Beverly, MA

Contact Name
Jo Broderick
Project Dates
June 2012-ongoing
Tags
Event, Design, Business Planning, Networking, Workforce Development
Montserrat College of Art is taking a multi-pronged approach to increase awareness of the Creative Economy in the region, and to partner with and bring resources from other organizations to increase opportunities for those working in the creative community.

Montserrat has assumed leadership of CEANS (Creative Economy Association of the North Shore)and will increase educational opportunities to the 3,000-member mailing list.

With a partner, the college has begun offering the Artists Professional Toolbox to increase business acumen of working artists.

With Beverly Main Streets and the City of Beverly, the college has received an NEA grant to plan for an arts and cultural district in downtown Beverly.

Also working with state agencies to increase opportunities for creative industries.
Project Goals
What were the project goals?
The college provides cultural resources to the City of Beverly and the region through its public programming and intends to expand its outreach and offer more educational opportunities to those working in the creative economy. Working with the Office of State Creative Industry Director Helena Fruscio and others, the college is targeting efforts to provide assistance to sectors of the creative economy by attempting to bring specific resources and create collaborations to provide a framework of programs and opportunities for artists, artisans and those in creative fields.
Have they changed over time?
Yes, plans continue to evolve, improve and become more refined as we connect with more agencies and learn about more opportunities and resources to bring to bear.
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
There are several for the different projects. The National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Beverly, Beverly Main Streets, Comnmunity Partners Consultants and Urban Arts are all working on the cultural district in Beverly.
The Creative Industry Director, the Enterprise Center in Salem and the Salem Partnership (among others) plan to bring together financing agencies and other offices, businesses and agencies with specific expertise as we begin to focus on individual sectors of the creative economy, film being first.
The Artist Professional Toolbox brings to Montserrat the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston to help working artists improve their career success by teaching business skills.
In collaboration with the Salem Alliance, Salem Partnership, Enterprise Center at Salem State University and Montserat, the Creative Economy Association of the North Shore was relaunched in June 2012.
Project Specifics
How was the project implemented? What were the steps taken?
The new focus on creative economy began when the college assumed leadership of the CEANS organization. Through meetings with potential collaborators including state offices, the college is continually seeking new partners to help lead programs to increase the awareness of the Creative Economy in the Region, to assist individuals working in the sector to network and meet each other and create new links for business to business opportunities by expanding the organization's reach. Realizing the strength these linkages could create, the team began increasing its outreach to other possible collaborators and continues to seek new opportunities as more information emerges about what is necessary to make a creative business thrive.
Have they been refined over time?
The approach has been opportunistic as we learn more which points us in new directions and to new potential partners as things evolve.
Obstacles
What were your major obstacles?
Funding for staff to do research, update database lists (for CEANS) project and to continually plan for next steps.
The staff working on these projects has many other responsibilities, so the flow of the work can not be kept consistent.
Funding for implementation of the Arts and Cultural District is not in place and we will have to apply for more grants to bring the project to fruition.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
A small grant helped fund a CEANS event; an NEA grant is helping fund the planning for the Arts and Cultural District.
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
Network within your communities to learn as much as you can about who is out there doing what.
Take advantage of opportunities and knowledge at state offices.
Try and find actionable steps to move the project from conceptual to one with deliverables.
Project Impact
How has this project contributed to creative community building?
Yes, through public meetings and networking meetings, people have provided feedback and met each other to possibly form other new collaborations not imagined previously.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
This is still a work in progress, so I would not say original goals have been achieved, but step by step we are creating awareness of the importance and relevance of the creative sector, and once the cultural district planning is completed, we can apply for an implementation grant.
Were there unexpected impacts?
As meetings continue and new partners are brought in, the college is being envisioned as the area leader in the arts and is seen as an institution with influence in the arts and the preisdent is viewed as a spokesman for the arts agenda.