The Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage), a non-profit that manages and provides numerous programs preserving and enhancing Essex County’s historic, natural and cultural places, presented its 2016 Essex Heritage Pioneer in Partnership Awards on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts in Lynn.
Each year, Essex Heritage and the National Park Service present the Pioneer in Partnership Awards to individuals and organizations who exemplify the commission’s spirit of collaboration. The award recognizes those who build partnerships and celebrate the nationally significant places that form the Essex National Heritage Area.
The 2016 Pioneer in Partnership Award recipients included Maudslay Arts Center, Newburyport, in recognition of its leadership and promotion of the region’s cultural heritage; Ronda Faloon, Cape Ann Museum, in recognition of her leadership and stewardship of the region’s cultural heritage; Saugus River Watershed Council, in recognition of it leadership and stewardship of the region’s natural heritage; and Mary LeBlanc and Annie Madden, Village School, Marblehead, in recognition of their leadership and promotion of heritage education.
Often likened to a “mini-Tanglewood,” the Maudslay Arts Center in Newburyport has long epitomized a successful working partnership. Shortly after the state’s 1985 land-saving purchase of the threatened Moseley estate, an amazing 500-acre tract of forest, gardens, and trails spread out along the Merrimack River, three visionaries, including former State Senator Nicholas Costello of Amesbury, pooled their ideas, planning expertise, and capital to create a performing arts center in the heart of the Commonwealth’s new gem: Maudslay State Park.
In April 1993, the state’s Department of Environmental Management granted a special permit to their nonprofit group to pursue the creation of Maudslay Arts Center, Inc. From the rubble and decay of an area known as “the farmyard,” the partners designed and built a 1600 square-foot performance stage with seating for 400 in the midst of a natural bowl and adjoining hillside, all of which is shaded by the center’s magnificent trees.
Today, the all-volunteer organization produces a full season of live performances as well as offering a perfect setting for children’s outdoor theatre, weddings, memorial services, picnics, and just plain enjoyment of nature’s glory.
Always encouraging the arts for youngsters, the Maudslay Arts Center offers free seating to children under 12 and provides space for a special needs camp in July where children can enjoy an outdoor experience.
Working in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the center funds the continually restoration and maintenance of the farm’s historic buildings as well as the operation of then center itself – all without public money.
Next year, the center will celebrate its 25th anniversary of providing summer concerts for the residents of Essex County and beyond.
Essex Heritage is the non-profit organization that manages the Essex National Heritage Area by developing programs that enhance, preserve and encourage recreation, education, conservation and interpretation projects on Boston’s North Shore and the Lower Merrimack River Valley. The Essex National Heritage Area is comprised of the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, MA. For more information, visit >EssexHeritage.org or call (978) 740-0444.