|Downtown Beverly is attracting more artists, and business.|
Gordon College News Service
April 5, 2012
(This story appeared April 9, 2012, in the Boston Globe, Beverly, Salem, Peabody and Danvers, sites, and April, 16, 2012, in the print and online editions of The Salem News.)
After moving from Seattle to take a position at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Lucas Spivey soon discovered something was missing for local artists: working exhibition space. So he created 17 COX.
“There is no shortage of artists or audience in Beverly,” said Spivey. “I saw a need for a private gallery space and there was a market for it. In a sense I found a niche within the community.”
Spivey is not the only one who has noticed the North Shore’s creative culture and opportunities. Despite the national economic downturn, the region’s creativity is on the rise, helping the local economy and enriching the quality of life. According to a recent study from the Enterprise Center at Salem State University, there are over 2,200 creative economy businesses on the North Shore bringing in over $3 billion dollars in revenue.
Spivey, 27, of Beverly, founded 17 COX in October 2010 with the intention of highlighting the experimental or underrepresented ideas of the struggling or established artist. Based in the warehouse of a former taxi dispatch on 17 Cox Court in Beverly, the gallery got its start with the help of numerous local volunteers, including Spivey’s landlord who provided rental credit for renovation supplies.
“It’s not a traditional gallery,” said Spivey. “I don’t even want to call it a gallery; it’s more a laboratory workshop, a mixing pot for local, regional, and national artists.”
But the creative economy is not constrained to the arts. It also includes any business using creativity to produce wealth and generate revenue for the community, according to Christine Sullivan of Salem, CEO of the Enterprise Center at Salem State University.