In the last year in Essex County, we’ve experienced the incredible impact that collaborative public art and creative placemaking has on our communities: an interactive children’s museum in Peabody, a laser and sound installation highlighting the immigrant voices of Salem and an expansion of Native American pow wows to Haverhill, Danvers and Hamilton, just to name a few.
“All over Essex County, these experiences have brought people together, transformed public places and underscored the role arts and culture play in the vitality and connectedness of our cities and towns,” said Karen Ristuben, program director for Essex County Community Foundation’s Creative County Initiative (CCI).
CCI, a partnership with the Barr Foundation and additional funders, is ECCF’s commitment to supporting a strong ecosystem for arts, culture and creative enterprise that is sustainable, equitable and accessible for all in our region. During the CCI pilot phased, launched in 2017, together we invested $750,000 to strengthen creativity in Essex County. And CCI has made a significant impact in four key areas: collaborative art, cultural planning, the Essex County Arts and Culture Summit and EssexCountyCreates.org, the first regional online platform for artists and cultural organizations.
On Sept. 27, ECCF announced the details of its plan to invest an additional $1.3 million in arts and culture in Essex County. This second phase of CCI will last through 2022.
More than $400,000 of this investment will support a second round of public art and creative placemaking grants. Similar in scope to arts and culture projects funded in 2018, 2020 grants will be awarded to a lead nonprofit organization that represents a partnership between the arts, municipal, business and philanthropic sectors.
“Work in the creative sector can often be siloed, and that can hinder the kind of transformational creativity we need in our communities,” said Ristuben. “By encouraging these cross-sector partnerships, we are beginning to break down those barriers and expand the lens through which we see ourselves and each other.”
For the 2020 grant cycle, CCI will provide funding in the range of $10,000 to $25,000 for projects to be completed by Dec. 31, 2021. Among other outcomes, ECCF anticipates these collaborative projects will help to deepen engagement and investment in the creative sector, and enhance the visibility, reputation and new funding avenues for the arts.
Projects in all creative genres are encouraged, and the CCI grants review committee will look for proposals that foster collaboration, build relationships, inspire pride of place, support the creative economy, ignite community engagement and more.
Full funding guidelines are available now on the ECCF website. The grants portal for submitting applications will open in early January.
“We were able to fund 12 amazing and impactful public art and creative placemaking projects during CCI’s pilot phase, and we can’t wait to see the proposals that come in during this next round,” said Ristuben. “To be able to see firsthand the creativity and collaboration coming out of our region is really an honor.”
Click here to learn more about Phase 2 of Essex County Community Foundation’s Creative County Initiative. Sign up for our CCI mailing list to receive important news and updates related to Creative County.