June 29, 2021

Salem State Center for Creative and Performing Arts Recognizes 10 Student Artists and ECCF’s Creative County Initiative at Annual Creativity Awards

by Felicia Cheney

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SALEM, MA – Salem State’s Center for Creative and Performing Arts (CCPA) honored 10 students in the arts and the Essex County Community Foundation’s (ECCF) Creative County Initiative as part of its 2021 Creativity Awards.

The annual event, held virtually, recognizes 10 students across the disciplines of art + design, creative writing, dance, music, and theatre. These students, chosen by the faculty in their respective departments, have demonstrated outstanding commitment to their craft as well as artistic achievement. The 2021 student honorees are Clifmon Leroy and Michael Simpson (art+ design), Dylan Deforge and Kayma Snook (creative writing), Abbie White and Molly Quinn (dance), Annabelle Dionne and J Lyons (music), Christopher Vega and Parker Goodreau (theatre).

Also recognized was the Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) for its support of artists during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well its Creative County Initiative (CCI). In spring 2019, ECCF established the Essex County Artist Fund, in collaboration with administrative partner Rocky Neck Art Colony, Inc. in response to the immediate and everyday needs of artists across the county and across sectors.

ECCF embarked on the Creative County Initiative (CCI), in partnership with the Barr Foundation and many other arts funders across Essex County in 2017. This effort, over a five-year period, will invest more than $2 million in the arts, culture and creative sector in Essex County.

Salem State Center for Creative and Performing Arts Director Karen Gahagan said, “Typically we honor an individual artist with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this event. Given the substantial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the creative ecosystem at every level, the importance of the work of the Creative County Initiative cannot be overstated. There is also an elegant juxtaposition in this year’s recognitions. In honoring the achievements of our students, we are celebrating the next generation of artists. In recognizing the work of the Creative County Initiative and by implication all of its local, regional and state-wide partners, we are affirming the value of the arts and creativity in all facets of our lives.”

A recording of Salem State’s 2021 Creativity Awards is available to view on the CCPA’s Vimeo channel, www.vimeo.com/salemstatearts. The Center for the Arts will recognize ECCF’s Creative County Initiative team in person at Salem State’s 2022 Creativity Awards.


About the Center for Creative and Performing Arts

Salem State’s Center for Creative and Performing Arts (CCPA) provides the arts explorer a singular destination to experience world-class guest artists and award-winning student and faculty performances in dance, music and theatre as well as art exhibitions and spoken word events. The CCPA is committed to providing diverse, inclusive and affordable arts experiences to the communities on Boston’s north shore.

About Salem State University

Salem State University, established in 1854, is a comprehensive, public institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. One of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth, Salem State enrolls about 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 32 undergraduate programs and graduate programs that offer degrees in 24 fields. The university also has a continuing education division that offers both credit and non-credit programs. Known for the academic strength of its faculty, Salem State was named a Top Producer of U.S. Fulbright Scholars in 2011 and for the 2016-2017 academic year. The university is designated a Top College and University by Military Advanced Education and a Best for Vets College by Military Times. Salem State proudly participates in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement and has shown a student voting rate well above the national average, earning the university a gold seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.

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