In 2003, The Salem Partnership and The Enterprise Center at Salem State College convened a 38-person task force to explore what they perceived to be a significant yet unrecognized sector of the local economy. Over the course of the next five years, the task force commissioned research, conducted workshops, and brought in renowned creative economy expert Charles Landry, author of The Creative City to help develop and implement an action plan.

2003 Task Force Established
The Enterprise Center at Salem State College and the Salem Partnership put together a 38-member task force to explore our local creative economy.

February 2004:  “The Creative Economy North of Boston” Report Published
This was the initial economic impact study conducted by the Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company that got the ball rolling. The study identified nearly 1,000 businesses that generated $1.258 billion and employed 6000 people on the North Shore—proof that further exploration and promotion of the creative economy was indeed warranted.

April 2004:  Charles Landry Visit and Action Plan
Charles Landry, author of The Creative City: A Toolkit for Urban Innovation spent four days touring the region, meeting with cultural, business and government leaders, and conducting an all-day workshop for task force members.  On April 7, 2004, he presented an action plan to 150 of the regions leading CEO's at the 17th Annual Dinner of the Salem Partnership.  Click here to see the complete action plan.

June 2005:  Creative Economy Focus Groups and the founding of CEANS
One of the recommendations of the Landry action plan was to "deepen the research,” which led to seven focus group dinners with 72 people representing 60 companies in the fall of 2004. The input from these participants led directly to the founding of the Creative Economy Association of the North Shore (CEANS).

May 2006: “The Innovation Agenda: Growing the Creative Economy in Massachusetts”
The first statewide conference on the creative economy was held at the Hawthorne Hotel and the Peabody Essex Museum on May 3, 2006.  More than 200 thought leaders from across the state participated.  From all reports, the conference was a huge success. To quote one participant:  "This is the first time that the right speakers were in the right room with the right participants."

April 2007: The Massachusetts Creative Economy Council is Announced
At a legislative breakfast in Boston, plans for creating Creative Economy Council were announced by Representative Daniel Bosley, House Chair of the Economic Development and Emerging Technology Committee. 

April 2007: Charles Landry Returns
On a return visit to Salem, Landry advocated for a state-wide initiative, gave a presentation on "The Creative Economy Initiative World-Wide" and signed copies of his latest book, The Art of City Making at a reception at the Peabody Essex Museum. He also conducted a “Can Creativity Be Learned?” workshop, sponsored by Salem State College, for more than 70 educators.

April 2008:  North Shore Creative Market Analysis and Action Plan
The final report of an extensive study by ConsultEcon, Inc. and Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services is released, substantiating the size and impact of the local creative economy and providing clear guidelines for future action.  Click to see the synopsis of this study or the full report.

August 2008:  Bosley legislation creates state wide creative economy council.

By 2009, when President Steve Immerman assumed the presidency of Montserrat College of art, Christine Sullivan of the Enterprise Center and Patricia Zaido of the Salem Partnership, key drivers of the work of CEANS  request Montserrat College of Art assume the lead partner work of the CEANS organization.

In June 2012, Montserrat College of Art assumed the lead partnership of the CEANS, offering to staff the organization part-time to re-establish the momentum from when the Enterprise Center and Salem Partnership were holding regular events around the region.

2013, Since that time the college lends its support by public events which are aimed at educating and supporting those in the creative sector. Montserrat President Steve Immerman has been a vocal proponent of the importance of educating a creative workforce and of the arts as a component of a well-rounded liberal arts education, and in his public appearances,  speeches and articles he authors, refers to the importance of this sector of the Commonwealth and to the importance of creative education to the growth of the sector.



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Want to learn more?

The Lawrence Eagle Tribune provided us with extensive demographic information about the size and shape of the creative economy locally

They found, for instance, that in 2003, $1.258 billion comes from nearly 1000 creative economy businesses with approximately 6000 employees.

Half of whom are clustered in a three-mile radius around Salem.

To see the entire study, click here.

They concluded that a possible next step to support the growth of creative economy businesses on the north shore would be to establish networking amongst us to further financial, marketing and business consulting services.

The launch of the Creative Economy Association of the North Shore is the first step to to helping creative economy businesses grow and thrive.

Resources and background material for:
A Toast to the Creative Economy by Maggi Dalton

May 22, 2005: Interview.  Richard Florida discusses his book, "Flight of the Creative Class," Weekend Edition, Sunday (NPR)  Database: Newspaper Source/Ebsco Host Research Databases.

May-July 2004: Creative Economy Council/New EnglandFoundation for the Arts. "New England's Creative Economy: Employment Update."

October 1, 2004:  Zolli, Andrew and Richard Florida.  "The Visionary & The Futurist."  American Demographics.

2003. Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company. "The Creative Economy North of Boston: Challenge, Connection, Opportunity." 

June 2001: The New England Council. "The Creative Economy Initiative: A Blueprint for Investment in New England's Creative Economy." Report available from The New England Council, Boston, MA

Websites and Organizations

  • American Demographics/
  • American LIVES Market Research and Innovation
  • Catalytix: A Richard Florida Creativity Group
  • Creative Clusters: Creative Industries and Conference
  • Creative Economy Council
  • Cultural Creatives
  • Cultural Creatives Network
  • Massachusetts Cultural Council/Issues/Creative Economy Initiative   

Some Important Books

Florida, Richard. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life. NY: Basic Books, 2002. The paperback edition was published in 2004, with a new preface. One of the germinal books in the field, and a central resource.

Florida, Richard.  The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent. First ed. NY: HarperBusiness/HarperCollins, 2005.  A clarion call to action.

** Ray, Paul H., and Sherry Ruth Anderson. Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World. First ed. New York: Harmony Books, 2000.   An "in-depth look" at who "Cultural Creatives" are and the significance of this emerging class. Ray was one of the earliest voices to describe this "third stream" of society. Often-cited analysis of the "Three Americas" present in our society.

Information from the August 18, 2005 Breakfast Meeting

compiled by David Galiel, member of CEANS Program Committee

The 6 Myths of Creativity, by Bill  Breen Debember 2004, Fast Company

Discusses Prof. Teresa Amabile's decade-long study about creativity in corporations, in her own words. This is the article that sparked all the controversy.

Time Pressure and Creativity: Why Time Is Not On Your Side

Interview with Prof. Teresa Amabile, by Sean Silverthorne

Managing for Creativity, by Richard Florida and Jim Goodnight

Discusses how the work of Prof. Amabile and others is implemented in a corporate case-study of SAS Institute. This .pdf article is no longer available for free on the Harvard Business Review site. It is an in-depth look (PDF)