The Inside Scoop on the New England Foundation for the Arts's Regional Creative Directory

Being a member of New England's creative economy just got a lot easier. That's because the New England Foundation for the Arts just launched CreativeGround, a web-based directory that connects the region's best and brightest creative professionals across a wide array of disciplines, including libraries, theaters, recording studios, performing arts spaces, and much more.

New England based arts organizations are welcome to set up their own profiles at no cost and within seconds they can begin connecting with peers across the region's six states. For example, users can look up organizations by institution and business type (e.g. "Arts Camps"), Primary Disciplines (e.g. Dance - Jazz), State, Profile Type, Populations Served (e.g. "Immigrant Populations") — and the list goes on.

The practical value of accessing this "network of creative peers" is unmistakable. Let's say you're a nonprofit theater group in Connecticut. Using CreativeGround's search tool you identify a troupe in Maine with a similar budget that also serves children and young adults. Suddenly you're on the phone with their program director discussing programming ideas, operational challenges, fundraising techniques, audience engagement models, etc.

The platform can also serve as a powerful promotional tool for organizations looking to connect with the for-profit sector, opening the door for things like ongoing partnerships, collaborative events, and the exchanging of best practices. In fact, representatives from the NEFA note that some of their partners are already using CreativeGround as their "go-to" online artist directory.

CreativeGround is part of a broad portfolio of services the NEFA offers to cultivate and promote the arts in New England, supporting the foundation's work in dance, music, Native American arts, touring, public art, and theater. The site is a project partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and New England's six state arts agencies.

At the end of the day, CreativeGround's vision is compelling due to its inherent simplicity. By collecting the expertise of creative professionals from across the region in one place, CreativeGround is built on the premise that almost every problem has been solved — creative professionals simply need to look in the right place for the solution.

One last note. We weren't entirely surprised to learn that CreativeGround is the only regional directory of artists and creative enterprises in the region. That said, we were somewhat shocked to learn it is the only directory of its kind in the entire US. What's the rest of the country waiting for?