Welcome to the ArtsHub!
by Hunter Styles
We find ourselves in a strange, promising moment in Western Mass. Winter 2022 marks the arrival of another season lived during COVID, which has affected one in three jobs in the Massachusetts cultural sector.1 Statewide, artists have lost $20 million in wages because of the pandemic.
In Western Mass, where the percentage of artists and creative businesses is higher than the state and national averages, one out of every six jobs is tied to the creative economy.2 And this economy needs support.
COVID has forced creatives at all levels to pivot into seeking resources online, and within our own communities. That’s why the ArtsHub is built for us: artists and creatives of all stripes, in homes both rural and urban, across the region. It is a marketplace for creative products and services, and it is a collaborative space for networking, access, and renewal. In this early phase, we are planting seeds and inviting each other in. As the site develops, and opportunities bloom, we will have each other to thank.
What is a hub?
It’s the center of a network.
The vision for ArtsHub is simple, and grows richer over time. We want to collaborate across diverse sectors of the creative communities in Western Mass, and help one another locate opportunities for funding, studio and rehearsal space, collaborations, commissions, training, careers, storytelling, promotion, and more.
A good hub makes space for all local creatives, from studio and performing artists to architects and space-makers, graphic and web designers, photographers and videographers, singers and musicians, arts managers and administrators, employers and funders, tourists and visitors, audiences and customers. Energy and ideas flow into the hub, but they’re only of use once they flow back out again—to you.
It’s the fixed point on a wheel, built for revolution.
By providing common ground, a hub helps to empower and enable change. Thanks to our region’s many cultural traditions and communities, local creatives are in a unique position to elevate diverse work for new audiences, focus our efforts into work created with and between BIPOC artists and organizations, and give group backing to everyone’s artistic expression.
This takes time, curiosity, and compassion. We believe this collaborative online space can help enable change and growth—if we all contribute to making it the tool we’ve always wanted.
It’s a changing space.
This ‘phase one’ of the ArtsHub is the perfect time to look through the site and spot what’s missing. Click here to create your artist profile and build visibility for yourself in our New England-wide artist directory (powered by CreativeGround and the New England Foundation for the Arts). Add your own listings, ask questions and state your needs by clicking here, and invite your friends and colleagues to take a look at www.ArtsHubWMA.org. Come back to read the latest features on artists and creatives, or get some news of what is going on around the four counties of Western Mass.
It’s all yours.
This portal into Western Mass creative culture is built by us, for us. We want the ArtsHub to be easy to use, but also to draw you back again and again—to find what you need, to make the best art you can make, and to reach the audiences you’re looking for. You are invited to grow with the site, serve on a committee to help shape it, and see a promising new era ahead. Bookmark it, and let’s get started.
Let’s build the ArtsHub you want.
Whether you have an hour to dive in, or just a minute for a quick search or fast read, this space is now open for artists and creatives and audiences to explore and contribute.
To get an impression of what’s new, head to the homepage and scroll down to browse different entry points into the site, and see the latest activity across all categories of announcements, features, updates, and posts.
Or, move along the top navigation menu to choose from the following:
It can be difficult to find square footage for making, sharing, and enjoying art in Western Mass. Use this area of the ArtsHub website to help shed light on what is needed for art creation, artist collaboration, rehearsal, and exhibition, sorted into ‘Space Available’ or ‘Space Needed.’ Have an opportunity to share? Submit your space idea using the submission form.
Calls for Art
Are you looking for an opportunity to apply your skills for a public art project or perform at a festival? Are you looking for an artist to fulfill a commission, enhance a space, or a performer to add something special to an event? Post your request, and let the network help you search for the perfect collaborator.
Jobs in the arts are special, and help the creative economy stay vibrant and grow, and even professional creatives can benefit from a workshop or training. Use this area of the ArtsHub website to post and browse staff positions, workshops, intensives, trainings, and other opportunities for the creatively-minded in our area to grow their skills and advance their careers.
Both the bustling cities and quiet towns of Western Mass host a wealth of arts venues, big and small, that develop and present great art, festivals, theater and more. Plan your next creative outing or day trip to a Western Mass arts venue, and connect with the communities that find home in these local organizations and companies.
Our regional arts world is the sum of infinite parts. See the musicians, craftspeople, actors, artists, graphic and web designers, and organizations who are doing great things in the creative economy. Search the landscape for specific people, places, and skills, and home in on your next new connection.
Western Mass creatives find each other using all manner of resources in town and online—and that’s great! This area of the ArtsHub website is a developing guide to those resources. Look through forums, groups, listservs for artists, craftspeople, musicians, dancers and more, and see which spaces and conversations make a good match for your needs and dreams.
ArtsHub is excited to present an ongoing series of news stories, cultural features, and artist/creative profiles that illustrate the richness the Western Mass arts scene has to offer. Make a bit of time to get to know a range of artists and creatives across a wide variety of disciplines and media, and learn how they manage the art of work, life, and living locally.
Thank you for exploring the ArtsHub, designed to help you make new connections, find home in new spaces, and empower you to do your best creative work. Please enjoy browsing the ArtsHub during this exciting moment of launch, and submit your feedback here. Like all good art, this work needs a participatory audience and collaborators.
Phase One of this project is funded by the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and support from New England Foundation for the Arts, and the time and dedication of members of the Creative Economy Network.