For Immediate Release - December 12, 2012

Creative Industries Grow Stronger with Networking, Access to Capital and Marketing

Report to Legislature details needs, future of flourishing creative industries in Massachusetts after statewide CreativeNEXT Listening tour

BOSTON – December 11, 2012 – The Massachusetts creative industries will strengthen and advance with greater networking, business development, access to capital and marketing resources according to a report to the Legislature prepared by the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The creative industries are an important part of the Massachusetts economy, with a $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 Massachusetts workers.

The creative industries include the many companies pushing the limits of creativity in the marketplace, including innovative video game companies, cultural non-profits, design, marketing and architecture firms, and also the people who are write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music.

The report, “Supporting the Creative Industries of Massachusetts,” follows the Massachusetts Creative Economy Council’s CreativeNEXT listening tour, a series of 21 meetings and seminars with creative industry stakeholders in Massachusetts that included nearly 600 businesses, organizations and individuals throughout the summer. The report details next steps for continuing to advance the sector based on feedback from creative industry leaders.

“A survey of this size and scope has never been done for the creative industries of Massachusetts,” said Helena Fruscio, Massachusetts Creative Economy Industry Director. “There is a tremendous amount of knowledge to be gained and untapped opportunities to explore for the creative industries and this tour and report are only the beginning.”

The report evaluates the needs and opportunities that exist within the creative industries and provide insights to guide the development of an agenda to support the growth of the creative industries, and identifies come common priorities despite the diverse group of businesses that make up the creative industries. Those priorities include regional technical assistance programs that would include access to business development services, capital and marketing resources; networking and business development events to improve regional connections; and creating a visibility working group to bring awareness and attention to the creative industries.

“We have already seen progress in our city since the launching of the statewide CreativeNEXT listening tour event in Holyoke this summer. We have expanded our focus on the creative economy, creating a new position in the city and hiring Jeff Bianchine as Holyoke's first Creative Economy Industry Coordinator," said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. We now have monthly 'Plugging into the Creative Valley' events, bringing together hundreds of creative economy businesses and supporters from across the region to Holyoke each month. This is just a small slice of the many exciting developments and events happening in Holyoke around its burgeoning creative economy today.”

“We were pleased to participate and host two CreativeNEXT events in visual art and fashion. MassArt has been the foundational source of many of these industries and the educational font of the next generation of talent in design and art,” says Dawn Barrett, President of Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a Creative Economy Council Member. “This tour helped guide the Council’s priorities, but more importantly it brought together the professional members of the creative industries, grounding the work of the Council in a better understanding of the businesses, organizations, institutions, and individuals who comprise the actual life and work of the creative economy.”

"I attended the CreativeNEXT event in MetroWest. As a founder of a startup business, it was great to connect with others working in the creative economy. More importantly it was a great way to get connected to resources to support my business,” said Cliff Lee, CEO of SidewalkAd, a smartphone marketing company located in Southborough.

The Massachusetts Creative Economy Council is an advisory Council to the Legislature and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and is designed to develop a statewide strategy for the enhancement, encouragement, and growth of the creative economy in Massachusetts. Working with Fruscio, the CreativeNEXT listening tour will help to guide the priorities of the Council.

“Montserrat College of Art has been a longtime supporter and participant in the success to further the creative economy on the North Shore and has invested again by taking responsibility for the lead partner role for the Creative Economy Association of the North Shore (CEANS)," said Steve Immerman, President of Montserrat College. “The CreativeNEXT Tour provided us and CEANS the opportunity to reconnect with industry leaders to discuss the present conditions of business. We recognize the increasing potential for growth in this industry and are already moving on recommendations developed during the CreativeNEXT event.”

In addition to guiding the Council’s approach, this report is also being used to guide communities around the Commonwealth as they begin to grow and develop their creative industries. Communities across the state are already developing initiatives based off the listening tour. This grassroots support system will also be enhanced by the development of the Creative Economy Network, created in the Economic Development bill signed by Governor Deval Patrick in August, to designate entities to support and grow the creative industries statewide.