ECCF Releases Details of New $1.3 Million Investment in Arts

Sep 27, 2019Arts & Culture, Press Release

Essex County Community Foundation announced today the details of a new $1.3 million investment in arts, culture and the creative ecosystem in Essex County.

This new investment – the result of a $1 million grant from the Boston-based Barr Foundation and supplemented by $300,000 from ECCF – expands on the pilot phase of ECCF’s Creative County Initiative, the Foundation’s systems approach to elevating arts and culture in Essex County. The funding includes support for collaborative public art and creative placemaking grants, cultural planning, capacity-building for artists and arts organizations, the continuation of a regional arts summit, creative Think Labs and more.

The announcement comes as hundreds of artists and nonprofit and community leaders gather this morning at The Cabot in Beverly for the 2019 Essex County Arts & Culture Summit, the second such summit produced by ECCF as part of the Creative County Initiative.

“We are thrilled that the hard work our communities have collectively engaged in to develop systems for arts and culture to thrive has led to another round of funding for our Creative County Initiative,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “Arts and culture are so important for strong, connected communities and we are grateful to the Barr Foundation for leading this charge across the state.”

Essex County Community Foundation is one of five community foundations across Massachusetts to receive funding through Barr’s Creative Commonwealth Initiative. Barr announced their continued support of the cohort in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Community Foundation is playing an increasingly vital role as a regional convener and champion of artists and arts organizations, and it is exciting for us to invest in the evolution of their work and impact,” said Barr’s Director of Arts & Creativity E. San San Wong

Phase 2 Funding from Barr – which ECCF announced late last week – will support the Foundation’s ambitious three-year extension of the Creative County Initiative, which was initially funded with a $500,000 grant from Barr – alongside $250,000 raised by ECCF – in late 2017. Pilot phase successes included 12 collaborative public art projects; local and regional cultural planning initiatives, the creation of, a regional arts and culture calendar, and more.

Detailed plans for the second phase of Creative County, which will take place from 2020-2022, include:

Collaborative Projects: ECCF will invest over $400,000 in new creative placemaking and public art projects encouraging partnerships between the arts, municipal, business and philanthropic sectors.

Cultural Planning: ECCF will invest more than $250,000 in cultural planning initiatives that create better conditions for the arts sector to thrive.

Communications & Connectivity: ECCF will invest $200,000 in to connect artists, organizations and consumers; and new communications strategies to amplify the value of arts and culture in our region.

Capacity Building: ECCF will invest $250,000 in capacity-building trainings in the critical areas of financial management; partnership development; diversity, equity, inclusion and access; marketing; and audience development.

Convenings: ECCF will invest $200,000 to engage hundreds of people at a 2021 Arts & Culture Summit and at four Think Labs, bringing people together to incubate ideas in emerging areas affecting the creative sector.

Further details on these plans can be found at
“For the last two years, ECCF has relied heavily on a strong collective vision for arts and culture in Essex County and on intentional collaboration,” said ECCF COO and Vice President for Community Leadership Stratton Lloyd. “The only way Creative County will continue to thrive, grow and produce even greater impact is through regional engagement, and we look forward to what we will do collectively over the next three years to transform our communities through art and culture.”


To learn more about how you can get involved and spread the word about the Creative County Initiative, please visit