Some people think of a ‘main streets’ organization as a bunch of mom and pop business owners who hold sidewalk sales. In reality, Main Streets is a national economic development model launched over 35 years ago, with a proven track record in over 2,000 communities nationwide, of creating new jobs and businesses while also rehabilitating countless historic buildings and revitalizing thousands of main streets and disinvested commercial corridors. Main Streets was developed with the understanding that small steps, small businesses, small deals and small developments can add up to big impact. Building small is sometimes harder, more time consuming and less flashy than building the one big thing, but it is also more realistic, more cost effective and more durable than putting all your eggs into one big project. A city’s image is formed almost entirely by the perception of the vibrancy of their downtown so by working toward creating a ’destination’, Peabody has the ability to attract and retain residents as well as talent, not just downtown, but city wide. The Main Streets program provides a framework to focus on Economic Vitality (working with existing property owners and attracting new investment), Design (creating a look & feel to the district), and Promotions (marketing the destination and hosting events to bring people downtown), allowing multiple priorities to be worked on simultaneously.
To date, $4.2 million has been invested in infrastructure upgrades and improvements; 40 new housing units have been added, 11 projects currently in development and the Lease it Local program provided $27,000 to help launch 3 new businesses including Create & Escape DIY Workshop, Granite Coast Brewing and Jovi Boutique. Through a façade improvement program 16 buildings have been updated and 50 signs upgraded or replaced. There have been 28 public art projects, 54 trees planted or replaced and 6 river clean up projects. Downtown is being marketed as a destination through a partnership with the North of Boston Visitors and Conventions Bureau, livepeabody.com website, social media channels as well as marketing campaigns. Annual events such as the Pop Up Pubs, Pop Up Markets, Nightmare on Main Street and Holiday Stroll attract hundreds of individuals and families who are then exposed to our restaurants, performance venues, retail stores and service providers.
Although Peabody Main Streets works closely with the City of Peabody, it is an all-volunteer driven organization, formed in 2016 as a non-profit entity working to create a desirable place to live, an enjoyable place to visit and a supportive place to build a business. Funding for projects comes mainly from grants and revenue generated by events.
The City of Peabody along with MassDevelopment and critical support from Northeast Arc have designed a project to help encourage shopping local at the holiday times, while simultaneously providing a brick & mortar location for general merchandise/gift shop type vendors to grow their business in downtown Peabody.
The "Exchange" will kick off November 24th, 2018 during the Peabody Main Streets Holiday
Market at the Knights of Columbus and then transition to the ArcWorks Community Art Center and run until December 21st.
Vendors types include, but not limited to:
- Vintage goods
- Soap makers
- Woven crafts
- Wood crafts
- Original knitted items
- Original sewn items
- Designers or Graphic artists, specifically Northshore/Peabody themed items
- Other items that market administrators feel are relevant to our visitors.
Obtain an application, click here
CuriousCity is a temporary pop-up children’s museum in downtown Peabody that inspires curiosity, a love of learning and the healthy development of children ages 2-10 years old. CuriousCity will feature hands-on, play-based exhibits designed and created by local artists/ designers. The pop-up will run for three months in the spring of 2019. At the conclusion of the pop-up, exhibits will find permanent homes in organizations (including, but not limited to, libraries, schools, businesses) in Essex County to continue to provide play based learning to families and children.
Local Artist/ designers interested in getting involved are asked to submit a proposal to design and construct play-based exhibits in one of several categories. Submissions due October 24th, 5pm.
Download an information packet and application, click here.
A "black box" theater is just that - a venue that has no formal structure and can be adapted to many uses.
Northeast Arc recently redeveloped the former warehouse space at the Arcworks Community Art Center, 22 Foster Street in Peabody, to create a theater that will be an anchor in the city's downtown cultural district. The venue provides employment opportunities for local actors, musicians, set builders, ticket sellers and concessions workers. Additionally, the space will provide educational and recreational opportunities for as many as 7,800 youth annually.
Open for less than a year, the space is being utilized by many different groups from live concerts and comedy shows to cocktail parties & birthday celebrations.
On October 20th, Accidentally on Purpose will return with a Live Improv and Comedy show, which will be their 4th appearance in the Black Box! Improv allows for audience participation in terms of ideas and themes that the actors will incorporate into their performance - so no two shows are ever alike! The last 2 shows have sold out. Doors open at 6p, performance at 7pm. This is a 21+ event. Cash bar. $20 General Admission. $18 Senior/Students. Purchase tickets here.
For information on renting the theater for your performing group, holiday party or celebration, please contact Lisa Geczi at 978-548-5854.
CuriousCity Announces Location
In July of 2018, the Peabody Cultural Collaborative (PCC) received a $28,000 grant from the Essex County Community Foundation to curate a temporary or “pop up” children’s museum called CuriousCity. The purpose is to provide an interactive museum of art and industry for families and children in Peabody that will boost local economic development and activate support for a permanent museum.
The PCC is pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement with the City of Peabody and the temporary exhibit will be housed within the George Peabody House and Leather Workers Museum located at 205 Washington Street. The George Peabody House Museum houses many original artifacts including portraits of George Peabody and his acquaintances, handwritten business letters to his associates, newspaper articles about George Peabody and Queen Victoria as well as glassware dedicated to various Peabody institutes. The adjacent Leather Workers Museum includes paper materials, leather tools, machinery and textiles produced by the Peabody leather factories. Both are owned by the City of Peabody. Current exhibits will be temporarily moved off site to create an opportunity for hands on, interactive children’s exhibits.
“There has been much excitement about bringing a children’s museum to Peabody and we are excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Peabody Historical Commission” commented Melissa Robinson, Director of the Peabody Institute Library. “The space can be adapted to other uses, is easily accessible and has parking available. We hope through this collaboration we can help generate interest in the George Peabody Museum and provide them with a permanent exhibit.”
Peabody has experienced success using the temporary, “pop up” approach to test out ideas for potential businesses. Often referred to as tactical urbanism, a temporary installation allows the city to try out an idea without a huge investment. It provides an opportunity to engage the general public, track results and capture data without a large capital investment by the City.
“A museum provides the perfect addition to downtown”, remarked Deanne Healey, president of Peabody Main Streets. “It is the type of destination business that has the ability to provide education and entertainment to residents and visitors, while generating business for existing restaurants and other complimentary businesses. While there are other children’s museums in Massachusetts, it would be a unique addition to the Northshore.”
It is anticipated that CuriousCity will be operate between March through May 2019 and offer several exhibits to engage, delight and entertain children between the ages of 2-12 years. Currently, the PCC is identifying exhibit themes and will be releasing a Request for Proposal from local artists, businesses and organizations who might be interested in creating or sponsoring an exhibit.
“The Peabody Cultural Collaborative is pleased to be taking the lead on this project. Our mission is to unite arts, business and cultural organizations in Peabody to better promote the creative economy and to enrich the cultural life of the region” commented Camille Bartlett, current president of the PCC. “A children’s museum has the ability to bring all of these things together and the response we have received from the community has been very positive.”
It was through this collaborative spirit that Peabody was successful in receiving a grant from the Essex County Community Foundation, in partnership with the Barr Foundation, to elevate the region’s arts and culture sector and support creative expression and our local creative economy. What makes the economic impact of arts and cultural organizations unique is that, unlike most other industries, they induce event-related spending by their audiences. A typical arts attendee spends an additional $28 per person, per event, over the price of admission on items such as meals, parking, shopping, etc. - valuable revenue for local businesses and the community. These expenditures have a positive and measurable impact on the economy in addition to providing an entertainment factor.
Follow our journey from idea to installation on Facebook (CuriousCity) or Instagram (@CuriousCityPeabody).
Established in 2010, the Peabody Cultural Collaborative aims to unite arts and cultural organizations in greater Peabody as well as promote and celebrate the region’s myriad cultural offerings. It is made possible through the support of the City of Peabody, Peabody TV, Peabody Institute Library, Peabody Art Association, Eastern Bank, Salem Five Bank, Peabody Main Streets, Rousselot, Peabody Historical Society & Museum, Peabody Main Streets, Northeast Arc, Holden Oil, Network Coverage and Kick It Up Consulting
For More information contact:
Camille Bartlett, Peabody TV (978) 977-0570
Melissa Robinson, Peabody Institute Library (978) 531-0100
Deanne Healey, Peabody Main Streets (781) 718-2778