CreativeGround is:

  • A free, regional directory of cultural nonprofits, creative businesses, and artists of all disciplines. It can be used by creative professionals AND the public to explore the catalysts of the creative economy in their community and region
  • A common online space for artists, creative businesses, and cultural nonprofits to describe their work, create a gallery of their creations, and connect with those they’ve worked with in the past

If you represent the profile as an owner, staff person, or board member, scroll to the bottom of the profile and click on the "Request management of this profile" link.

If you had a profile that you managed in or CultureCount, the user account you used to update those profiles is already in CreativeGround. Just go to the log in page and reset your password if it's your first time logging in.

If you do not represent the profile but want to provide an update, scroll to the bottom of the profile and click on the "Submit a suggestion for this profile" link. 

No problem! Please use the Contact Us form to send a message to the CreativeGround Team at NEFA. We will respond to you directly and, if appropriate, add the answer to the FAQs.

  • 6 States: this counts the six New England states from which all listings on CreativeGround originate (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont). Anyone from any state can have a user account on CreativeGround, but only artists, creative businesses, and cultural nonprofits from New England can have profiles, as the site is a regional resource.
  • 54 Types of Creative Institutions and Businesses: these types are the rough categories NEFA uses to represent the diversity of institutions and businesses active in the creative economy today (you can see all of them in Enhanced Options under Search).
  • 108 Disciplines: these are the rough categories NEFA uses to represent the diversity of disciplines in which work contributing to the creative economy can be performed (you can see all of them in Enhanced Options under Search).
  • 8241 Connections: every profile has a "I Have Worked With..." section where profile owners can list the artists, creative businesses, and cultural nonprofits with which they have worked or collaborated. If both parties have profiles on CreativeGround, a connection is established between the two. This is a quick way to gauge the level of connectivity and collaboration in the region's creative economy being captured by the site. This number is updated quarterly.
  • $8.4 billion Economic Impact Per Year: from NEFA's research publication New England's Creative Economy: Nonprofit Sector Impact (September 2011), one of the many products of NEFA's extensive research on the creative economy (you can learn more here).

These professional development resources such as events and articles for artists, cultural nonprofits, and creative businesses will be posted periodically on NEFA's blog. If you have a professional development opportunity to share, please email it to

NEFA commissions the raw IRS Form 990 data for New England arts and culture nonprofits from the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Constituents may request a spreadsheet of aggregate financial data for specific geographic areas and institution types by emailing

CreativeGround logos are made available for download on the Get Involved page. Use of the CreativeGround logo itself is sufficient crediting when linking to the site. When referring to all other information derived from CreativeGround, the following notice can be used: “New England Foundation for the Arts/CreativeGround”

The data archived by CreativeGround is made available for non-commercial purposes only. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use for detailed information regarding NEFA's policies on data use. Images contained in this site are not to be downloaded or otherwise reproduced without direct permission of the owner or copyright holder.

Permission to reproduce text for commercial use must be obtained from NEFA in writing prior to reproduction. All requests should be directed to

Profile Features and Fields

When CreativeGround was launched, most of the profiles from two of NEFA's older sites ( and CultureCount) were migrated to the new platform. All of the profiles on were user-generated, but CultureCount contained a far wider variety of creative economy data from publicly available sources and databases. This includes the directories of NEFA, the NEA, the New England state arts agencies, the New England Library Association, and arts/culture nonprofit organizations that file an IRS Form 990 from the National Center for Charitable Statistics. If you represent a cultural nonprofit or creative business as a staff member, owner, or board member, you are encouraged to add a profile to CreativeGround or update an existing one. Start by clicking 'Get Listed' on the homepage.

  • Nonprofit - Independent: a federally registered nonprofit with a Federal Employer ID Number (EIN).
  • Nonprofit - Unincorporated: an independent nonprofit organization that is not federally registered.
  • Nonprofit - Embedded in a non-cultural public agency: an agency or department that is part of a government entity. For example, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.
  • Nonprofit - Embedded in cultural public agency: a unit within a larger municipal or state cultural department.
  • Nonprofit - Embedded in non-cultural private organization: a cultural unit of a non-cultural nonprofit. For example, a dance department in a university.
  • Nonprofit - Embedded in a cultural private organization: a subdivision of a cultural nonprofit.
  • Commercial Business - Cooperative: a business or organization that is owned and run jointly by its members, who share the profits or benefits.
  • Commercial Business - Corporation: a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law.
  • Commercial Business - Partnership: an association of two or more people who take part in a business or company with shared risks and profits.
  • Commercial Business - Sole Proprietorship: an unincorporated business owned by a single person who is responsible for its liabilities and entitled to its profits.


On the surface, the three CreativeGround profile types (Artist, Creative Business, and Cultural Nonprofit) are self-explanatory. However, some select users like artist companies or town arts committees, may have difficulty determining to which category they belong. Indeed, there is some inevitable overlap between these distinctions, because artists are of course also creative businesses. Generally, you may apply the following rules:

  • The Artist profile type encompasses individual artists and artist companies/groups.
  • The Creative Business profile type encompasses more traditional commerical entitities that sell services or products (and are typically incorporated)
  • The Cultural Nonprofit profile type encompasses nonprofits and government agencies.

It is important to note that profile type is only a top-level categorization and additional distinctions can be drawn according to the Legal Status and Institution/Business Type of a profile.

When CreativeGround was launched, most of the profiles from two of NEFA's older sites ( and CultureCount) were migrated to the new platform. All of the profiles on were user-generated, but CultureCount contained a far wider variety of creative economy data from publicly available sources and databases. This includes the directories of the New England state arts agencies. Some users, particularly those who work for or are otherwise professionally associated with organizations, may find that there is already a profile for them on CreativeGround. If so, they can click the "Request management of this profile" link on the profile and, after administrator approval, they will be able to manage and edit that profile.

Compelling images are an important part of any online representation of your work and/or your organization. There are two places on your CreativeGround profile where you can upload images. The first is the profile image, which is the main photo on your profile and will be displayed alongside your profile name in search results. This photo can be no larger than 1MB and it is recommended that it be 325x250 pixels in size. The second place you can upload photos is to your media gallery. These images can be any dimension but can also be no larger than 1MB.

If your images need to be adjusted to fit these criteria, editing photos can be very simple.  If you do not have photo editing software on your computer, is a great website with a free service that walks you through the step-by-step process for cropping and decreasing the size of your photo.

For photos in your media gallery, consider inserting small text at the corner of your photo crediting the photographer. If this is not available, enter text such as "Not for Reproduction." Entering text on an image can also be done on

Feel free to contact us at if you need any assistance or have additional tips to add to this FAQ.

Profile managers can select the option ‘I am a NEFA Grant Recipient’ under ‘Awards and Accomplishments’ when creating or editing their profile. Once this designation has been approved by NEFA program staff, it appears on the profile. Anyone who has received a grant within the last five years is considered a NEFA Grant Recipient in CreativeGround and can have that status displayed on their profile. For a full historical list of NEFA grant recipients, please visit the grant recipient database on

The Creative Communities Exchange is a biennial NEFA creative economy event that gathers creative and cultural community leaders for networking and practical creative economy workshops prepared by their peers. The Exchange highlights a wide range of successful initiatives from around New England that focus on various elements of the creative economy (e.g. downtown revitalization, artist and small business professional development, impact data collection, planning, zoning, space development, and marketing). Workshop presenters are chosen through a competitive application process, and are eligible to be recognized with a NEFA creative economy award. For more information about the creative economy projects that were shared at the CCX by these presenters, see creative economy Community Initiatives on

The NEST (New England States Touring) program at NEFA funds presentations of New England-based performing artists by New England nonprofit presenters from a different New England state. CreativeGround houses the directory of all artists who may be chosen by these nonprofit presenters for funding. Therefore, all artists who wish to qualify for NEST funding must maintain an artist profile on CreativeGround. For more information about how to become NEST eligible, please click here. Artists can also watch this video tutorial for instructions on how to complete all required fields in their artist profile to request NEST eligibility.

Profiles with the Native American Artist designation are for artists whose credentials have been approved according to the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Arts & Crafts Act. The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the United States. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian Tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization, resident within the United States. For a first time violation of the Act, an individual can face civil or criminal penalties up to a $250,000 fine or a 5-year prison term, or both. If a business violates the Act, it can face civil penalties or can be prosecuted and fined up to $1,000,000.
Under the Act, an Indian is defined as a member of any federally or officially State recognized Indian Tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian Tribe. Tribal status in CreativeGround uses these same parameters: Federally or State Recognized means that they are an enrolled member of an officially recognized tribe; Non-enrolled means that while they might not have an official tribal identification number, they have been certified by an official Indian Tribe as an Indian artisan. For more information about certification as an Indian artisan, see Section 309.25 of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act Regulations.

Touring artists are professional artists that perform for live audiences in various communities and/or are hired for a live performance. Touring artists are typically artists that work in performance disciplines such as music, theater, dance, storytelling, puppetry, or multidisciplinary forms.

New England-based touring artists are able to participate in NEFA’s New England States Touring (NEST) grant program, which subsidizes up to 50% of artists’ touring fees. CreativeGround houses the directory of all artists who may be chosen by nonprofit presenters for NEST funding.

All artists who wish to qualify for NEST funding must maintain an artist profile on CreativeGround. For more information about how to become NEST eligible, please click here. Artists can also watch this video tutorial for instructions on how to complete all required fields in their artist profile to request NEST eligibility.

The Association of Teaching Artists has compiled a number of answers to this question. Their own definition: A Teaching Artist is a professional visual, performing, or literary artist who works in schools and in the community. The Teaching Artist may perform for the students and teachers, may work in long term or short-term residencies in classrooms or in a community setting, or may lead in program development through involvement in curricular planning and residencies with school partners. The Teaching Artist is an educator who integrates the creative process into the classroom and the community.
And another from field expert, Eric Booth: A teaching artist (artist educator) is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills and sensibilities of an educator, who engages people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.
The wonderful regional resource, the New England Consortium of Artist-Educator Professionals (NECAP) Skills Guide is also helpful to those aiming to be - or hire - a teaching artist (artist-educator).

CreativeGround is a directory of the enterprises and professional workers of the creative economy - the organizations and individuals who work within the creative sector. However, creative economy initiatives (sometimes called creative place-making), which are projects that leverage local creative assets and cross-sector partnerships for community revitalization and growth, are becoming more and more popular around the New England region. These initiatives are typically not housed within a single cultural organization due to their cross-sector nature, and are often led by local government, planning, or economic development offices. These creative economy projects should be added to Community Initiatives on, as a complement to CreativeGround, and we encourage you to do so through the easy form you will find there!

  • Climate Control: temperature and humidity are regulated by a heating and cooling system.
  • Dance Floor: an area of uncarpeted floor reserved for dancing.
  • Dressing Room(s): rooms containing clothes rails and mirrors (often surrounded with lights) in which actors change into their costumes and apply make-up.
  • Exhibition Walls: walls available for the display of works of art.
  • Fly Space: extension of the stage walls up to allow scenery to be flown up until it is out of sight of the audience.
  • Green Room: a room in which performers can relax when they are not performing.
  • Light System / Track Lighting: the apparatus for supplying artificial light effects, allowing variable positioning.
  • Loading Dock: allows access into the theater for scenery and other equipment through a loading dock on the same level as the stage.
  • Movie Screen/Projection Capabilities: may include screen and/or film/video projection equipment.
  • Orchestra Pit: a sunken area between the front of the stage and the audience, often housing the orchestra.
  • Piano: piano available for use.
  • Restaurant / Catering: food service available.
  • Security: private guard(s) available.
  • Sound System: the venue's sound system, suitable for playing back recorded music and/or people talking into microphones.
  • WiFi: a wireless local area network that allows devices to connect to the Internet.
  • Amphitheater / Concert Shell / Bandstand: an outdoor space with tiers of seats rising gradually outward from a central open space or stage.
  • Arena / Grandstand: a large, enclosed or open structure for viewing performances, sports or other entertainment.
  • Black Box: a flexible type of theatre space which can be altered or converted from one category to another.
  • Proscenium Theater: the traditional, picture-window stage separated from the auditorium by a proscenium arch, so that the audience views the action from a single "fourth wall" perspective.
  • Theater in the Round: the audience completely surrounds the stage.
  • Thrust Stage: all types of facilities wherein the stage juts into the audience and is thereby surrounded on three sides.

The CreativeGround team routinely searches for profiles that stand out in Search results and that represent the diversity of the directory. If you would like the profile you manage to be considered for a Featured Profile spot, be certain your profile has at the minimum:

1)  A profile image that represents who you are and what you do (if you're an artist, upload an example of your work. If you're an organization, upload an image of programs in action.)
2)  Contact information (first name, last name, job/title position, email, phone, fax (if applicable), website, internal contact information, complete mailing address, and complete physical address)
3)  About description
4)  Organization name and organization EIN (where applicable)
5)  If a cultural nonprofit or creative business, date founded
6)  At least one (1) Additional Discipline
7)  At least two (2) Activities and Services
8)  At least one (1) Population Served
9)  At least one (1) Geographic Reach
10)  At least three (3) pieces of media in the gallery
11)  Facebook and/or Twitter account (where applicable)
12)  At least three (3) I Have Worked With listings with relationship description
13)  If a cultural nonprofit or creative business, at least one (1) Accessibility of Services
14)  If a Touring Artist, complete information
15)  If a Native Artist, complete information
16)  If an organization with rentable venue, complete venue information (all required fields, at least (1) accessibility option and two (2) venue features)

Once you’ve updated your profile, contact us to learn more about being featured on our website! 

For additional suggestions on how to take advantage of the fields and sections on the profile you manage, visit the Dig In page

Search and Explore

In general, the Search feature starts with a blank slate and lets you go directly to a profile with a particular name or build your list of profiles according to specific search field criteria that you select. The Explore feature starts with the entire CreativeGround directory and allows you to browse by selecting fields with which to filter or group the profiles. In Explore you can see how many profiles are within a certain grouping, and you can click the filter on or off by refreshing the fields you have chosen.

The basic Search options consist of the following:

Profile Type: Search for profiles that have identified themselves as an artist, cultural nonprofit, or a creative business. For definitions of these profile types, read this FAQ.

State: All artists, cultural nonprofits, and creative businesses with profiles on CreativeGround are located within one of the six New England states. You can select multiple states to expand your search.

Postal Code: Find all profiles in which a particular postal code appears in the physical address. Use the enhanced search options to find profiles that are located within a specified distance of a particular zipcode.

Keyword Search: Keywords are words, phrases, and terms that you can enter to narrow the results to only profiles containing those words. There are different ways to search for profiles using specific keywords:

  • Use quotation marks around keywords to search for profiles in which an "exact phrase" can be found. For instance, entering the keywords “African Dance” will search for profiles that have that exact phrase in their profile.
  • Searching for phrases without quotation marks will find profiles in which each word from the phrase can be found. For instance, entering the keywords African Dance without quotation marks will search for profiles in which the words African AND Dance both appear.
  • Using the word OR in between keywords will search for profiles in which one or more of the words from the phrase can be found. For instance, entering the phrase African OR Dance will search for all of the profiles in which one or both of those words appear.

Basic keyword searches using one or multiple keywords without quotation marks will result in profiles sorted by relevance, prioritizing profiles with that keyword in the profile name, primary discipline, secondary discipline, and frequency of keyword.

Profile Name: Use this field to search specifically for profiles in which particular keywords appear only in their name.

Use the enhanced search options to use specific criteria to find profiles. Profiles can be searched for by over 25 fields, including Primary and Additional Disciplines, Activities and Services, Populations Served, and Accessibility of Services, to name a few.

  • You can select one option within a field, which will return all profiles that meet that one criterion. (ie. Select Art Centers within the Institution/Business Type field to pull up a list of all Art Centers listed in CreativeGround.)
  • Select multiple options within a field, which will get you a bigger list of profiles that meet ANY of your selected criteria (ie. Select Art Centers AND Galleries / Exhibition Space in the Institution/Business Type field to pull up a list of all Art Centers as well as all Galleries / Exhibition Spaces listed in CreativeGround.
  • Select options in a combination of fields, which will get you a smaller list of the profiles that meet ALL of your selected criteria. (ie. Select Art Centers within the Institution/Business Type field AND Artist Market from the Activities and Services fields to find all Art Centers that do Artist Markets.
When using enhanced search options, results will show in alphabetical order.

CreativeGround is a strictly regional database containing only New England states. A project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), CreativeGround is brought to you through ongoing partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts,  the Connecticut Office of the Arts, the Maine Arts Commission, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and the Vermont Arts Council. While CreativeGround is unique, there are many other efforts underway aimed at capturing the breadth and impact of the creative economy across the nation. To learn more about these efforts, we suggest contacting the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), your regional arts organization (RAO), state arts agency (SAA), or other jurisdictional/local arts agency, committee, commission, or body. In addition, there are numerous private, nonprofit, and commissioned projects and studies in the field.

The Presenting and Touring program area at NEFA provides communities with access to performing arts as part of a thriving arts ecosystem. The program area includes multiple grant opportunities and services that support nonprofit organizations that hire touring artists. One of the programs that facilitates the regional touring of New England artists is New England States Touring (NEST).

Artists and organizations who do public art can display ‘Public Art Projects’ as an activity on their CreativeGround profile by selecting it from the list of ‘Activities and Services.’ Likewise, CreativeGround users can search for artists and organizations that do public art by selecting ‘Public Art Projects’ from ‘Activities and Services’ in the Enhanced Options of Search.

Public art is as varied and diverse as the artists who create it and the communities that engage with it. It is often a site-specific experience that is accessible to the public and created by professional artist(s) in collaboration with a community. Public art can be permanent or temporary. It can be in a rural neighborhood or on an urban university campus. It can be a performance or installation. Public art can be a historic memorial or a contemporary mosaic. It can make music or a political statement. For more information on how NEFA supports public art projects, read about our Public Art programs and Fund for the Arts Grant.

Creative Activism: The making and dissemination of creative work that addresses, depicts, or reflects a particular social problem or issue.

Social Change: A qualitative shift in a society’s attitudes, policies, and laws with regard to particular values (equality, justice, diversity, tolerance) and issues (immigration, climate change, gun violence, racial or economic justice).

Artists and organizations that practice Creative Activism can select ‘Arts for Social Change/Creative Activism’ as an activity on their CreativeGround profile by selecting it from the list of ‘Activities and Services.’ Likewise, CreativeGround users can search for artists and organizations that practice ‘Creative Activism’ by selecting ‘Creative Activism’ from ‘Activities and Services’ in the Enhanced Options of Search.

Definitions from Making Waves: A Guide to Cultural Strategy by The Culture Group

This is because Native American Arts is a program area at NEFA. Fueled by a commitment to increase the visibility, self-determination, and sustainability of Native artists and art forms, NEFA supports Native artists and organizations through grants, technical assistance, and network development. CreativeGround is the new Native Arts directory, which in its previous form was used by various organizations throughout New England such as the Boston Children's Museum, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and Springstep to find Native American artists in order to feature their work in performances, workshops, and gallery showings.

User Accounts

Yes! If you had a user account in one of NEFA's prior online directories - or CultureCount, you already have a user account in CreativeGround. Your CreativeGround username is the email address you used in the prior sites - you just have to reset your password. Go to 'Log in'  and click on "Request new password" under the left I have an account side. If you're not sure if your email is already in use, try to create a new account with your email address and the system will tell you if it's already registered and prompt you to reset your password. If AOL is your email provider, please email before resetting your password for further instructions.

If you are an existing user and would like to update your email address, password, personal information, or CreativeGround communications preference, you can do so from your My Account page. Upon signing into CreativeGround or by clicking My Account in the orange header along the top of your screen, you will see two tabs – ‘View’ and ‘Edit.’ To edit your user account information, click the ‘Edit’ tab. Be sure to save your changes by clicking ‘Save’ at the bottom of the page. To return to your My Account page, click the ‘View’ tab.

Please note: This is the process to edit your user account information. To edit the public CreativeGround profile associated with your user account, go to the ‘View’ tab and click ‘EDIT PROFILE’ to the right of the name of the profile you would like to update.

When you enter an email address to request a new password through CreativeGround, you should receive an email with a link to reset your password. However, if you use AOL as your email provider (for instance, then you may not receive this email. If this is the case or if you are not receiving the email for any other reason, contact us for further instructions.