on regional artists.

His work has not gone unnoticed. He’ll receive the Excellence in Arts and Business award from the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council at its annual awards dinner on Oct. 3.

PBN: What drew you to the arts as part of economic development?

WEISS: Actually, it wasn’t planned. I wasn’t specifically drawn to the arts. It just happened that my first day on the job in Pawtucket, on Jan. 4, 1999, was when the Pawtucket Arts District kicked in. The planning director told me it was part of my duties to certify that people residing in our arts district were qualified to be there. I could have just been a bureaucrat and asked them to give me the three documents that proved they’re allowed to be in the arts district, certify that and send them on their way to the Department of Taxation. … I could have done the job strictly by the book. But instead, artists started calling me and I started looking around for places to bring artists. … I developed a knowledge of spaces and places around town.

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot early!
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Applications are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Awards. Dea ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement