PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) announced Wednesday that it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a Grants for Arts Projects award of $50,000. This grant will support the Creative Compact for Collaborative and Collective Impact (C4) initiative. It is one of 1,251 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling nearly $28.8 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as this one strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”

“For several years, the C4 initiative has fostered significant cross-sector regional alignment and community development, centering equitable access to artistic and educational resources to tackle widespread regional challenges,” a spokesperson for BRPC said in an emailed statement. “In partnership with various educational advocacy networks, the C4 Initiative, in collaboration with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will execute region-wide collaboration for creative placemaking and address regional needs in Berkshire County’s 13 school districts.”

The initiative was launched in collaboration with Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the North Adams Public Schools.

“Engaging in the arts develops creative capacities that prepare young people for lives and work across sectors,” noted Dr. Lisa Donovan, Director of the C4 Initiative. “The rich cultural resources we have in the Berkshires distinguish us as a region and should be central to every young person’s experience growing up in the county. This generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts will allow us to develop clear career pathways that support high school and college students’ needs, maximize access to our cultural resources, and make visible how arts learning builds creative workforce skills.”

The next phase of the C4’s work will focus on cultivating Berkshire County’s creative workforce by broadening the region’s awareness of the myriad of career opportunities in the arts and culture sector.

This will include:

  • Establishing formalized career pathways in arts and cultural organizations.
  • Making internships in the arts sector visible to Berkshire high school and college students.
  • Producing a student-hosted podcast that cracks open the connections between early creative learning and arts exposure and critical workforce skills.