Artisan/Parks Initiative



This application is simultaneously being submitted to the Newburyport City Council, the Parks Department, AND the License Commission  regarding the artisan designated Transient Vendors licenses. 

The application to the Parks Commission is seeking permits for six art shows to take place on Inn Street and its adjoining courtyards during the 2019 season, beginning on May 18th. The scheduled dates of the shows are attached to the application (See Home Page). The exhibits would consist of up to fifteen artisans utilizing ten by ten foot spaces for tents, canopies, and displays. As last year, these art shows are designed to be self maintained, mild, and generally laid back events, incorporated into the regular daily traffic of an average Newburyport weekend on Inn Street. These shows are NOT to be confused or compared to known ‘festivals’ in the area, as they will not require additional policing, food vending, musical, Board of Health permits ( OR COMMERCIAL VENDORS). 

Last year the Inn Street Artisan Revival group applied for and received permits for the main walkway on Inn Street, and produced seven art shows throughout the year as an experimental schedule. The shows were very relaxed and successful in many ways, while contributing to the creative, cultural, and economic environment of the community. Respect and intention was given to maintaining open space for recreational access to the Inn Street fountain area. This year we are seeking to do the same with access to the adjoining courtyards while creating a Parks Department revenue initiative for tree and bricking restoration projects. This initiative would be supported by artisan revenue contributions to be determined by the Parks Commission.

I am applying on behalf of the group as creator and coordinator of the Inn Street Artisans Revival (ISAR a group of local artists and crafts people of Newburyport) since 2016 when the first Yankee Homecoming Inn Street Artisans Revival (YHISAR) was created. As the coordinator of the Inn Street Artisans Revival, I am most familiar with Inn Street and have been managing my business and other related events there for many years. I have been a resident of Newburyport for the past fifteen years. I am an artist/photographer and business owner of the Spirit of Newburyport for thirteen years. I have held a transient vendors license for Inn Street for the past ten years. 

This project is aimed to benefit all as a win win for artisans, the city, the surrounding brick and mortar retail, as well as the reputation of Newburyport as a supporter and contributor to the local art community, which is dwindling greatly. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,

John Brown

Artisans Revival Coordinator


Result of the March 21, 2019 Parks Commission meeting collectively designed an 8 point review plan to be incorporated over next thirty days and to reconvene in April for determining vote. More information and minutes will be released regarding this meeting as well as the 8 point review plan. Part of this plan will be the formation of an Artisans Revival non profit board. Once this board is formed, the format of the Artisans Revival will change. When this happens any personal information or thoughts shared will be on my own blog,...not this one.

But until then.....The same proposal for the artisans Village applies for the Inn Street Artisan Shows;


By John W. Brown – Artisans Revival Coordinator

I. Creating an Arts and Cultural Foundation of Working Artist

II. Economic Impact on Newburyport

III. Ecological Impact from Merchant Community Gardens

IV. Historic Significance; The Revival of Mechanics Row  

I.  Creating an Arts/Cultural "Center" of Working Artist     The ultimate goal is multifaceted

  • Provide affordable space in prime retail areas for local artisans to produce and sell their goods.
  • Revenue received from artisan space rentals on a  basis, will then be regenerated into Restoration of the courtyards, tree beds and expanded gardens.
  • Stimulate and contribute to downtown shopping economics by drawing traffic and creating an arts & cultural destination point for tourist as well as the local community

    Newburyport has been in dire need of a ‘foundation’, an ‘artisans market place’, to define its working artist that make up the co creative community of Newburyport. 

In late 2013, Newburyport became the 19th community in the Commonwealth to receive a “Cultural Designation”. The Artisans Revival is a movement to reconnect “the spirit, soul and lifestyle of the 'true working artist' to that of the community, its culture, and history. It is a significant part of the foundation for a 'Cultural District' built on local, co-creative small business, sustainable economics, and ecology”.   By better utilizing the areas of Inn Street and its courtyards, the city can achieve its goal of providing local artisan space {City Master Plan of 2017}  in the heart of the Downtown Overlay District. 

Salem has its Artist Row.
Rockport has its' Bearskin Neck.
Gloucester has its' Art Colony.
Newburyport can have its' Artisans Market. 

II.  Economic Impact on Newburyport

  Over the past three years, beginning with its creation during Yankee Homecoming in 2016, the Inn Street Artisans Revival has demonstrated the viability of an ‘arts’ based, co creative, economic contributions to the brick and mortar retailers of the surrounding areas by conducting local art based shows and distinguishing between a more commercial and corporate sponsored festivals by declaring ‘commercial free zones’ on Inn Street. This is the foundation for an Inn Street Artisan Market.
   The cities festivals, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, have become synonymous with ‘commercial vending’ to the point in which retail outlets no longer see the benefits of an art based culture demographic. By doing so, we have deterred a vast number of visitors to the area that have come to see and expect such over the years.
   82% of Americans believe arts & culture are important to local businesses and the economy. 87% of Americans believe arts & culture are important to quality of life.*
* Source: Americans for the Arts 2016 survey of 3,020 adults by Ipsos Public AffairsAMERICANS FOR THE ARTS ; Established in 1960, is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Arts businesses are rooted locally— supporting jobs that cannot be shipped overseas. Arts & Economic Prosperity sends an important message to community leaders: Support for the arts is an investment in economic well-being and quality of life. Nationally as well as locally, the arts mean business!     More locally, we have the Essex County Community Foundation;
The Creative County Initiative (CCI) mobilizes our region's artists, arts organizations and community and business leaders to collectively enhance the quality of life in Essex County. Our vision is to increase the visibility and impact of the transformative power of arts and culture.  By doing this, we can:

  • Create a regional voice for arts and culture in Essex County. 
  • Transform our cities and towns by promoting the importance of arts and culture in community development. 
  • Increase arts and cultural experiences that celebrate diversity, bring about social equity and ensure inclusion for all in the arts. 
  • Support artists and the creative economy.
  • Elevate Essex County as a vibrant, creative place to live and work. 

III. Ecological Impact of Inn Street; Merchant Community Garden  

The Inn Street Artisan Market Proposal allows Newburyport the opportunity of designing and incorporating an Artisan Merchant Sponsored Community Garden by restoring its tree beds and expanding them into garden beds, based on the principles of Permaculture. Rain barrels could also be incorporated into the tiny studio structures.
This principle of gardening and greening could serve as an "urban model" for transforming a “brick and cement backdrop” (Palette) Inn Street into a garden like recreational/educational, and experiential area, designed to demonstrate the vital link between local sustainable ecology and local, co-creative arts based/culture economy.     By taking advantage of the layout, the area can be transformed into a garden like recreational area, designed to provide additional benches for sitting, creating a relaxed atmosphere within the market area itself.
 This vision of the Inn Street Artisan market has an opportunity to serve, expand and demonstrate as an alternative educational model for future movements to other urban city settings dedicated to a regional movement of sustainable communities invested in the arts, a local economy, and cultural engagement. 

IV Historic Significance of Mechanics Row

   As far back as the early 1700’s master craftsmen, cobblers, and the like, began operating and creating apprenticeships outside their own houses by building small dwellings as amendments to their homes. These small dwellings began to congregate on places like Mechanics Row and the Newburyport waterfront. This was the beginning of one of the greatest local industries that proliferated out of the entire New England region, the shoe industry.     On the eve of May 31st, 1811, a fire broke out in Newburyport in an ‘unoccupied horses stable” on ‘Mechanics Row”, which we now know as Inn Street. The fire wiped out over 16 acres and 250 buildings downtown, including all of Mechanics Row. At the time of the early 1800’s the term “Mechanics’ did not refer to automobiles or motor engines. Its referred to artisans, merchants, general laborers, or more specifically ‘architectural engineers”.      After the fire and due to the Brick Acts of 1811 and 1812 that stated, any building constructed over ten feet high needed to be made of brick and clay. These ‘small dwellings' congregated downtown, on the waterfront, and  began to proliferate up the river and beyond, was then on to become known as ‘ten footers’.     The Artisans Revival began three years ago to revive the local artisan and restore its role in a local co creative economy, at a time when surrounding developer business models do not support small business.
  Commercial and corporate sponsorship have replaced local art based culture oriented festivals. The local art scene that was once so prevalent in Newburyport has all but disappeared.
  By collaborating and integrating both a downtown and waterfront artisan program, the Newburyport Artisan Village could return to its inherent destiny and restore Mechanics Row literally from the ashes of over two hundred years of Newburyport’s history, and its major contributions to some of the most prominent industries of the country leading up to the Industrial Revolution.     This restoration project has the economic and cultural Trans-formative impact to not only rival the first urban restoration project of the 60’s and seventies, but in many ways, completes it.      The first federal urban restoration project that began in 1976 may have restored the buildings, but the Newburyport Artisan Village and the Restoration of Mechanics Row restores the spirit, soul, and lifestyle of the earliest artisans, merchants and craftsmen, the origins of which built a new nation.

 “America is the house of the individual soul and that soul is creative.That soul is an artist of reality." Dawn of a new dayJon Rappaport