December 4, 2020

Get Inspired with These 18 Stories from Creative North Shore 2020

by joeyphoenix

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This holiday season, we’re highlighting local businesses as part of our #StayLocal2020 campaign. Scroll to the bottom for more information.

It’s been quite the year in storytelling: here are 18 stories that inspired us and made us feel hopeful this year, and we hope they can inspire you too.

Local Photographer’s Front Porch Project Leaves the Light on for Shelter Pets – April 6, 2020

“There’s a lot of need for humans right now, but I think in all of this it’s very easy to forget about the pets,” Lindsay Parker (she/her/hers) explained.

Two Salem Stores Turn Challenges into Opportunities – May 22, 2020

“It’s so unknown right now. And, but the reality is, over time, it’s going to be a new normal, and we’ll have to think of things differently,” Matt Smith (he/him/his) said. But people are still going to want to get out. they’re still going to want to come to Salem. And they’re still going to want some locally inspired things.”

EmVision Productions: Shifting the Narrative with #StayHopeful – June 8, 2020

“We were feeling kind of hopeless and news coverage tends to be very sensational, very negative,” said Dr. Tariana V. Little (she/her/hers) “So we decided that since we have the platform through our storytelling to be able to shift the narrative and just offer something different, that we should do something.”  

#ChalkArtSaturdays – Connecting Salem Communities through Chalk – July 3, 2020

“It was inspiring to see each individual artist really want to do something that connects to their community. We’re all wanting to be outside, and this allowed people to do that while still being safe” said Claudia Paraschiv (she/her/hers), owner of Studioful Design. 

Queer and Trans Cosplayers: “We’re Here, We Exist” – July 6, 2020

The Importance of Representation and Allyship in the Cosplay Community

The world of Cosplay is one that allows you to temporarily become someone else. Individuals can don costumes, put on fanciful makeup, and embody characters from all branches of culture, be it popular or not. But for Queer and Transgender Cosplayers, Cosplay can often become a way for people to feel fully themselves. 

Holding the Door Open for Those with Disabilities – September 11, 2020

Northeast Arc’s new Center for Linking Lives creates hub for inclusivity at Liberty Tree Mall

“A lot of the folks that we support don’t have a license and are dependent on public transportation, and many North Shore bus routes end up at the mall,” said Tim Brown, director of innovation and strategy for Northeast Arc. “So by relocating our services to the mall, we are better equipped to serve the families and individuals we support.” 

Now and There – Producing Public Art as a Catalyst for Change – June 10, 2020

“We have a great responsibility as producers and curators of public art to make sure that the work is embraced and reflects who we are,” Executive Director Kate Gilbert (she/her/hers) said. “Artistic risk tasking is going to be the core of what we continue to focus on, and we need to remember to continue listening to our communities and neighborhoods of Boston.” 

Truth Finds A Voice in Lynn’s Youth – September 12, 2020

Beyond Walls’ and Harbor Voices’ Truth Be Told tells area youth stories of COVID through public art.

“The youth [of Lynn] were among the first to be affected by COVID-19,” said Josie Santos (she/her), Director of Community Engagement for Beyond Walls. “They’re at home, not having support, and figuring out how to learn virtually hasn’t been easy for them.” 

Masacote Shows Lynn as “Out and Proud” with Queer Lynn Scene – June 25, 2020

“There is intersectionality with a lot of the movements that are happening now, between Black Lives Matter and the way the pandemic is affecting Black and Brown communities of color. Having some of these discussions about our experiences as LGBTQ+ individuals within the context of the world we live in is also just really important to highlight and reflect upon,” Ana Masacote (she/her/hers) said.

The Chaos Within Podcast – Create from Within with Anna Dugan – March 30, 2020

Anna Dugan of Annadidathing is a Filipina American mural artist, illustrator, and weirdo extraordinaire based in Salem, MA. She joins Joey on the podcast to talk about the Mariposa Project, why failure is important, and what it means to create from within. 

Sophy Tuttle: Artist, Environmentalist, Dreamer – September 29, 2020

“[Art] is the skill that I have that I can use to make a difference about things that I care about,” Sophy Tuttle (she/her) said, and that in light of the pandemic and how it’s been exacerbated by climate change, “it seems really obvious to me that [working to solve these issues] is just the next step. I see a connection within everything, a lot of people do.” 

When Mapping Meaning in Merrimack Valley, Everyone Has a Role to Play – October 14, 2020

Because founder Marquis Victor and his team at Elevated Thought have been addressing social issues through art and community activation and by providing a platform for at-risk youth in Merrimack Valley since 2010, the partnership with ECCF and MVPC for Cultural Asset Mapping was a natural fit. Their role in the project will help not only how communities determine meaning, but will have the added benefit of including younger voices in the conversation as well. 

Road Trip: Portland’s The Way We Move – Making Circus Arts Accessible for All – March 9, 2020

“When we talk about disabilities we tend to use a deficit-based model, we tend to talk about what the individual is struggling with or what they can’t do,” Brigid said. “As a disability advocate, but also as a performer, I prefer to focus on what they are really good at and working in that framework.” – Brigid Rankowski (she/her/hers)

The Chaos Within – Stop and Look with Espy

“We want to make sure that we’re still pushing, that we’re still trying to fight for that change, but you also have to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and you’re doing the best you can with what you know.” – Espy (she/her)

That Can Be Arranged! – September 14, 2020

North Shore Floral Artist Magnolia Blooms Creates Vibrant Pop Up Flower Experiences

“When my mother passed I asked myself ‘What am I doing with my life?’” Jeannine O’Neil (she/her/hers) recalled. “It was then I realized I wanted to make people happier, and what makes me happier is flowers. So I decided to start hosting flower arranging events because I suddenly had all this time in my life and space in my life to do it.” 

When the Sun Comes Up, Be Creative – April 28, 2020

Raw Art Works Creates Coloring Book, Art Prompts for Area Youth

“We wanted to do something to distract people,” Jason Cruz (he/him/his) said, “but also something where kids can sit calmly and make art while also being present with each other.”

Lowell Photographer’s FaceTime Photoshoots Bring New Meaning to Digital Art – April 30, 2020

“Portraiture is what I do. It necessitates people, and contact with people, and communication, and brushing hands and bumping into one another to set up shots,” said Kristen Higgins (she/her/hers). “All of those things seemed to return inward until these FaceTime photos.”

SHOP LOCAL! Support the small businesses that make up your community and are owned by your friends, neighbors, and fellow community members.

If you are a business and are interested in being part of this initiative please visit and sign up for our comprehensive business program!

staylocallynn • #staylocalsalem • #staylocalpeabody • #staylocalbeverly • #staylocalmarblehead

We wanted to shine a spotlight on many of the small businesses that make up the fabric of our communities and support them as much as we can throughout the Winter.

Stay tuned to this event for information on businesses throughout the North shore. We will be highlighting the humans behind the small businesses, showcasing specials and promotions, and also curating experiences that will make your local shopping even better!

A priority this year will be to educate consumers on the safety protocols that so many of our fantastic businesses have implemented in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.