November 18, 2020

Making Space for Artists with North Shore CDC’s Schools Project

by joeyphoenix

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by Joey Phoenix

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

North Shore Community Development Coalition (North Shore CDC), the organization behind Salem’s Punto Urban Art Museum, Espacio – Community Space, and YouthBuild North Shore, is at it again with the Schools Project. The project will be a repurposing of Immaculate Conception at 17 Hawthorne Blvd and St. James Parish on Federal St. into a creative workforce hub and mixed income housing with an expected completion date of 2025. 

“[Artists] are such an integral part of our communities and cities and towns,” said Natalia Chavez (she/her), the Project Management Consultant for North Shore CDC. “It just makes places more vibrant, it gives color to our worlds. 

North Shore CDC owns and operates 351 affordable apartments in Salem and Beverly and are in the process of developing 257 additional apartments in Salem, Gloucester, and the Merrimack Valley. 

“Our bread and butter is creating affordable housing, but this new project is going to be a new thing for the Northshore CDC in terms of focusing on the creative community,” Chavez said. 

For the School’s Project, they are building 29 units designed to be for those in the Creative Workforce, with 21 of those units being at 30% or 60% of the area’s median income. Additionally, they are looking to transform the former school auditorium into ~7,000 square feet of community amenities for creatives. 

North Shore CDC is currently speaking with designated focus groups to help determine the shape and scope of that 7,000 square foot space in an effort to design something the community will find useful. One of the prevalent hopes is that by bringing so many artists into this space, it will foster collaboration within the community of creatives. 

Punto Urban Art Museum
Image Courtesy of North Shore CDC

“We’ve been asking the questions:  ‘What if you bring writers together with graphic designers, and fine artists and see what happens, what kind of inspiration can be sparked. How will they influence one another? How can we kind of foster that community and make it easier to collaborate?,” Chavez explained. 

There are so many possibilities for what this space can become, and North Shore CDC is taking their time to listen to the community, in the hopes that they will build something that will be an asset to the people, the artists, the creative community of Salem and Essex County. 

To learn more about the project, go to or follow them on Instagram @creative.hawthorne

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.