NORTH ADAMS -- A new initiative aims to attract artists to the Steeple City and support ones who already live there.

The North Adams Project, an initiative through the Assets for Artists program, will provide training, funding and other resources to artists.

"We’re looking at this as a kind of experiment to see if the tools we’ve developed can help artists, and at the same time concentrate on the community," director Blair Benjamin said.

Artists selected to participate can receive training and technical assistance, match money for investments in their projects, and seed funding to North Adams artists with special projects offering high impact and visibility in the city’s downtown.

"We encourage artists to look at their needs to see what is going to help them long term," Benjamin said. "Is their equipment lacking? Do they need a marketing plan?"

The project’s announcement comes just weeks after PolicyMic.com ranked North Adams as No. 2 on a list of cities for creative 20-somethings -- right behind Oakland, Ca.

"We give it up to Oakland -- but only just for now -- because with this newly expanded Assets for Artists project, which brings even more financial incentives to the table for artists to live and work in North Adams, we’re gunning for the No. 1 slot," said Joseph Thompson, director of Mass MoCA, in a press release.

A collaborative effort, Assets for Artists was founded in 2008 and works with partners including Mass MoCA. Since then, the entity has expanded to work with nearly 200 artists throughout the Northeast, Benjamin said.

Funding for the North Adams Project will come from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Surdna Foundation and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Assets for Independence Program.

North Adams City Councilor Benjamin Lamb said an arts community thrives when new ideas develop, and spoke of the project as one way to bring those to the city.

"We have some incredible, seasoned, and world renowned artists here," he said. "So I personally look forward to both the new, inspired creatives this program will bring to North Adams, as well as the inspiration and opportunities it will subsequently provide to those who have built the artistic backbone for the city over the last 30 years."

For more information about the program or to apply, visit www.assetsforartists.org. The deadline to apply is July 15.

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