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Get the dirt on CreativeGround: Creative New England, Online.

CreativeGround is a project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA.) It is the dynamic regional directory that celebrates and reflects the vital work of New England's artists, creatives, culture bearers, creative organizations and businesses. It is the place for all to gain insight into the vibrant regional creative ecosystem.

  • A connection platform; it can be used by creative professionals AND the public to connect with the creatives in their community and region. (Anyone worldwide can search CreativeGround, but only arts and culture assets in New England can have profiles, as the site is a regional resource.)
  • A community-generated and managed online space for creative people and places to describe their work, create a gallery of their creations, and spotlight their collaborators.
  • The only creative economy research database/asset map in the U.S. that is exposed through a searchable directory and updated directly by creatives “on the ground.”
  • The official state cultural directories and artist roster directories for Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
  • A complementary resource to NEFA's portfolio of New England grantmaking in dance, music, presenting and touring, public art, and theater.
  • An online representation of NEFA’s work to support the New England creative economy, including a research definition of the creative sector, commissioned reports, and region-wide meetings and events

Sharing the stories, relationships, and data of the creative community empowers its people with more knowledge, connection, and resources. When creative communities are supported, all communities thrive.

Whether you’re part of the creative community or are invested in its health, CreativeGround invites you to explore and connect!

What is the "Creative Economy"?

(noun) the sector of the economy that is creative (i.e. who is on CreativeGround); People and places that produce or distribute cultural goods and services. These include cultural nonprofits, creative businesses, and creative professionals.

Who is Found on CreativeGround?

overlapping circles in CreativeGround's signature colors: teal, orange, and yellow. representing three stakeholder audiences of the platform: Artists/Creatives, Creative Businesses/Organizations, and Community Leaders/Data Partners

CreativeGround is for individuals and collectives. CreativeGround is for organizations and businesses. If they are a New England artist/creative professional, work at a creative organization/business - or partner with creative people and places in this region – they can be found on CreativeGround.

CreativeGrounders, also known as the “New England Creative Economy Network,” are people who catalyze the New England creative community - from creative core entities that exist to produce, distribute, support, or train in creative work (like art studios, radio stations, and libraries); as well as creative-related entities that are not creative in business mission but also distribute or otherwise support creative work (like Senior Centers, School Committees, and Foundations.)

CreativeGround supports the creative core – and anyone invested in its health – to connect with each other, share expertise, collaborate on a project, exchange resources, or even map their local cultural assets and discover new neighbors. The common responsibility and focus on the New England creative economy allows everyone to build upon the resources already within the community.

Creative Core

Artists/Creatives, Creative Organizations and Businesses gain visibility and access to learning, skill sharing, and capacity building with:

  • Free online profiles that are visually appealing, accessible, and user generated
  • A network of peers, supporters, and collaborators
  • Technical and professional assistance with talking about their work
  • Identification for grants or other professional opportunities

Community Leaders

Community leaders gain connection to infrastructure, tools, and community building with:

  • A map that makes the members of their creative community visible to those who would hire, support, and collaborate with them
  • An organized list of arts and culture assets for identifying artists and resources for grants and other opportunities
  • An existing infrastructure to offer their constituents and partners
  • A network of peers, supporters, and collaborators
  • Technical and professional assistance with quantifying and tracking the creative economy

Data Partners

Local, community, and national partner organizations help connect their region’s artists/creatives to a wider network and help maintain the accuracy of data on CreativeGround. They are empowered through access to real-time, centralized data about creative communities to strengthen the sector with resources and support.

Everyone, Anywhere

Anyone worldwide gains access to the region’s creative community – to find places to visit, people to hire, and creative products to buy.

About the Data

The CreativeGround team and NEFA’s partners are passionate about data, because we're passionate about our region's arts and culture. And we hope CreativeGround makes our excitement contagious. NEFA’s vision for our region is a sustainable, inclusive, and connected New England creative economy that is valued by all New England communities. This means that creative people and places are recognized, supported, well-informed, and connected to each other and the broader ecosystem.

In pursuit of that vision, we work to strengthen the creative community by supporting its visibility, networking, and knowledge building - both internally among creatives as well as externally with the broader community.

CreativeGround is NEFA's primary tool for doing this. A unique combination of database and directory, the user-generated and maintained profiles on CreativeGround provide a real-time picture of the broad spectrum of creative people and places at work in the six New England states and the important connections between them.

The platform allows the people of the creative community to share who they are, what they do, and what they contribute, advocating with their own voices for engagement, support, and investment. These dynamic data (i.e. the CreativeGround directory) spark conversations within and about the sector; highlight the vital relationships that fuel the creative sector; and provide opportunities for connection with(in) the New England creative community.

NEFA learns from the data that users add to profiles in the directory; coding and improving the back-end database that is analyzed when NEFA or our partners commission studies that quantify the impact of the regional creative economy, informing state and regional decisions about how to support and strengthen those doing creative work. It works in the other direction as well - information about nonprofits was originally added to the database from public IRS records, but are exposed through the directory so they can be updated directly by users. Feedback from users who search the site and get listed also gets integrated back into the search categories and the profile form. NEFA maintains the infrastructure so that creatives and community leaders are free to create, post, learn, connect, and build their own capacity to strengthen the region’s creative community.

How Can We Get The Word Out?

NEFA and partners regularly promote CreativeGround at conferences, information sessions, and through print and digital mailings, and use the site in grantmaking - to learn more about applicants and assess their eligibility for grants; help applicants find required collaborators, and provide them visibility and connection to the regional network, regardless of grantee status.

The more the site is used and promoted, the better the data reflect the creative ecosystem, making CreativeGround a powerful tool for understanding and strengthening this ever-evolving creative sector. Dig In and you too can help the community flourish.