The city of Pittsfield has a new director of cultural development.
The city council unanimously approved Jennifer Glockner to take over for Pittsfield’s first director of cultural development, Megan Whilden. Whilden left her post in May to become executive director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College after nine years at the helm.
“Part of my job has been to take Pittsfield and kind of dust it off and shine it up and say look at what a wonderful place we all live in,” said Whilden.
Glockner spent the past two years helping Whilden expand the arts as the city’s tourism coordinator; something Glockner says was an honor to be a part of.
“Every time I go to Barrington Stage I walk outside and I say I’ cannot believe I’m 5 minutes from my house,” Glockner said. “I feel like I should be on Broadway seeing this amazing play.”
A Michigan native, Glockner has been living in the Berkshires for 10 years. She’s worked at the marketing firm Winstanley in Lenox and also the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce. She says collaboration among the cultural attractions and businesses will allow the city to develop together.
“Getting the people in the cultural institutions; Barrington Stage, Colonial Theatre, Berkshire Museum, Hancock Shaker Village and Arrowhead…we all really have to sit down and say ‘Is there anything that we’re missing?” Glockner explained. “Is there something out there that we can really shine and move forward?”
After graduating with a communications degree from Michigan State, Glockner worked as a television news producer in Michigan and Denver. Noting Pittsfield lays on the main travel route between cultural destinations in northern and southern Berkshire County, she says communicating what Pittsfield has to offer outside the city’s borders is a goal.
“How can we get those tour buses to come to Pittsfield for more than a day?” Glockner said. “To stay overnight, go to all of the institutions, then go out to eat to the restaurants in Pittsfield, then go to another cultural institution the next day and then go to a show the next night.”
Andy Kelly chairs Pittsfield’s cultural development board.
“If someone comes up to visit the Red Lion Inn or they come to visit the [Norman] Rockwell Museum, Jen will have them here in Pittsfield taking in Shakespeare or taking in something at Barrington Stage,” Kelly said. “We have all the confidence in the world and we’re delighted to have her as our new director.”
A four-person search committee including members of the arts and business community dwindled the list of 15 candidates to two to put before Mayor Dan Bianchi. Bianchi says Glockner’s experience working in the cultural development office will allow for continuity.
“So much of what we do in cultural activity is underwritten by businesses so it’s very important that we have somebody with a strong background there,” said Bianchi.
Glockner says her first goal is staying on track through the busy summer months jam-packed with 3rd Thursdays street festivals, First Fridays Artswalk and the unveiling of a new Shakespeare in The Park initiative.