My Efforts to Increase Cultural Funding in the Valley

By: State Rep. Ryan Hamilton

The Merrimack Valley is home to some of our Commonwealth’s finest arts and culture organizations.

As the State Representative for Methuen and Haverhill, I can tour many of these historic landmarks and cultural attractions. This month, I want to highlight some of the significant events and projects underway in our community.

September started strong with the 100th anniversary Feast of Three Saints in Lawrence, hosted by St. Alfio’s Society. Dating back to the arrival of Sicilian-Italian immigrants in the late 1800s to early 1900s, Greater Lawrence has been a hub for Italian Americans across the region to come together and celebrate their shared heritage and religion.

I have been going to the Feast for as long as I can remember. It is a great way to celebrate the Merrimack Valley’s rich Italian heritage and see friends and family on Labor Day weekend. The start of the month also saw the 51st Annual Lebanese Mahrajan Festival and the Bread and Roses Heritage Festival in Lawrence. I can remember going to the Mahrajan festival when they had it in Methuen.

Between the food, music, and rich Lebanese culture, it is one of my favorite events of the year. Then, to top it off, we celebrate those in the labor movement who have done so much for working people with the Bread and Roses festival. Whether honoring our region’s rich labor history or learning more about the many cultures across the Merrimack Valley, this time of year is an excellent opportunity for residents to connect with their roots and explore something new.

On the state level, I am proud to partner with my delegation members in the House and Senate to uplift our region as a growing destination for arts and culture. In early September, I toured the Haverhill Center for Historic New England, an organization dedicated to collecting and preservation of essential artifacts, objects, and stories from throughout New England’s vibrant history.

Coupled with the $25,000 in funding I secured for Creative Haverhill’s Cogswell ArtSpace in the FY24 budget, I am confident that the city of Haverhill, along with our region at large, will continue to grow into a must-see spot for tourists and residents alike. The economic potentials of the Merrimack Valley are unparalleled – and I look forward to helping foster this future for all of us.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any ideas, concerns, or questions at or 617-722-2090. ◊