FALL RIVER – The Fall River Arts & Culture Coalition starts the new year with a new face at the helm, hiring Ashley Occhino to be the group’s executive director. The position is a new one for FRACC, which was formed in 2019 and is a collaborative, member-based organization dedicated to advancing arts and culture in Fall River. Occhino was most recently the Executive Director of the New Bedford Art Museum and will officially assume her duties in Fall River on Jan. 18. She will be based at the Fall River office of One SouthCoast Chamber, which acts as the fiscal agent for the Coalition.
“It is my pleasure to welcome Ashley Occhino to the Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition’s team,” said Kathy Castro, co-chair of FRAAC. “The City stands poised for an Arts Renaissance, and I can think of no one better to lead this movement than Ashley. The experience and knowledge she brings will take us to new levels of growth in serving our arts organizations and independent artists. Working together, there is so much we can accomplish.”
In early November 2021, FRACC held a launch event for the City’s first Arts & Culture Plan, commissioned by the group in late 2020 and completed in 2021 by the hired consultancy, CivicMoxie, a planning, urban design, and placemaking group located in Brookline, MA. As Executive Director, Occhino will be tasked with shepherding the implementation of the multi-year plan and will be pivotal in FRACC toward its goal of fostering a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable creative economy in the city.
“I am energized by the opportunity to lead the Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition, especially at this pivotal juncture when there is so much work to be done,” said Occhino. “I’ve spent 15 years working steadily to advance the missions of the organizations I was lucky enough to be a part of during crucial moments in each of their histories. I view the role of Executive Director as a privilege. It is the chance to play a supportive role in empowering and championing the work of other arts leaders and creatives as they strive to overcome challenges, embrace opportunities, and fulfill shared visions for the betterment of their community and the ongoing transformative power of the arts.”
FRACC’s membership is comprised of nearly 100 committed individuals, including artists, craftspeople, and creatives, as well as representatives from a wide variety of organizations and civic groups who recognize and believe in the power of arts and culture to bolster local economies and spur revitalization. There is no fee to join and monthly meetings, which are open to all, are held on the 2nd Monday of each month at 5 pm at rotating member locations. To attend or join the group, please email [email protected]
This article originally appeared on The Herald News: Fall River Arts & Culture Coalition names Ashley Occhino as new director