NORTHAMPTON – State officials have awarded more than $ 1 million to collaborative workplaces and other Commonwealth organizations, including the Northampton Community Arts Trust, in a program designed to strengthen community innovation and entrepreneurship.
In addition, the Springfield Museums received a grant of $ 1.2 million for closed site operators, administered by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of federal aid to theaters, concert halls and others. arts organizations that suffered economic losses during the pandemic.
Funding for places, including the Community Arts Trust building in Northampton, known by its short name 33 Hawley, comes from MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency.
In a statement, Governor Charlie Baker said the funding was important to support Commonwealth efforts to convert old buildings to new uses and develop different ways to revitalize communities.
“Massachusetts remains a leader in innovation, with collaborative workspaces providing professionals in all types of industries with a place to test new ideas, explore talent and engage with their peers,” said Baker.
Northampton Community Arts Trust received a matching grant of $ 42,000 to install a resilient “spring floor” in the largest performance hall at 33 Hawley, known as the Workroom Theater; the floor will allow dancing and other performances and will better protect the dancers from injury.
A dance and art festival in the Labor Room last weekend raised an additional $ 3,000 for the floor, and APE @ Hawley, who oversees the space, is seeking additional grants and donations for the project.
Kathy Couch, president of the Arts Trust, said in a statement that state funding would help provide “a space where artists can work with more freedom from risking their bodies as they pursue these new visions. to offer to each other and to the community at large. . “
The Ethnic Study CoWork Café & Bookstore in Springfield, a combined work and education center, also received support from MassDevelopment. It aims, in particular, to “elevate leadership skills, business opportunities and the voices of Blacks, Indigenous Peoples and People of Color (BIPOC) in the 413 area,” according to its website. The organization received $ 100,000.
Due to COVID-19, Springfield Museums was forced to close for four months last year – the first time this had happened in its 164-year history. In light of this, said President Kay Simpson, she and her staff are “deeply grateful” for the $ 1.2 million grant to closed site operators.
US Representative Richard Neal, D-Springfield, added that the installation “is a staple of the downtown Springfield cultural scene.”
As part of the US bailout, the Closed Sites Program provided more than $ 16 billion in grants to sites nationwide, all administered by the SBA’s Disaster Assistance Office.
Steve Pfarrer can be reached at [email protected]