Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. has officially named their new Executive Director. Cheryl Mirer has taken over the role vacated by Kristine Hurley in June of 2017. After a thorough hiring process, Cheryl is now the new driving force behind the implementation of the 2016-2020 Downtown Pittsfield Strategic Plan and will work with Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.’s Board of Directors to tackle strategic areas including public safety, increasing foot traffic, promoting Pittsfield, and quality of life.
Cheryl grew up in Burlington, Connecticut, and has spent many years living and working in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley. She has a BA in Fine Arts from UMass Amherst and a Masters in Arts Administration from Boston University. She worked previously in Institutional Advancement at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, MA; and as Director of an Artists-in-Residence Program in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Most recently, she worked as Executive Director of a small, community library before accepting a position in Corporate and Foundation Relations at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York.
Cheryl has a variety of work and volunteer experiences that are sure to serve her well in her new position. She has worked in food service, as a kitchen and bath designer, and while at her job as Director of an Artists-in-Residence Program, she found herself in the hub of that community, collaborating with many partners on community art projects, working directly with artists, writers, and musicians. At Clarkson University, Cheryl worked with faculty and staff to research, coordinate, and write corporate and foundation grants; and while serving as Executive Director of the Norwood Public Library, she initiated new programs for adults, teens, and children, and updated their collection as well as their computer systems. As a volunteer, Cheryl served in the Peace Corps and taught art in a small village in Ghana for two years. In Potsdam, she was very active with the local food co-op, working on their membership, events, and marketing committees; and over the last 5 years, she worked with a great group of volunteers to create a dog park in Potsdam that serves both pets and sheltered animals. Cheryl’s focus has always been serving the community, and she has left lasting contributions in the communities she has called home.
Cheryl is also a visual artist whose most recent work is in mixed media collage. She enjoys working freely and playing with papers and techniques. She also enjoys painting, print-making, and creating artwork on unique surfaces such as windows and doors. A popular subject-matter for her work is nature, landscapes, bugs, and dogs. She also delights in teaching mixed media, especially to beginning artists and kids.
When Cheryl saw the job posting for Executive Director on BerkshireJobs.com, she knew it was time to come back to western Massachusetts. “I’ve always been interested in what’s going on in Pittsfield and the Berkshires, and I want to be someone who’s helpful in this impetus for change and growth and community… I want to serve the community, that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do”. Cheryl knew the Executive Director position was right for her, and the board agreed.
What does Cheryl love most about the Berkshires? “The beauty of the hills, hiking, being outdoors, and the community”, says Cheryl. “I know I belong here… I am looking forward to making Pittsfield my community.” She and her husband have previously lived in Otis, MA, but career aspirations had dictated a move out of the area. This move back to the Berkshires signals a return to a place that feels like home and a place that is close to family.
Cheryl has been on the job in her Dunham Mall office for two weeks but has been spending most of her time out and about and getting acquainted with members of the downtown community. “I feel really supported by the board, our marketing coordinator, and the city…. There are people everywhere I go (who offer their support)”: Cultural Pittsfield, the Community Development office, 1Berkshire, Kristine Hurley, and DPI’s neighbors at Dunham Mall.
“My hope is to help bring people together, and that our work can contribute to (the success of) downtown businesses while also attracting more local business… all within the scope of the Strategic Plan.” It’s about collaboration and communication she says. She is thrilled to be a part of continuing efforts to bring the community together.
By contributor Kimberly Cortes-Gritman
The mission of Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. is to foster the on-going growth and vitality of downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts through vision, leadership and advocacy and to position downtown as the creative and business hub of the Berkshires for the benefit of all.
Since 1983, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. (DPI) has been the recognized leader, facilitator and principal advocate for downtown. DPI has developed strategies and programs, mobilizing resources resulting in a creative, lively, sustainable environment.
DPI is a membership organization consisting of property owners, businesses, residents, and cultural, entertainment venues, restaurants and non-profit organizations joining forces to increase economic activity by promoting downtown as a great place to live, work, and play.