Meri JenkinsProgram Manager, Adams Arts Program/Cultural Districts Initiative
Massachusetts Cultural Council
Meri Jenkins is Manager of the Adams Arts Program for the Creative Economy and the Massachusetts Cultural Districts Initiative, programs of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the state arts agency. The programs are designed to promote the use of cultural assets in economic development efforts in communities throughout the Commonwealth. Jenkins has worked at the Council since 2000, and was the architect of the Massachusetts Cultural Districts Initiative. She has cultivated numerous dialogues among diverse stakeholders on the topics of creative place-making, sector capacity, and tourism; developed educational programs, symposium, and conferences; and designed technical assistance initiatives to support the development of the field. During her tenure at the Council, she has had responsibility for the dispersal of more than $11 million in grant awards to 100 projects involving 1200 organizations. Prior to moving to the United States, Jenkins was the Principal Manager of Business in the Arts South UK - an organization that developed mutually beneficial relationships between the commercial and cultural sectors. She has 25 years of experience managing a wide variety of cultural organizations both in the United States and in the United Kingdom. A through line in all her work has been to reach under-served populations. She believes that government - be it federal, state or local - support for cultural organizations, artists and entrepreneurs is an investment that enables access for all, improves quality of life, allows for economic growth, and has far reaching consequences for the well-being of a community.