Holyoke Awarded $75,000 to Develop Creative Economy Text Size

The City of Holyoke will soon have a “Main ARTery” thanks in large part to a recent award by the Massachusetts Cultural Council through an Adams Art Grant. The “ARTery” will feature new programs designed to develop people’s skills in the arts, media, design, crafts and other areas with potential for entrepreneurship or employment in creative industries.

ARTery is a partnership between the City of Holyoke, the Holyoke Creative Arts Center (HCAC), the Chamber of Commerce, and Holyoke Community College (HCC) in collaboration with local artists and studios. The funding will be used to provide business seminars, production facilities, craft courses at varying locations, and linking up business student interns to help artists better manage business. Plans also call for both online and brick & mortar storefronts where HCAC members will be able to sell their work for a low consignment rate.

ARTery will combine the partners’ abilities to provide space, tools and instruction as well as the business know-how and access to the professional resources necessary to successfully produce work, navigate self-employment, manage growth, create jobs and drive the local economy. “We came together and designed this program to empower the community to be innovative, productive and profitable with their artistic talents” said Jeffrey C. Bianchine, the City’s Creative Economy Coordinator.

In addition to introducing the entrepreneurial coursework, funding will help increase staff hours and update the HCAC’s marketing and technology to increase its financial sustainability through new funding streams, particularly earned income. “The Center has been working to better position itself in this changing economic climate – we want to assure it remains an invaluable community resource for another 100 years – this grant is an affirmation of our efforts,” said HCAC Director Evelyn Slater.

“As someone who’s started a creative business, I know it’s important to make it increasingly possible for producers of cultural product and services to make a living with their craft. Part of that is structuring ways for creative entrepreneurs to effectively manage their business and create jobs for talented individuals. I’m very excited these state resources will be at the service of business development in Holyoke” added State Representative and City Council Redevelopment committee Chair Aaron Vega.

The Adams Arts Program supports projects that revitalize communities, create jobs, grow creative industries, and increase engagement in cultural activities by Massachusetts residents and visitors. ARTery will receive $37,500 for Fiscal Year 2014, $37,500 in Fiscal Year 2015, which is the largest funding level awarded to any organization this cycle by the Adams Arts Program.

“I don’t know one business owner that doesn’t rely on the skills and talents of others to be successful. Why should we think artists can do it all by themselves?” said Kathy Anderson, President of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce. “This is a great program that will dispel the notion that art must be kept separate from business.”

In addition to the Adams Grant, other Holyoke organizations received $47,360 from the Commonwealth this fiscal year – funding for Art and Cultural programs has been awarded to the Local Cultural Council, the Massachusetts International Festival for the Arts (MIFA), Enchanted Circle Theatre and the Care Center. The Berkshire Film and Media Commission (BFMC) has also received the highest awarded amount for an Adams Art Grant – $37,500 – to improve the infrastructure and viability of the film, television and new media industry in Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden, and Franklin Counties to encourage productions to use regional locations and crew; to provide training for local residents; and to market the region to filmmakers, advertising companies, and other media producers with the economic ambition of increasing film-related tourism and boosting the revenues of local businesses. The City of Holyoke has been working with BFMC to attract film production to the City and was a strong supporter of their application, as the City has already seen two short film productions this year: Seed and Body of Crime.

“These are the types of programs we as a City are able to build because we have a Creative Economy Coordinator. Holyoke has a leg up in these competitions because we have someone full-time thinking strategically about pursuing funds for the right opportunities in our community” said Mayor Alex Morse.

Jeffrey Bianchine,, phone (413) 322-5575; Fax (413) 322-5576

Posted on September 4, 2013 by