(BOSTON) – Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki today appointed Helena Fruscio, an experienced creative economy leader in Berkshire County, to the position of Creative Economy Industry Director for the Commonwealth. Fruscio will help advance the state’s $1 billion creative economy industry, which currently employs over 100,000 Massachusetts workers, according to a New England Foundation for the Arts study.
“The creative economy is an economic engine for the Commonwealth and Helena has the necessary vision and experience to ensure this vital industry continues to grow and create jobs,” said Secretary Bialecki. “We are fortunate to have her expertise, and look forward to the progress she will make.”
Fruscio has been the Director of Berkshire Creative Economy Council (Berkshire Creative) in western Massachusetts since 2009, and an employee since 2007. Throughout her tenure, Berkshire Creative programs have reached hundreds of creative businesses, organizations and individuals across the county and gained national attention for supporting the job creation and economic development opportunities associated with the creative economy.
Noteworthy programs include berkshirecreative.org (the information hub of the Berkshire creative economy), SPARK! (a networking event for Berkshire creatives), the first countywide Berkshire Gallery Guide and the Berkshire Creative Challenge. Berkshire Creative has also partnered with existing sector-specific initiatives, such as the Berkshire Film and Media Commission, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, and Assets for Artists, to help broaden their impact and visibility through joint marketing, fundraising and the fostering of greater countywide collaborations.
“I can’t wait to put my experience and energy to work for the creative businesses and communities around the Commonwealth,” said Fruscio. “I am thankful to Secretary Bialecki and the Patrick-Murray Administration for this amazing opportunity.”
Fruscio is currently a member of the Massachusetts Economic Development Planning Council and the Massachusetts Creative Economy Council. Through these two councils, she has been working to better understand the needs of the creative economy and identify a strategy to enhance, encourage and grow the industry on a statewide level.
“Helena has been our guidestar at Berkshire Creative – in just a few short years her tremendous organizational talents, her innovative ideas and her insightful guidance has been key to the development of Berkshire Creative from a powerful idea into a powerful movement,” said Kevin Sprague, Creative Director of Studio Two and Berkshire Creative Board Chair. “It is highly appropriate and exciting to see Helena move into a position where her talents and energy can benefit the creative economy of the Commonwealth as a whole. We are obviously saddened to see her leave but we know that energy and ideas will continue to inform the development of Berkshire Creative and our regional economic development in the years to come. We wish her well and we are thrilled to have a Berkshire resident represent us across the state.”
“The Massachusetts Cultural Council has been working with Helena since she started with Berkshire Creative and we have seen the amazing results her organization has fostered in the western part of the state,” said Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. “We are looking forward to collaborating with her in this new position, to bring that support to the creative economy across the state.”
“Members of the Creative Economy from around the Commonwealth are thrilled that Helena will be working statewide,” said Patricia Zaido, Executive Director of the Salem Partnership. “I have admired her work in the Berkshires and look forward to having her energy, insights and intelligence at work for all of us.”
Fruscio graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), School of Imaging Arts and Sciences. She will begin her new position on October 24, 2011.