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Essex Art Center Inc

 56 Island Street
 Lawrence, MA 01840
[P] (978) 6852343
[F] (978) 6880276
John Budzyna
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3238501

LAST UPDATED: 01/10/2019
Organization DBA EAC
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Students from EAC's Animation Tool Box Class 

Mission StatementMORE »

Essex Art Center's mission is to inspire/nurture diverse artistic potential of the Greater Lawrence community through class exploration and gallery exhibition and to make creative enjoyment accessible to all. 

Mission Statement

Essex Art Center's mission is to inspire/nurture diverse artistic potential of the Greater Lawrence community through class exploration and gallery exhibition and to make creative enjoyment accessible to all. 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2015 to Sept 30, 2016
Projected Income $560,000.00
Projected Expense $560,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • After School Art Classes

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Essex Art Center's mission is to inspire/nurture diverse artistic potential of the Greater Lawrence community through class exploration and gallery exhibition and to make creative enjoyment accessible to all. 

Background Statement

In November 1993 three women (Leslie Costello, Helen Tory and Linda Maddox) opened a gallery and small classroom on Essex Street in downtown Lawrence and were determined to show fine art and teach art classes to any citizen of Lawrence and the Merrimack Valley who were interested. The Essex Art Center was an instant success.  Eighteen months later we moved from our small storefront to a large mill building on Island Street. The mill building was perfect for our purposes; with plenty of windows, light, and cement floors for easy care. With the help of our landlord, Chet Sidell, we made 56 Island Street our home and now occupy 10,000 square feet for our gallery and classroom areas. Thanks to all our well-wishers, volunteers, donors, artists, class participants and friends, EAC has grown to be a diverse and thriving art community with patrons’ at all different stages of art exploration and appreciation.  Next year, EAC will turn 22!

The Art Center includes the Chester F. Sidell Gallery and the Elizabeth A. Beland Gallery where local artists are featured. (The Merrimack Valley Magazine awarded EAC with the “Best Gallery in the Merrimack Valley Award” in July 2012 and 2013.) There is a Media Lab with 7 computers, a ceramic studio with two kilns and 10 electric wheels, a drawing and painting studio, a stained and fused glass studio, and two multi purpose classrooms. In January 2011 we completed a $200,000.00 renovation to the building which has changed our look in addition to making the space more suited to our purposes. The office is prominently positioned at the attractive new entrance. We gained a classroom and improved the lighting throughout the building. The changes have given our patrons a more inviting and functional space in which to create and appreciate art.

EAC’s key achievements include the ongoing afterschool arts programs. Si Se Puede is entering its eleventh year of participating in the after school program. We provide transportation to and from for 14 students who are integrated into our regular program. Community Day Charter school has been coming for 9 years and Tarbox School in its third year bringing 14 students to EAC one afternoon per week (transportation provided by EAC) and are integrated into our regular after school program. 

Impact Statement

2014- 2015 accomplishments:
- Successfully transitioned new Executive Director from retiring founders Leslie Costello and Helen Tory
- Implemented first ever online registration system
- Completed 3rd year of successful summer mural program 
- Expanded collaborations with Lawrence Public Schools 
- Recipient of inaugural Non-Profit Excellence Award from Essex County Community Foundation
Goals for 2015 - 2016
Increase enrollment in education and field trip programs
Develop short and long term development strategy
Plan for next Facility Improvement and Capital Campaign
Expand community collaborations 

Needs Statement

Capital Project to create an internal staircase to connect our creative spaces (Estimated $50,000)
Creating a part time position for Development to identify and nurture donors $35,000
Funding to adopt a local School for one year of afterschool art classes $10,000
Creating a satellite classroom in the community of Lawrence $30,000

CEO Statement

As I complete my first year as the new Executive Director, I am humbled by the thousands of lives EAC touches every year. It has been incredible to witness and get to know some of the people being transformed by EAC. People like Shane who came to EAC in 2008 as a retiree looking to explore art. Not only did she find an encouraging community of teaching artists and lifelong friends, but she discovered how to express herself creatively - which was shared in her own exhibit in our Beland Gallery last fall.

Kafira, a teen student from the Community Day Charter School recently shared that EAC helps her learn to express her feelings through art, and that art teachers her - about herself. Kafira is part of a free afterschool arts program that provides art classes to children who would otherwise have no art experience.

Patrick grew up at Essex Art Center, starting his creative journey at the age of 8. Fast forward to today: he is a “20 something” artist who shared his art in our Beland Gallery, featuring his talent and passion for interactive multi-media art with another local artist.

Whether it’s a child in our afterschool arts program or a retiree looking to start a new chapter in their creative life,  EAC is the catalyst for their creative journey.  I hope you will consider being a part of our creative  community as we continue to transform lives through the arts!

Board Chair Statement

Over the last five years the Board of Directors has been transformed to an engaged and committed group with 100% giving both their time and treasure.  During this time the Board rose to the challenge of a capital campaign to raise $100,000 to meet the matching grant of the Mass Cultural Council.  With these funds a major renovation was completed that has received plaudits from many of our constituencies.
The Board of the EAC will be challenged over the next two years to identify passionate successors to our founders.  They have announced their desire to turn the leadership over to individuals who will bring fresh ideas for the future of EAC.
Often I am asked why I am so deeply involved in what takes place at the EAC.  It is primarily because the research has convinced me that children, (and adults) who experience making works of art, grow in their intellectual, personal and social development.  Additionally, experiences in the arts are particularly beneficial for students from economically disadvantaged circumstances. 

Geographic Area Served


Most of our audience comes from Lawrence 01840, Andover 01810, North Andover 01845, Haverhill 01830, and Methuen 01844.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Arts Education
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



After School Art Classes

One program, of which we do four in a year, offers a choice of on the average 40 art classes, is 10 – 12 weeks long, depending upon the calendar and how the weeks and holidays fall. Classes include clay, photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, video creation, and stained glass. Each class meets once a week from 3:45 to 5:30. Parents/ Guardians are responsible for drop off and pick up of their student. The classes are divided by age and the projects and tempo of the classes is geared for that age group – 6 –9, 8+, 10+. (Younger children’s classes take place earlier in the day.) Classes are taught by local college educated artists who are responsible for the design and curriculum of the classes. Each class has limited enrollment usually 8 maximum so to insure
personal instruction from the teachers. The class cost is calculated according
to a formula using the actual cost of teacher’s wage ($22.50/hr the first raise
in 18 years) plus material costs divided by the number of children needed to
run the class. For the children, this works out at about $5 per hour.
Budget  $10,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Visual Arts Instruction
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) Hispanic, Latino Heritage Adults
Program Short-Term Success 
Working in the Arts increases one's ability to "see" using decision making, critical thinking, and creativity to complete a project. 
Program Long-Term Success 
Making Art a Life time interest.
Program Success Monitored By 
At the end of each program we pass out evaluation forms for the students to tell us about the teacher and the classes. We share the information with the teachers and offer suggestions to make the class better. As an organization we have a yearly evaluation of our practices and policies. We are always open for suggestions and change when deemed appropriate.
Examples of Program Success 
Essex Art Center has students who have returned after completing college to teach in our program. This is success. We have gathered testimony from past students and current students that EAC is the best. The classes have stimulated their curiosity and led them to new and other areas. The creative mind is a good thing.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Our challenge continues to make people aware of what Essex Art Center is and how we can help people improve their lives through art. This past year, we have reached out and been involved with more community events to build relationships and awareness.  We also use social media to raise awareness and increase the locations where we distribute our quarterly catalogs.  More recently we became part of a new local artist collaboration: Arts Lawrence.  We are currently hosting the new website ( and continue to work as an advocate for the importance of art and arts education.  


CEO/Executive Director Mr John Budzyna
CEO Term Start July 2014
CEO Email
CEO Experience John remains excited to be the new Executive Director taking over from founder Leslie Costello who has earned a much deserved retirement for her 20 years of service to EAC and the greater Lawrence community.  John comes to EAC from the Arlington Center for the Arts where he was Executive Director for 8 years.  Prior to Arlington he was the Executive Director of the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport.  John received his undergraduate degree from Albany State University in Theatre and Business and his Masters in Management from Lesley University.   John is looking forward to working with such a diverse and creative community!
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ms. Helen Tory Apr 1993 May
Ms. Leslie Costello Jan 1993 June

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms Cathy McLaurin Special Events --
Ms Maria Sanchez Kouassi Program Director --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Inaugural Nonprofit Excellence Award Essex County Community Foundation 2014
Best Galleries in Merrimack Valley Merrimack Valley Magazine 2012
Tribute to Women YWCA 2012
Eartha Dengler Award Lawrence History Center 2009


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts Non-Profit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


 EAC collaborates with several community organizations and schools.  For updated information please see:

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 3
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 180
Number of Contract Staff 50
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 5
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 2
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration No

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Semi-Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Ms. Denise Burke Arai
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Board Chair Term Oct 2015 - Sept 2016
Board Co-Chair Michael Lenihan
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Board Co-Chair Term Oct 2015 - Sept 2016

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms Jane Anderson community volunteer Voting
Ms. Denise Burke Arai Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Diane Collier Kigali Design Voting
Mr. William DeRosa Retired Voting
Ms. Marion Donahue Pentucket Bank Voting
Ms. Mory Espaillat volunteer Voting
Ms. Judy Farzen Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Mona Goldthwaite Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Jennelle Graziano Coco & Early Associates Voting
Mr. Ron Hilbink Retired Voting
Mr. Michael Lenihan Retired Voting
Ms. Filomena Scibelli Barrett & Scibelli PC Voting
Ms. Susan Smith Retired Voting
Mr. Mike Smolak Smolak Farms Voting
Ms. Marie Sorensen Sorensen Partners Voting
Mr. David Tory retired Voting
Ms. Karen Van Welden Herman community volunteer Voting
Ms Pamela Yameen Butcher Boy Market Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 16
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 13
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 95%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 80%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Building
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

We recently transitioned a new Executive Director from the retiring founders of EAC.  We will soon see a number of experienced board members retire from the board in the fall of 2016.  The Governance Committee has established a board succession plan to help EAC manage this transition.  One strong first step is the current  makeup of our current board of 18 members strong.  We are optimistic this plan will help us continue to find diverse and talented board members to support EAC's mission going forward.

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Fiscal Year Oct 01, 2015 to Sept 30, 2016
Projected Income $560,000.00
Projected Expense $560,000.00
Form 990s

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2009 Form 990

Audit Documents

2014 Audited Financials

2013 Audited Financials

2012 Audited Financials

2011 Audited Financials

2010 Audited Financials

2009 Audited Financials

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Revenue $561,891 $507,124 $562,097
Total Expenses $589,042 $542,282 $540,100

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- $170,750 $197,800
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $267,584 $125,709 $147,337
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $138,365 $142,787 $158,454
Investment Income, Net of Losses $2,025 $1,974 $2,352
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $93,824 $65,595 $55,867
Revenue In-Kind $60,093 -- --
Other -- $309 $287

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Program Expense $388,275 $404,852 $411,053
Administration Expense $115,036 $85,194 $74,858
Fundraising Expense $85,731 $52,236 $54,189
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.95 0.94 1.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses 66% 75% 76%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 24% 14% 14%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Total Assets $421,965 $450,705 $487,568
Current Assets $246,874 $253,041 $259,842
Long-Term Liabilities -- $0 $0
Current Liabilities $6,026 $7,615 $9,320
Total Net Assets $415,939 $443,090 $478,248

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 3.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose We are currently planning a campaign to support building an internal staircase that would join our current space with newly acquired space below.
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 40.97 33.23 27.88

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2014 2013 2012
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Build up the reserve fund
Create an endowment
Raise funds for increase in staff - Development Director

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's audited financials.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


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