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Monday, July 22, 2019

Interview with Lauren Morocco, Salisbury Cultural District Manager

I had the opportunity to talk with Lauren Morocco, the recently appointed Manager of the Salisbury Cultural District. Lauren is a graduate from Assumption College and has a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies. She has dedicated her time to working for local non-profits and has a deep passion for community building and educating about culture and the arts. Throughout this interview I discuss with Lauren what drew her to this particular work and the vision she has as the Salisbury Cultural District’s Manager. 
Lauren Morocco,
Salisbury Cultural District Manager
NA: I understand that you have worked for many years within the stakeholder organizations of the Salisbury Cultural District. What made you interested in community building? 

LM: That’s a good question! I’ve always had a job working for a non-profit within Worcester or working in the community. It's something I enjoy. I think that you have to have a love for that kind of community-based service. I really don’t think I could see myself doing any other sort of job. It’s just something I love doing. I like helping the community, and I like being out in the community. I’ve lived and worked in Worcester my entire life so it’s been interesting to see the ebbs and flows of the city’s progress.

NA: What attracted you to the Salisbury Cultural District?  What makes this community unique?

LM: It’s a unique community in and of itself. It has so many different things just in one small little area. You have these giant institutions that are known pretty much worldwide like the Worcester Art Museum and the Worcester Antiquarian Society. Then you have these smaller wonderful institutions like the Worcester Craft Center, the Sprinkler Factory, and the Worcester Historical Museum. Then you have the business district that I grew up going to. My family would go to The Sole Proprietor on special occasions, and my parents went to  The Boynton when they were kids. My dad went to WPI, and my brother did too. The district has always been an area that my family has had a history with. So, it’s important for me to give back to a place that’s given me so much.

NA: What are your goals with becoming a part of the Salisbury Cultural District?

LM: I would like to bring more visibility to the district as a whole. I think there is definitely some awareness about what’s in it, but I don’t think people necessarily say, "Oh, the Salisbury Cultural District... that’s a thing." The canal district of Worcester is definitely something people know of. It’s not an identified district like we are, but it’s definitely something that we can learn things from because they are promoting themselves in a way that is really working for them. We need to be identifiable to the community. 

NA: What do you envision for the Salisbury Cultural District in 5-10 years?

LM: I definitely want people to know what and where we are. We started to talk about having either an annual or regular event that will brand us and will bring communities within the district or those nearby to visit. I think creating an event would be amazing. It should be something sustainable so that the district continues to thrive within 5-10 years. 

NA: Why do you feel it’s important to maintain organizations like the Salisbury Cultural District?

LM: I think there is clearly an advantage to having an identified cultural district. The Mass Cultural Council identifies organizations and assists in creating partnerships to build a sense of cultural identity within the district. This is helpful especially when you have so many strong presences within that community. I think in general the best part about having an identified district would be just to have a catch-all identifier and to have that community.

NA: What are some of your favorite things to do in Worcester?

LM: As a kid, I was always a big museum person anyway. I loved going to the Worcester Art Museum, and I took a lot of art classes. They have so many really cool things there that I don’t think a lot of people understand the scope of what’s offered. The Art Museum is definitely one of my favorites. The Historical Museum is super cool, and I love a good hands-on museum. They have a lot of smaller exhibits-especially for the kids—that you can touch and play with. I love activities like that. Within our district, there is definitely the Boynton, the Sole, and WooBerry. Outside the district, I like going to a lot of concerts.

Click here for more information about the Salisbury Cultural District

- Nurah Ali, Marketing Department Intern
Media Arts and Sciences Major, Wellesley College, '21 

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