UMass Creative Economy Initiatives Funds Awarded to Support Lawrence History Center Summer Student Writers Program

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Rogers Family Foundation
June 26, 2015


Contact(s): Susan Grabski, Executive Director, Lawrence History Center, 978-686-9230

UMass Creative Economy Initiatives Funds Awarded to Support Lawrence History Center Summer Student Writers Program

Lawrence, MA – The UMass President’s Office has awarded $20,000 in Creative Economy Initiatives Funds to support "Lawrence Student Writing Workshop: Re-Envisioning Lawrence @ the Lawrence History Center." The program represents a new collaboration between the Lawrence History Center and Andover Bread Loaf (an outreach program of Phillips Academy), and UMass Lowell.

Robert L. Caret, UMass president, wrote on May 29, 2015 to grant applicant UMass Lowell history professor and Lawrence History Center board member Robert Forrant:

“As you know, the Creative Economy Initiatives Fund was established on 2007 to support faculty initiatives in the arts, humanities and social sciences that benefit the State’s economy and improves its quality of life. Your project, based in Lawrence at the Lawrence History Center, and representing a collaboration between UMass Lowell, the Lawrence History Center, and Andover Bread Loaf, holds great promise for benefiting your target students in grades 5 – 7 from the Lawrence, MA schools. The project was strongly endorsed by the UMass Lowell campus as being innovative; having high levels of engagement with community partners and situated to have strong community impact. Indeed, your efforts may well provide a model to replicate throughout MA and elsewhere.”

LHC director Susan Grabski is delighted by this new support and the opportunity the program will provide to Lawrence students:

“This grant, along with additional funding from the ECCF Betty Beland Greater Lawrence Summer Fund and the Rogers Family Foundation, will allow us not only to support the three week summer program, but also to carry the experience forward into late fall 2015 and spring 2016. Select students will create content and exhibit panels to be placed in local businesses in Lawrence, take part in community events, and be given a voice at our spring 2016 symposium centered on urban renewal in Lawrence, Massachusetts and other mid-size industrial cities.”

Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College and chairman of the newly formed Lawrence Partnership said this about the program:

“Lawrence has a very rich history and the Lawrence History Center is doing a terrific job of sharing it. Their partnership with Andover Bread Loaf is one more example of how they promote Lawrence and build pride in the city. As part of this project, middle school children will learn about Lawrence's beginnings and share what they've learned in presentations that will be on display throughout the city. It's a wonderful way of engaging many groups within the city, creating a learning experience that brings the community together to celebrate Lawrence.”

The summer session will be free to 25 - 30 Lawrence students entering grades 5-7 and run 5 days/week, 9:00am to 2:00pm from June 29 to July 17 at the Lawrence History Center. The intensive three week long program will consist of creative and expository writing workshops designed to bolster student academic skills and their awareness and understanding of place around themes relevant to their community.

Teachers Mary Guerrero and Lorena German will co-direct, along with 5 student writing leaders who will support participants. Students will learn to write more expressively and discover the joys and rewards of writing in all its forms. They will also participate in multimedia projects that involve art, music, theatre, and photography. Over the course of this unique program, students will become more competent and confident writers, artists, and communicators.

Note: The session is now full. We are accepting students on our Wait List.

For more information and to download the program brochure please visit:

The Lawrence History Center was founded in 1978 as the Immigrant City Archives by German immigrant Eartha Dengler. The organization’s mission is to collect, preserve, share, and interpret the history and heritage of Lawrence, Massachusetts and its people. The archive is located at 6 Essex Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts in the former Essex Company complex – a site built in 1883 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Andover Bread Loaf (ABL), an outreach program of Phillips Academy, its mission is to promote literacy and educational revitalization in economically disadvantaged school systems and communities. Working in Lawrence for thirty years, ABL started as a member of the Bread Loaf Teacher Network, a professional development network established by Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. ABL provides professional development for teachers, writing and arts programs for youth, literary workshops for the community, and educational events for families.

Professor Robert Forrant, History Department, UMass Lowell, has worked on numerous educational and creative economy collaborations in Lowell and Lawrence over the past ten years. The National Endowment for the Humanities, Mass Humanities, and the UMass President’s Office Creative Economy initiative have funded his work in the past.


Tue–Fri: 9am-4pm
Sat: By appt
Sun-Mon: Closed

Address & Phone

6 Essex Street
Lawrence, MA 01840

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Founded in 1978 as the Immigrant City Archives, the mission of the Lawrence History Center is to collect, preserve, share, and animate the history and heritage of Lawrence and its people.