Numerous partners – some state, some local - help make sure participation for the Commonwealth continues to be robust and representative. We’ll get you better acquainted with the activity of the Mass Cultural Council and ArtsHub Western Mass.
At over 11,000 profiles listed, Massachusetts based-profiles represent over one third of all profiles in CreativeGround. Over 4,000 of those listed in MA are Individual Artists and Performing Groups!
According to Dawn Heinen, Digital Communications Manager for Mass Cultural Council - a state agency working to promote a vibrant and diverse cultural sector - our platform broadens the reach of her organization from a communications standpoint. As she explained at our Public Kickoff event for the launch of CreativeGround 2.0,
“CreativeGround gives us access to more - and more kinds of - people and organizations fueling the creative economy. It’s really great to have this robust platform to draw upon and to share with others.”
As Mass Cultural Council advances the #PowerofCulture across Massachusetts, they view CreativeGround as both an ally and an important resource. When fielding a constant stream of constituent inquiries, like “I’m looking for a public artist to paint a mural,” or “I want to hire a teaching artist,” being able to refer them to our site and its Search functions has become a welcome and time-saving communication tool.
“You don’t know who you don’t know in your own town, or adjacent town,” Dawn astutely points out. We love to hear CreativeGround described as this kind of crossroads for discovery and effective meeting-place. After all, the more the data on the site is used and shared, the more valuable it becomes for New England’s Creative Economy Network! Learn more about using CreativeGround and activating your network.
“I need a space/venue” is another typical query that Mass Cultural Council staff members receive - the second most visited page on the Council's ArtSake blog is the Creative Space Classifieds.
When folks are searching for space, CreativeGround serves as a trusted place to send them, as well as a source of information to populate blogs like ArtSake. Through CreativeGround, the Mass Cultural Council has been able to find out about new venues and engaged businesses, such as LaunchSpace in Orange, MA, that rent space to the creative sector. Accessibility fields and fee ranges make the process of using our tool extra handy.
Finally, the state agency uses access as a data partner to run searches through the back end of our database. From there, they can let appropriate folks know about upcoming grant opportunities. Filters for various kinds of public activities, disciplines, and cultures represented are an aid to making sure these precious dollars don’t go unclaimed.
In her closing, Dawn provides an extra incentive. “Set up a profile,” she tells people. “You might get additional opportunities!”
Highlighting and connecting creatives, organizations, and events in Western Massachusetts, ArtsHub of Western Massachusetts uses the data from over 2100 profiles to stock their directories. They are CreativeGround’s first local Data Partner, using an Application Programming Interface or API to integrate existing local profiles from CreativeGround into their own website. This solved their local need for a cultural directory while building upon NEFA’s existing infrastructure and investment, thus significantly lowering costs and keeping things simpler for artists and other users to fill out one profile instead of several, which is much less burdensome and easier to keep accurately updated.
Lisa Davol of ArtsHub was enthusiastic about the partnership CreativeGround:
“It’s very expensive to create your own database and maintain your own database. We’ve been working on this for years, but it was really the sticking point of being able to move forward. CreativeGround was the missing link for this dream to be able to come true.”
What is an API? You can learn more about it here on our page for Data Partners. Lisa continued to explain how well it works. “It’s been tested and refined over many years, and it’s well-funded. We pull in just Western Mass profiles and in turn, our artists get seen around all of New England. This really helps everybody with their data and communication!”
Have people in your networks been discussing the importance of having a robust local cultural directory that can be easy to access, maintain, and keep updated? We’d love to have CreativeGround used as a holistic, creative economy directory by partners across New England. You can use the new CreativeGround Public API to integrate any front-facing directory data from CreativeGround into another website's styling and layout.
To learn more, please review the FAQs and then, if appropriate, submit this API Interest Form. Lisa Davol also welcomes inquiries from other New Englanders seeking organizational perspective on what it’s like to undertake this work. She can be reached at email@example.com or 413-773-5463.
Anyone can search CreativeGround to easily get connected to our region’s creative community. You can also be a Community Leader, helping to promote the artists and creatives that make all communities in the region thrive! NACHMO Boston, for example, requires that participants have a CreativeGround profile. Dig in to find resources to Activate Your Network, including our Promotional Toolkit.
This “Around the Ground” series of blogposts "travels" to different New England states to see how our partners are using CreativeGround. As you can read here, last time we were in Maine: Around the Ground: Maine. Join us for our next stop to New Hampshire. Meanwhile, see you “Around the Ground!”