Arts and Culture Advocacy Series: Mechelle Brown

The Arts and Culture Advocacy Series features voices in the community who are actively working to promote arts and culture as an essential and valuable part of business, community, and daily life. 


Tell us a bit about yourself and what role you play in the creative community?

I’m the Director of the Cultural District and Community Engagement for the Town of Rockport. I have the amazing opportunity of working with a diverse creative community that impresses and inspires me. My hope when working with this talented community has been to create the space for conversations where we support and encourage one another and collaborations that create visibility and awareness of the arts.

Rockport is art. Whether by the painters, photographers, poets, musicians, sculptor or chefs, even the beauty in the architecture and every unique sunrise and sunset, Rockport proves it is an amazing place to be and I am thankful!

Why do you feel the arts, culture, and creativity are important? 

Arts, culture, and creativity are amazing opportunities for people to express themselves and to learn about others. It is the opportunity for us to harness and share our thoughts, feelings, and convey messages in unique ways—and as participants in the arts, we can learn from others, see their views, and explore their thoughts. I hope that artists of all ages would be encouraged to explore their creativity and find fulfillment in their expressions.

From the child whose favorite colors are black and white, to those who draw with words that inspire, to the musician who arranges line of notes together, to the painter who captures that special moment in time, we all have the capability to express ourselves through the arts.

How do you feel arts, culture, and creativity most profoundly impact your personal and/or business life?

I’ve been surrounded by the arts, culture, and creativity throughout my life. My grandmother filled her home with the beautiful music she created with her violin and the wonderful paintings of robins and blue jays. My mother shared her talents of cooking, baking, and cosmetology. My great-aunt and step-mother stressed the importance of appreciating other cultures so we can learn and grow.

Personally I found great refuge in the arts, playing the clarinet and alto sax and drawing with light through the lense of the camera. The arts are a wonderful outlet. Professionally I am thankful for the many creative influences—from writing the stories, to creating events. The influencers have taught me to take the time to understand and appreciate individuals, which helps me find the unique ways of engaging them as well.

Share with us one event or initiative that falls under the arts, culture, creativity umbrella that you are really excited about and want to share with readers?

We have so many great things happening throughout the year in Rockport, I can’t choose just one!

We’re coming off an amazing holiday season—a month of holiday festivities and celebrations that included the addition of our newest festival the Rockport Makers’ Festival. The festival was a co-production with Rusty and Ingrid Creative Company. We welcomed thousands of people from across the country to celebrate the holidays us in our quintessential seaside village and we’re excited to welcome them back this year!

Rockport wharf

For spring we’re looking forward to a new partnership with the statewide Artweek Festival, in which we’ve created an exciting Cape Ann collaborative with Discover Gloucester and the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce. More than 40 creative businesses throughout Cape Ann have signed up to participate in the event, including iartcolony with their newest show opening: propaganda.

This summer we’re looking forward to the Rockport Cultural District Free Walking Tours, Rockport Music’s Chamber Music Festival and Jazz Festival, and Concerts at the Beach. We’re working on some new creative elements for this year’s Illuminations Festival weekend. And, in the fall, we look forward to Rockport Exchanges’ Harvestfest.

Arts, culture, and creativity are amazing opportunities for people to express themselves and to learn about others. It is the opportunity for us to harness and share our thoughts, feelings, and convey messages in unique ways—and as participants in the arts, we can learn from others, see their views, and explore their thoughts.

Mechelle Brown

What would be one thing you would like to relay/request of future creative thinking business owners and leaders?

My hope for future creative thinking business owners and leaders is to be excited and open to conversations and collaborations. Everyone has so much to offer, from ideas to execution. With everyone’s recommendations, we can all learn from one another. Conversations lead to new collaborations and together, as a team, we can make great things happen!

How do you feel that being a member/partner of Creative Collective gives you the tools and support to reach your hopes and aspirations for the creative community? 

Creative Collective is great space for extending the conversations and collaborations to include the whole North Shore. They’re working on some fabulous projects, including an arts calendar and some great events to showcase the arts. The Creative Collective is coming to the table, engaging in the conversations, offering solutions, creating events, and managing calendars.

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