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Paying Tribute to Gateway City Innovation

A Recap of our Event in Lawrence

Recognizing individuals and organizations whose passion and energy have made a lasting and outsized contribution to the vitality of their communities


Leaders from across the Commonwealth gathered in Lawrence for the Fifth Annual Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Awards Summit last month.

Mark Davy kicked off the celebration by showcasing the inventive placemaking projects he has led around the globe. Full video of Mark’s presentation is included below. For those who weren’t able to join us, the talk is worth watching this weekend, whether you are deeply involved in creative placemaking or you approach Gateway City revitalization from other vantage points.

Following Mark’s presentation, Gateway City leaders took to the stage to react to Mark’s keynote and share lessons from their placemaking experience here in Massachusetts. Al Wilson, founder and director of Beyond Walls, Gloria Hall, founder of Art in the Park, Worcester, and Meri Jenkins of the Mass Cultural Council spoke about the impact of public art. Shelley Cardoos, owner of Hippo and South Coast Director of EforAll, and Gustavo Quiroga of Graffito conversed on the transformative effect of first-floor retail and enterprise. Sarah Eustice of Main Street Hospitality, Abel Vargas from the City of Lawrence, and Zomawa Arenas of Flowetik discussed how we nurture, embrace, and brand a community’s identity. Stay tuned for links in a future email to full video of these dynamic conversations.

With this great build-up, we launched into the awards luncheon Mayor Dan Rivera and Secretary Jay Ash offered warm welcoming remarks. Arthur Jemison, a long-time Gateway City thought-leader now serving the City of Detroit, delivered a captivating address. And then we honored the recipients of the Gateway Cities Champion Award: Congresswoman Tsongas for her unwavering commitment to the city of Lowell; Bob Rivers, CEO and Chairman of Eastern Bank, for forward-thinking corporate leadership on behalf of Gateway City enterprise and community development; and our own John Schneider, for providing the seeds of the Gateway Cities movement during his time here at MassINC.

Eight groups received 2017 Gateway City Innovation Awards: Beyond Walls; Art in the Park, Worcester; The Lowell Waterways Vitality Initiative; The Revolving Test Kitchen; Fitchburg Pride; The Fuller Craft Museum and Greater Brockton Young Professionals; Main Street Hospitality; and Nueva Esperanza Inc.

If you want to feel good this weekend, definitely take a moment to watch our short video tribute (below) to their work.

Thank you to former Mayor Lisa Wong for emceeing the awards luncheon, Lupoli Companies for helping us to host the event at their beautiful Riverwalk property, and all of our event sponsors for their continued support!

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