August 9, 2022
Michael Bobbitt, Dar Williams Headline Essex County Arts & Culture Summit

ECCF celebrates five years of Creative County at The Cabot on Sept. 30

Beverly, MA — Hundreds of artists and community leaders will converge upon The Cabot on Sept. 30 to celebrate five years of the Creative County Initiative, Essex County Community Foundation’s support for a strong creative ecosystem in Essex County that is sustainable, equitable and accessible for all.

Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Michael Bobbitt; singer-songwriter and author Dar Williams; and Afro-Latin dance specialist Ana Masacote are among the featured headliners of the day-long event, which aims to bring together cross-sector arts and culture stakeholders for thought-provoking discussions, live performances and networking.

“We are thrilled about this year’s incredible lineup of speakers, performers and arts leaders,” said Karen Ristuben, program director for Creative County. “After a two-year hiatus, we’re eager and excited to bring back this countywide gathering that connects the many people that play a role in arts and culture in Essex County.”

San San Wong of the Barr Foundation; spoken word artist Michelle Poetica and officials from North Shore Children’s Museum, formerly CuriousCity, the children’s museum in Peabody funded in 2019 by Creative County, are also included in the Summit lineup, as is a Lynn-focused panel made up of arts and municipal leaders representing the incredible partnerships and community-centered work happening in the city. Additional speakers and performers will be announced in the weeks leading up to the event.

Limited registration for optional Beverly arts tours – which will take place immediately following the Summit and will focus on architecture, art galleries and the Beverly free wall – will open Aug. 15.

The Summit, which was last held in the fall of 2019 and attracted over 400 artists and nonprofit and community leaders, is an opportunity for anyone invested or interested in arts and culture in Essex County to join likeminded community members for an inspiring day of learning, connection and collaboration.

Attendees will learn how to apply for future collaborative public art grants, place-based project funding and support for under-resourced artists and cultural groups beginning in early 2023. Since its inception, Creative County has awarded nearly $700,000 in partnership grants to support creative partnerships that have revitalized communities, made art more accessible and highlighted our region’s rich cultural history.

Those who attend will receive updates on Creative County, learn about its work to advance racial equity, hear plans for future investment areas and have opportunities to connect with peers and experts who champion arts and creativity as business, philanthropic and local government allies.

“The Summit is a hotbed for creative energy,” said Ristuben. “It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and strike up conversations. The potential for collaboration is huge and we can’t wait to see the innovative ideas and partnerships that grow from the event.”

Registration for the Summit, which is available in both English and Spanish, is open now at Contact CCI Program Director Karen Ristuben at for more information about a needs-based registration waiver.

If You Go

What: Essex County Arts & Culture Summit
Who: Hosted by Creative County at Essex County Community Foundation
Where: The Cabot, 286 Cabot St., Beverly
When: Sept. 30, 2022 | 9am – 2pm | Breakfast and lunch included
Tickets: $25;

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