Leading Change. Transforming Communities.

Creative County Initiative

Creative County Initiative

Art inspires us. It spurs us to innovate and drives us to imagine the impossible. 
Culture grounds us. It connects us to our past, brings us together and lifts us up. 


The Creative County Initiative (CCI) presents an opportunity to mobilize 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 vibrancy of our communities by investing in 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. 

In partnership with the Barr Foundation's Creative Commonwealth Initiative, ECCF will lead this two-year pilot initiative, providing more than $750,000 in funding. 


The Barr Foundation is a leading Boston-based organization investing in human, natural and creative potential. they advance arts and creativity in the Commonwealth thorugh grantmaking, building capacity, establishing cross-sector partnerships, reaching diverse under-resourced communities and cultivating arts donors. 


This initiative will SUPPORT:

1. $500,000 in GRANTS: Planning, Public Art & Creative Placemaking

With support from the Barr Foundation and ECCF's donors, funding will be available in three distinct areas over the two-year alternative:

  • Local Cultural Plan Workshops/Toolkits - one-day workshops (offered to each city/town in the county and in partnership with Metropolitan Area Planning Council) to facilitate local cultural planning partnerships
  • Creative Placemaking Grants - funding that encourages creative placemaking in communities
  • Public Art Grants - fudning for interactive public art projects that connect people thorugh a shared experience

Look for details on these grant opportunities, with eligibility and timelines, on this page in the coming weeks. 


An annual countywide summit will bring together artists, nonprofits, businesses and municipal leaders, donors and the general community to learn, connect and collaborate furing a full day of meaningful discussion, workshops and networking. 

Save the Date for the first Arts & Culture Summit on April 13th, 9-3pm in Beverly!


A regional online website and calendar will allow artists and organizations to promote their events and activities directly to the general public. This platform will foster resource sharing and communication across the arts community: public art forums, resource tools, classifieds and more. 

www.EssexCountyCreates.org will launch in April 2018. 


A countywide arts and culture plan will connect our 34 cities and towns thorugh our shared values and heritage, improving the quality of life in Essex County. This plan with "map" our region's arts and cultural assets, create a vision for cultural tourism and connect our coastal, city and rural communities through arts and culture. A cultural plan will leverage these assets into measurable economic impact. 

ECCF and a group of thought leaders, led by an experienced consultant, will develop a regional cultural plan in 2018-2019.