Arts and Cultural Plan

Needham Launches Efforts to Strengthen and Celebrate Arts & Culture


October  2023 - Review the Town's Draft Arts and Culture Action Plan and provide feedback to the Working Group  through October 31, 2023. 

April 2023 - The Town of Needham is developing an Arts & Culture Action Plan to invite community members to imagine the future of Needham's creative community and create a vision to guide future investments in arts and culture.   This project is Needham’s first cultural planning process and emerges from the recently adopted Select Board Goals which include the creation of an arts and culture plan. In 2022, the Town of Needham was awarded a technical assistance grant by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to create an Arts & Culture Action Plan. The plan will outline the vision and values for arts and culture in Needham, highlight cultural assets within the town, and provide recommendations to support a thriving arts and cultural community within Needham that is accessible to all.  

To launch this town-wide cultural planning process, MAPC is working in partnership with the Town under the direction of Economic Development Manager Amy Haelsen and a thirteen member Working Group comprised of residents who have extensive professional and volunteer experience in the arts and cultural sectors.  One of the working group members, Charly Nanda, is Co-Chair of the Needham Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC).  

 “The Needham Council for Arts and Culture is thrilled to take this major step forward in creating a comprehensive town plan to support Needham's creative economy,” said Nanda. “Prioritizing investments that engage and nurture our vibrant arts and culture sector will produce a much-needed roadmap for investment. Needham's diverse arts and culture sector is ready to come together to discuss what strategies will strengthen our community and enrich our cultural lives.”

“The Town is so appreciative of this timely technical assistance grant from MAPC,” said Marianne Cooley, Chair of the Needham Select Board.  “Needham already has a rich abundance of arts and cultural assets in our community. By creating a plan that supports this creative sector, we will enhance our civic and economic vitality and enrich residents' everyday lives with arts and culture that reflect the values and identity of our growing town.” 

The planning process will engage the Needham community to identify the town’s existing arts and cultural assets, reflect community goals for the future of Needham’s creative community and develop a representative vision for Needham’s arts and cultural life. This will be done through a public survey as well as through a number of focus groups to be held throughout town in the coming weeks.  

The Town of Needham invites residents to help shape the future of arts and culture in the community by taking the Needham Arts & Culture Action Plan Survey through May 31, 2023.  The survey, which will take approximately fifteen minutes to complete, asks respondents about the role of arts and culture in the Needham community and their interests and participation in arts and culture activities. 

 To learn more about the project, visit www.mapc.org/resource-library/needham-arts-culture-plan or contact Amy Haelsen at (781) 455-7500 extension 255 or at ahaelsen@needhamma.gov.