February 12, 2024
Artists, nonprofit leaders, educators among new cohort of ECCF Creative County ChangeMakers

Danvers, MA — Essex County Community Foundation’s investment in a growing group of creative leaders is supporting a more inclusive and sustainable arts and culture ecosystem across the region.

Since 2021, the ECCF Creative County ChangeMakers program has graduated 33 cross-sector creatives who have supported each other and inspired their communities to think differently about the role arts and culture plays in our collective lives.

The 2024 cohort, which includes teachers, actors, media professionals, musicians and civic and nonprofit leaders – among others – is no exception.

“We have an incredible group of participants this year,” said Creative County Program Director Karen Ristuben. “They are innovative, energetic and eager to begin their journey with ChangeMakers and we can’t wait to see where they take it.”

Ristuben leads the ChangeMakers program with Lisa Miller-Gillespie, a 2021 ChangeMaker graduate and executive director of the Greater Lawrence Fellowship of the Arts, and communications consultant Danielle Coates-Connor. From March through October, the group will be immersed in facilitated and project-based learning, peer networking and leadership trainings.

“ChangeMakers is really focused on building trusted relationships,” said Ristuben. “At the end of the eight-month program, these leaders from across the county are connected in ways that they weren’t before. These new connections lead to partnerships, collaborations, idea-sharing and a stronger, more impactful ecosystem for arts and culture.”

ChangeMakers also receive a small grant to seed community-based projects, which in past years have included an art exhibit curated by and featuring BIPOC artists in Lawrence, a community gathering focused on public art in Lynn and trainings in Haverhill to educate municipal leaders about the importance of art and culture in city planning.

“ChangeMaker graduates are really making a lasting impact in their communities,” said Ristuben.

The 2024 ChangeMakers are:

Michael Bastian, founder, Bastien Media Group; founder, Brothers in Arms, Inc., a community-based support group for men, Lawrence.

Luisa Boverini, enrichment director, SPUR, Inc., a nonprofit that connects people with meaningful volunteer opportunities, Marblehead.

Loida Dominguez, singer-songwriter and founder, InPower Love Coaching, which helps to empower women, Methuen.

Noah Greenstein, actor, director and theatre arts teacher, Urban Bridges, Inc., a nonprofit that empowers women and youth through a variety of services, Haverhill.

Sunil Gulab, visual artist and founder, Lynn Summer Arts Festival.

Jenn Houle, visual artist specializing in public art focused on the environment, Merrimac.

Hailey Moschella, co-head of school, Wisteria Montessori School; director, Haverhill Art Walk, Haverhill.

Cristian Recinos, director, United Lynn Pride and Lynn Cultural Council.

Edward Speck, actor, director and artistic director, Theater in the Open, Newburyport.

Jeff Surette, vice president, Danvers Art Association; art teacher, Danvers High School,

Annette Sykes, visual artist and director, Gallery at LynnArts, Lynn.

Sal Zerilli, filmmaker, sociologist and founder, Awesome Gloucester and Awesome Rockport.

The 2024 ChangeMakers begin their eight-month journey in March 2024.

About ECCF

The mission of Essex County Community Foundation is to inspire philanthropy that strengthens the communities of Essex County. We do this by managing charitable assets, strengthening and supporting nonprofits and engaging in strategic community leadership. In 25 years, ECCF and its growing family of 300+ charitable funds have granted $169 million to nonprofits, schools and students in Essex County and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to have 34 thriving cities and towns in Essex County and to improve the quality of life for the region’s 800,000+ residents. Learn more at eccf.org.  

About Creative County

ECCF is committed to supporting a strong ecosystem for arts, culture and creative enterprise that is sustainable, equitable and accessible to all. The Creative County Initiative is ECCF’s investment in the creative people, places and partnerships that make Essex County such a vibrant place to live and work. Learn more at eccf.org/arts-and-culture/.

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