ECCF Awards $300,000 for Arts & Culture Projects

July 31, 2018

ECCF Awards $300,000 for Arts and Culture Projects

Original Article from
July 31, 2018


ECCF Awards $300,000 for Arts and Culture Projects

Essex County Community Foundation, in partnership with the Barr Foundation, has awarded grants to 11 creative partnerships with plans to serve Essex County communities through public art and creative placemaking projects.

The grants, which total $300,000 and will fund arts and culture projects from Lynn to Newburyport, are part of ECCF’s Creative County Initiative (CCI), a groundbreaking collaboration with Barr designed to elevate the region’s arts and culture sector and support creative expression and our local creative economy.

The 11 grantees were selected from an impressive pool of over 40 applicants from cities and towns all over Essex County.
“We were so very pleased with the number and quality of applications for our first-ever round of collaborative arts funding,” said Beth Francis, ECCF’s president and CEO. “These applications demonstrate the need and desire for artists, nonprofits and community leaders to engage and connect through the transformative power of arts and culture.”

“We are so fortunate to be working with the Barr Foundation to fulfill this need in our cities and towns, where arts and culture define such a large part of who we are,” she added.

ECCF is part of a cohort of five Massachusetts community foundations working with Barr as part of their Creative Commonwealth Initiative, developed to leverage the unique potential of community foundations to strengthen arts and creativity across the state and help the creative sector become more sustainable, equitable and accessible.

“We want artists and arts and cultural organizations to know their contributions to our cities and towns are so vital to the health and well-being of Essex County,” said Karen Ristuben, program director for CCI, currently a two-year pilot project. “And because there is a collaborative requirement for these grants, we’re also sending the message that supporting and sustaining arts and culture is really up to all of us, community and business leaders, municipalities, artists and nonprofit organizations.”

In addition to evidence of strong collaboration, the review committee sought projects that have the potential to strengthen the region’s arts and cultural infrastructure; sustain creative activity; create a sense of community; celebrate diversity; foster social, economic or cultural equities and create points of connection across the region.

“We received so many unique, innovative and incredibly well-thought-out grant proposals, and our dedicated committee of 20 people reviewed all of them and made 16 site visits to learn how each proposal would have an impact,” said Francis. “All of our volunteers were so passionate about the grants process.”

The grantmaking program is just one part of the Creative County Initiative, which also includes funding for a bi-annual arts and culture summit, cultural planning (countywide and for individual cities and towns) and for, a new online arts calendar and resource hub focused on promoting Essex County’s creative sector.

“The Creative County Initiative is an opportunity to inspire and be inspired, to spur innovation and bring us together,” said Francis. “ECCF truly believes in the transformative power of art and culture and we look forward to partnering with each of the collaborations to see their visions come to life.”

“More importantly,” she added, “We are excited to see how our local communities are impacted and improved through the power of arts and culture.”

To learn more about Essex County Community Foundation’s Creative County Initiative please visit


ECCF’s Creative County Initiative 2018 Grant Recipients

North Shore CDC/Punto Urban Art Museum, $30,000 for Voices of Our Past, The Face of Our Future: Public Art Builds Bridges in El Punto, a collaborative public art initiative that will celebrate the immigrant population of the Point Neighborhood of Salem.
Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness, Inc., $28,500 for Sharing the Original Culture of Essex County, which will expand Native American pow-wows to Haverhill, Danvers and Hamilton for greater engagement and cultural understanding.
Pentucket Arts Foundation, $29,000 for Hometown, a one-month artist residency for a community tape art project that will engage, unite and strengthen the art sector of the Pentucket communities of West Newbury, Merrimac and Groveland.
Neighborhood Development Associates/Beyond Walls, $28,000 for Our Patio: A Public Parklets Program, four transformable parklets designed to activate underutilized spaces, improve public safety, and engender public discourse at various locations in downtown Lynn.
Sculpture in Open Spaces, $30,000 for The Switch Rideable Sculpture Park, a fine art sculpture park that will serve as a space for public creativity, designed and constructed by young artist-fabricators on town-owned land in Ipswich.

Peabody Cultural Collaborative, $28,000 for CuriousCity: A Pop-Up Children’s Museum, an interactive museum of art and industry for families and children in Peabody that will boost local economic development and activate support for a permanent museum.

Montserrat College of Art, $30,000 for Crossing Water: Over, On and Under the Beverly-Salem Bridge, a one-week festival in activated space under the Beverly/Salem bridge with lighting, performances and public art to connect the creative and waterfront communities of Beverly and Salem.
The Cabot, $16,500 for Transforming The Cabot With Murals, a collaboration with Beyond Walls to install murals to enhance visibility of The Cabot and downtown Beverly as a cultural destination.
Firehouse Center for the Arts, $30,000 for Newburyport Arts and Culture Shanty Program, through which community members will build four shanties for artists, writers and performers to produce and present work on the Newburyport waterfront to enhance community engagement with and support for the arts sector.
Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum, $25,000 for By Skiff and Basket: Clamming in Essex, which will highlight the history of clam harvesting in Essex through the building of a historic clamming skiff with at-risk NEC students, collecting oral histories of Essex boat-builders and leading basket-making workshops for the community.
Elevated Thought Foundation, Inc., $25,000 for Co-Creating Culture, a public art installation at the Lawrence Public Library that will celebrate the diverse cultures of Lawrence and will highlight the Library as a cultural convener.