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ECCF Kicks off Asset Mapping in the Merrimack Valley

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Photo courtesy of Eagle Tribune. Marquis Victor, our executive director, discusses youth-led and created murals in Lawrence to kickoff event for countywide art and culture mapping project.

Elevated Thought is grateful and excited to be collaborating with the ECCF's County Community Foundation’s Creative County Initiative Merrimack Valley to build the Asset Mapping Project. The project aims to not only physically identify the arts and cultural assets in the 15 Merrimack Valley communities located in Essex County, but also to forge connections between them and the people they serve.


A River Runs Through It

By Michelle Xiarhos Curran

“Our goal here is to build capacity for collaboration within and between these communities, which includes building relationships and connections among arts, culture and community groups, as well as with municipal governments and agencies,” said Karen Ristuben, program director for ECCF’s Creative County Initiative. “The process of collecting your stories and your values is as important if not more so than the list that lives on a website.”

The project is a collaboration between ECCF, the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (MVPC) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Led by Victor, the project’s partner artist, and community building expert Tom Borrup of Creative Community Builders – a Minneapolis-based consulting team focused on leveraging cultural assets to revitalize communities – the project also engages area artists, arts and cultural nonprofits, planners and municipal, business and community leaders in the process.


Highlighting the region's art, cultural assets officials meet to connect organizations in 15 Essex County communities By Mike LaBella

Arts and culture groups throughout the region that typically operate independently of each other came together on Wednesday to discuss ways of promoting their efforts to the public and finding ways of supporting each other.

During a kickoff event at the UMass Lowell iHub, officials from several community planning organizations outlined a plan to identify, connect and map the people, places, organizations and events that reflect the history, values and culture of the 15 Essex County communities.

Those communities include Newburyport, Newbury, West Newbury, Groveland, Georgetown, Rowley, Salisbury, Amesbury, Merrimac, Lawrence, Andover, North Andover, Methuen, Boxford and Haverhill.

Called "asset mapping," this year-long effort is being led by the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The two organizations were awarded a grant from the Essex County Community Foundation to undertake this mapping project.

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