Hyannis, MA

Contact Name
Jo Anne Miller Buntich
Project Dates
2005 to the present
Workshop Leader
Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) 2013
Policy, Networking
Barnstable introduced the HyArts Artist Shanty program in the summer of 2005 to provide a unique affordable harbor front location for local artists to create and sell their work. Seven shanties and a connecting boardwalk were installed on harbor parkland. In addition to supporting artist entrepreneurs, the Town’s goals for the shanties, economic stimulus and keystone downtown placemaking, were realized. The Harbor Artist Shanty Program is creative sector economic development for Hyannis. The Town and its business and cultural partners have invested in infrastructure, programming and marketing. The program is very well received by artists and the arts community providing income and exposure. Residents and visitors enjoy the shanties and their location - they have become a destination.
Project Goals
What were the project goals?
Enhance the local economy, downtown revitalization and placemaking through arts and culture related enterprises and activities. Maximize and enhance the working waterfront, expand arts programming, encourage private investment and strengthen the walkable, compact and sustainable aspects of Hyannis.
Have they changed over time?
The program broadened focus to more of the creative economy sector. Supporting economic development activities target specific sector needs, such as work space and housing, and facilitate access to business resources.
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
Artists and artisans
Downtown Hyannis business community
Cape Cod Art Association
Arts Foundation of Cape Cod
Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce
Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District
Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
Project Specifics
How was the project implemented? What were the steps taken?
For many years the Town supported arts and artists through the local Cultural Council funding of programs at the Town owned Guyer Barn. In 2005 the Town developed a focused approach to continue to move revitalization forward. The Town’s economic development programs targeted investments focused on placemaking through arts and culture and related activities. In 2005 the Town purchased seven small shanties, installed on the harbor, for use as incubator space for local artists and artisans. In 2006 the Town acquired two properties on Pearl Street adjacent to the Guyer Barn. These residential structures were refurbished to gallery, studio and live/work space forming an arts campus with the Guyer Barn. In 2007 the Town created and Arts & Culture Coordinator position in the Growth Management Department. Initially grant funded, this position is now funded through the Town’s general fund.
Concurrently, thoughtful infrastructure improvements were implemented. Spurred by the Main Street streetscape project in 2000 which greatly enhanced the Main Street pedestrian environment, including a portion of the Walkway to the Sea, extending then from Main Street through the village green towards the harbor, the Town completed the Walkway extending it along the north and east sides of the harbor. This connection brought visitors and residents to the artist shanties, working waterfront, park and performance spaces there. An award winning public art project, Buoyed Coasts, was installed along the harbor portion of the walkway. Today Buoyed Coasts remains one of the most photographed scenes in Hyannis.
Have they been refined over time?
Implementation has evolved over time. While the original programs remain in place, the programs are expanded and improved each year. There is now added focus on business planning, facilitating access to growth resources, including the whole of the creative economy sector and drilling down on housing and work space needs to facilitate that development.
What were your major obstacles?
Some resistance to change and funding
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
Buy-in from the political and business leadership in the community who understood that the arts and culture initiatives were then and remain now important economic development tools; program successes
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
Extensive and ongoing outreach and consensus building at all levels of community involvement; Fostering existing and creating new partnerships with the private sector, non-profit and business communities;
Inspiration from other communities.
Project Impact
How has this project contributed to creative community building?
The HyArts programs provide opportunities for consistent venues and steady revenue for artists/artisans; established Hyannis as a year round cultural destination for the region and strengthened collaborations with arts, cultural and business organizations
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
The program supported and furthered Downtown Hyannis revitalization; implemented infrastructure improvements; provided a very positive image for the urban core and integrated arts into the fabric of the community
Were there unexpected impacts?
Spontaneous partnerships between artists and businesses and the new demand for more artist exhibit/work space
CCX Workshop Handout